Thursday, 12 July 2012

07/07/2012: The Amazing Spiderman [2012]

I had just finished rushing out of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer and into The Amazing Spiderman as the opening titles began to roll. Throwing on my 3D glasses I picked a spot on the side, about half way up. One friend followed me, while the other two sat low and in the middle. So, what is more important to you, height or angle? As for The Amazing Spiderman, well it kind of self titled itself.

 Now, the biggest buzz around The Amazing Spiderman has of course been because it is a series reboot. While we listened to the announcement of the director and actors and whatnot there was really only one thought in our heads. How will this compare to the last trilogy which is not even a decade old? Isn’t this a little early to jump ship, one minor stumble and it’s all over? Well let’s put it this way, Twilight has yet to finish and there is already talk of rebooting it. Will this plague of sparkly vampires ever end? As for Spiderman, I would be rather content to see Toby McGuire and Sam Raimi give it another attempt. History shows us that it takes more than one stumbling sequel to end a series. There was work done on Spiderman 4, but apparently the choice was made to do a full reboot now, and cash in on the continuing superhero comic book craze.

When I look at the past decade in cinema, superheroes are really the standout theme there. Yes we had a lot of other great movies and styles emerge, and yes we’ve had comicbook movies forever but really, when you look at it, the year 2000 or so marked a reboot for all and not just some of the superhero movies. Not one franchise remains that has not been rebooted, except perhaps Superman, but I’m sure his time is soon. While anyone looking at comic book movies is going to see two standout series, The Dark Knight and The Avengers, I think Spiderman, having been released in 2002, was one of the earliest reboots, and a damn good one at that. I think the second one might have been even more popular while unfortunately, the third brought us little more memorable than an emo Peter Parker. So, let’s hit the reboot button shall we?

Don't worry, hanging upside down won't mess up his hair.
I think that considering how sudden the reboot was they did a very good job with The Amazing Spiderman. It was the first trailer that really reassured me. First of all, we saw Spidey using his webshooters as well as his girlfriend Gwen Stacey, both of which were refreshingly indicative of an adaptation truer to the comic books. Then there was the villain, that is where it showed me they were using their heads.  Introducing another new villain from the comic books instead of reusing the same ones was the best movie they could have made in my opinion. But then again it speaks to my knowledge of Spiderman cannon that I spent over half the movie thinking he was Killer Croc. I couldn’t figure out where he would get the name Killer Croc, considering he had spliced lizard DNA, and Spidey was simply calling him The Lizard. Then I clued in, it had been an animated batman cartoon I was thinking of, and not Spiderman. Definitely just shamefully mixed up the Marvel and DC universe there.

This brings me to two interesting questions. One, with Spiderman’s movie rights sold away from Marvel, will he ever get to join The Avengers on screen? I just realized the second wasn’t a question. Oh well. Anyway, I was going to say that I was told The Amazing Spiderman kept much truer to comic book cannon than Raimi’s trilogy. This is good for comic book fans, but for those of us less knowledgeable about Spiderman, we may only know what came from the earlier movies. Eitherway, I’m sure that as a popcorn blockbuster Spiderman flick, The Amazing Spiderman is sure to please. I’ve heard it describe as a more adult movie, à la The Dark Knight which gave us a more mature and dark Batman. I wouldn’t tend to agree with this however, as The Amazing Spiderman still felt  like an entertaining superhero action movie than anything like Christopher Nolan has done with Batman. I think it is because of the younger high school Peter Parker.

Speaking of young high school Peter Parker, this was one of the most confusing parts for me. Alexander Garfield is a mainly unknown actor who most didn’t recognize. I however pegged him from quite a few of his movies, and had most recently seen the British actor in the Red Riding Trilogy. There he played a much more mature and darker journalist, and I had some trouble transferring him to high school. Of course, by the end I had adapted and for those of him who didn’t know how great he was before, you better know it now. Then of course is the face everyone knows, Emma Stone playing Parker's first love, Gwen Stacey. Everyone knows by now that Emma Stone can act, and look good with just about any shade of hair colour, so she really doesn’t deliver us any surprises there. The rest of the cast does well, but no names or faces really stood out, nor did the directors. 
It's no upside down kiss in the rain, but it will have to do.
There was one moment during the movie, that I really wished that it was Toby McGuire swinging from that web. That was in the climax, where (small spoiler) the cities construction crews turn out their cranes to give Parker a path across town. It was amazing to see the citizens help him as they could, but I couldn’t help but think, that for three movies, Spiderman had tried to win the hearts of the city, but it seems that whenever he was in real trouble, no one was there to help him. Maybe I just don’t remember it, but I don’t think our earlier Spiderman ever got kind of moment. I was also a little saddened to have to relive the death of Uncle Ben, but they didn’t dwell to heavily on it. Although, did we really need to work in the boxing ring again? Really?
As for the action sequences and the visuals, The Amazing Spiderman does very well. From what I read, a significant amount of stunts were performed physically, meaning that Spiderman is not just a mess of CGI as many movies these days are becoming. I mean, we’ve already seen all that Spidey can do, so none of that was really impressive, but everything was very well done regardless. It is everything you would suspect from a summer superhero blockbuster. All that is left is for the audience to decide. Box office results are record breaking, but from all the friends I’ve been talking to, everyone is all over the board. Those who have recently seen the earlier ones, find it extremely repetitive and unoriginal, regardless of the earlier changes I mentioned. Other fans enjoy its following of Spiderman cannon more closely, and then there are those like me, who just think it is another good spiderman movie, if a few things might have been repeated. Personally, I’d sooner go rewatch the original trilogy before going to see this in theaters again however. Also is there a pre-Sam Raimi live action Spiderman movie?

However The Amazing Spiderman’s popularity goes, we know that it has already raked in enough cash to merit a sequel. It might be two or three years, but it will undoubtedly arise. The movie left enough hints towards it, but does seem to be heading the more obvious Harry Osbourne, Green Goblin route. Or was it the Hobgoblin first? Whichever, the signs are there. The biggest question of course is what will happen with Parker’s love Gwen Stacey, who does die in Spiderman cannon. (It happened in 1973, I wouldn’t call it a spoiler.) Now, I’ve just read that Andrew Garfield has been signed for not just one but two sequels. So there is no doubt we will see more, the only question is, will it continue to cover the same material. I mean, this one claimed to be “The Untold Story” but I’d say I knew most of it.

Overall, I can’t say that I have been able to decide which was better. I think that I am partially confused by my loyalty to Sam Raimi’s imagining of Spiderman as well as the fact I really don’t remember much of it. I’d like to see this director go all three films without stumbling a little. Anyway, The Amazing Spiderman is clearly going strong and the controversy over whether it was an early reboot I’m sure has only  boosted sales. I would recommend that you check it out is theaters if you are looking for your summer blockbuster, but I don’t think you’ll enjoy it as much if you cram in a marathon of the earlier trilogy just before you go. So, what do you guys think. Superior, or was this a waste of a reboot or just to early?



  1. This is a very entertaining film but the whole time I was watching it, I couldn’t stop thinking of the original series that was still bright and fresh in my mind. Then again, how couldn’t you think of Tobey, Kirsten, James, and Willem when you have a story that seems like it was written for the screen, just for them? Either way, good movie. Good review Mr. Darko.

    1. Yah, the less you remember about the last trilogy, the more you will enjoy this one. It's a good movie just to early or maybe to late.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Welcome to the Lamb. I agree with pretty much everything you've said here. The one thing that the "Amazing" version has going is Emma Stone. Kirsten Dunst was fine, but Emma Stone is finnneee. Ya know?

    1. I can't picture reply to this like I want to, but I know.

  3. The Amazing Spiderman was such a mixed bag for me. Loved the lead actors. Loved that they were back in high school. Didn't like the plot. The Lizard's plot keeps changing and doesnt make sense. The weapon used at the end is Pretty clunkily introduced. Raimi's trilogy did have New Yorkers helping Spiderman (eg., when Spidey stops the train from crashing in the second one).

    Oh and ditto on Dusty's welcome to the Lamb message. Hope to see you on the boards over there.

    1. I think it is possible that they wrote the entire script as an origin story, and then thought, oh, we should squish in a villain. The weapon is literally a 10 second, what is that, oh just the thing he will use to end the world later, just keep it in mind.

      Thanks for the welcome.