Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Sometimes, a series needs rebooting. Perhaps on account of having an entry that was so hated, it nearly destroyed the great name of the series forever- or perhaps there was so much clutter in the timeline of said series that keeping things straight became impossible. Whatever the case, it happens- as it so happens, the Spider-Man live-action film franchise has been freshly rebooted, and has just kicked off with The Amazing Spider-Man this year. So was it a reboot worth watching? I’d definitely say so.
First off, while I don’t like to nitpick, I didn’t think the film had very good pacing early on. I think it could’ve stood to be a bit more… Subtle. I’m not spoiling anything for you by saying that the protagonist’s parents had something to do with all sorts of mad science and such that forced them to- well, I suppose it would be a bit of a spoiler, so I’ll stop talking, but the beginning of the movie felt very clichéd and predictable, which was something of a disappointment. It also felt a bit rushed- as if something important needed to happen that just didn’t.
On a positive note, however, the movie becomes much more enjoyable after the first few minutes. The teenage Peter Parker is pretty awkward, clumsy, and tends to get himself into trouble. He’s a nice guy with issues. As you may have surmised, one day he’s bitten by a mutant spider, gains superpowers, and becomes this beautiful social butterfly. Wait, I lied about the last bit- he’s still kind of awkward. Nonetheless, he’s still a pretty likeable protagonist, though he did seem a bit rougher around the edges than the friendly-neighborhood-Spider-Man I know and love. While Spidey ought naturally a dose of sarcasm, it seemed to be a bit too much at times. Biting remarks aside (please forgive that joke…), I really liked Garfield’s portrayal of Parker- I think he was spot-on.
Rhys Ifans played as Dr. Curt Connors, a one-armed scientist who would like to give unto humanity perfection, that none may live as outcasts. His lack of an arm is his motivation throughout the film, and I think the matter was handled pretty well. While I won’t say what happens lest I spoiler your feelings, there’s a scene that dug down deep and actually managed to make me feel for him.
The movie’s story was really very engaging. A little clichéd in some bits? Definitely. The Lizard felt slightly goofy in some bits, like he was the villain from an old movie, and to be honest, he never instilled any deep-seated dread deep within me. I couldn’t feel pity for him, I couldn’t feel hatred towards him, I was just kind of apathetic towards the villain. The movie’s plot was driven along more by themes of responsibility, hard, fast rules as opposed to vigilantism (Captain Stacy, as portrayed by Denis Leary, primarily drives this bit of the movie along), and the idea of toying with one’s genes for the sake of medicine- and beyond. I thought the movie, both through dialogue and visuals (the special effects were excellent) did an especially good job in sharing these ideas for the sake of consideration.
The special affects, as I mentioned, were pretty cool- though I do wish that there was a bit more of the awesome first-person web-slinging-death-defying goodness that was shown off in the trailer. According to an article over at Vulture, (warning- spoilers! Read at your own risk!) there was going to be more, but it was cut from the film. Perhaps it was nausea inducing? Perhaps. Nonetheless, an excellent job was done at making this movie look and sound amazing, and the music (by James Horner) is absolutely glorious.
Overall, it was a fun, well-cast movie with top-notch music, an interesting (occasionally predictable) story, and it’s absolutely worth watching.
It’s worth keeping in mind that this movie is based off of a somewhat different storyline than the previous three films- there’s no Mary Jane (quite yet), and Parker’s not working for the Daily Bugle. For the most part, though, this is still the Spidey you know and love, and you’re definitely going to want to check out this latest entry into the series. I’m looking forward to the film’s sequel, which is rumored to be released sometime next year.