An Overly Long, Exhaustive Review of “The Amazing Spider-man”

“Spider-man 3” was a terrible movie.  There were too many villains and too much stuff going on.  And, I’ll be honest, even though I loved “Spider-man 2,” Sam Raimi never clicked with me. He was a great boyfriend. He did all the right things. But, I mean, sometimes he would eat crackers in bed, or he would ask me if I needed my change and then he’d keep it and stick in his pocket.  I was blinded by the fact that Spider-man was on film. That’s all I ever wanted.  Once someone gave me that, Spider-man on the big screen, I was in love. But, after a few years, I just got bored.

“The Amazing Spider-man” is a solid reboot, one worth going to see.  It’s better than the first Spider-man movie and much, much better than the third one.  For people who think that it’s too soon to reboot the franchise, I’m happy to agree and disagree with you.  Yes, it is too soon. But, I mean, they did it. So, let’s stop bitching about it and be glad that it wasn’t horrible.  Spoilers Ahead.

In the comics, Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider and gets spider powers. He makes his own web-shooters, he makes a mistake and his uncle pays the price. Because of this, he becomes Spider-man.

In the Raimi movies, Peter Parker is bitten by some sort of spider, gets powers, makes a mistake, his uncle pays the price, he has biological web-shooters, and he becomes Spider-man.

In the new movie, everything is basically the same except the spiders are genetic mutations, and Peter’s missing parents are in the mix.  In the comics, Peter’s parents were super-spies.  Raimi doesn’t even touch that pole and this movie sort of deals with it in a very weird, strange way.  Peter’s father was working on trying to give the genetic strengths of insects (spiders, duh) to humans. When Peter starts investigating this, he accidentally becomes a victim of his father’s experiments.

In the right ways, this movie feels very much like the “Ultimate” series of comics.  “Ultimate  Spider-man” is a great, great series that had an amazing 100+ plus run.  What I liked about Bendis and Bagley’s series is that Peter got caught up in situations beyond his control simply because he thought he was more morally right than other people. It’s actually a consistent theme of all the Spider-man comics, but missing from the Raimi movies.  In the Raimi movies, Peter Parker is a hero because he needs to be, and there is no one else around to do it. In “The Amazing Spider-man,” Peter Parker is Spider-man because he wants to be. He truly believes he can be a hero, and that the world needs him. The world DOESN’T need him.  He just THINKS the world needs him. There’s a difference.  In “Spider-man 1,” Osborn becomes the Green Goblin because of events out of Peter’s control. Same with all the other villains in the Raimi movies.  If Spider-man hadn’t been there, people would have died.  In “The Amazing Spider-man,” The Lizard is created when Peter gives Dr. Connors an equation he found.  He did this because he wanted to do it.  Thus resulting in creating a monster and people getting hurt. If Peter would have just stayed home and played video games like most good nerds, the entire movie never would have happen.  “The Amazing Spider-man” gives Peter the responsibility of his actions and decisions.  His girlfriend’s father is killed as a result and he has to put on the suit to “atone” in a way that’s more realistic and interesting than just trying to deal with Uncle Ben being killed. The Ultimate books did this very well. Almost completely, every villain was created because Peter Parker thought he knew what was right more than the people around him. It’s a strange mixture of righteousness/narcissism that makes Peter Parker real.  He’s human. He has superpowers.  He wants to do good deeds, but he barely knows how.  Sometimes he wins. Sometimes he loses. Just like everyone else.

The “Spider-ness” of the movie is also worth mentioning.  This movie feels more like how Spider-man would move and act. There’s not a ton of action. There is, but the action in it feels “off” somehow. It’s almost like the director, Marc Webb, put action in the movie because he knew we’d want to see it. The action we do get is good.  The web-swinging scenes are fantastic and Spider-man looks like Spider-man. He’s skinny. He’s a smart-ass. Peter Parker even seems to become more attuned to his abilities as the movie progresses.  He tries to find high places, he is jerky in his movements. There is less the “Ballot” dancer Spider-man and more the “Spastic, Teenager” Spider-man that processes the element of realism.

Lastly, there is Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield, especially Andrew Garfield.  I remember being a teenager. You’re odd.  Nothing you say makes much sense. You’re a bit confused. You feel like you don’t even want to exist, but you have to, so you just struggle through it. Andrew Garfield pulled this off perfectly.  Honestly, I liked him better before he became Spider-man.  The relationship between him and Emma Stone playing Gwen Stacy was more engaging than the fight scenes with the Lizard. This probably has more to say about how “eh” the fight scenes were than the acting.  Still, Emma Stone makes Gwen Stacy have an actual personality.  She’s not interested in the jock. She isn’t shallow.  She’s not trying to find her identity.  She’s a well rounded, interesting character that is attracted to Peter Parker because, at first, he’s weird. Then he’s dark and mysterious and later he’s just downright dangerous.  Emma Stone almost easily conveys all that with a reluctant smile.

The Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy binary is what makes the film, now that I think about it.  Everyone that has ever read a Spider-man comic knows she is going to die and it’s going to be Peter’s fault.  Not “sort of” his fault. In the comics, the Green Goblin tosses her off a bridge. Spider-man catches her with webbing, but the jerk from the webbing breaks her neck.  It’s a beautiful, classic moment in comics that I cannot wait to see on the big screen.  That, and the upcoming competition between Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson are worth the ticket price for a sequel.

I was hesitate to give any attention to “The Amazing Spider-man,” but I’m glad I put away in stupid prejudices I had and went to see it. It’s good.  And it’s a movie. Stop taking everything so damn seriously. Geez.

Advertisements