Graphically Speaking: The Amazing Spider-Man review

The Amazing Spider-Man

Directed by Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Rhys Ifans, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence

I love Sam Raimi and so should you. He’s an inventive director responsible for some of the more electric movies in recent years, chief among them his “Spider-Man” trilogy. Not only did Raimi bring the character’s world to the big screen, he also injected them with his own creative juices, creating a cartoon-like world ripped right out of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s imaginations. The Amazing Spider-Man is divorced from Raimi’s sensibilities, but don’t fault it for that. It works well on its own terms as a film set in a more realistic world.

The film retreads the wallcrawler’s origin, which I won’t go over. You know it already, but there are still some surprises. The film’s realistic approach roots the drama in a familiar place. Peter’s quest for vengeance, his flirtation with Gwen Stacy, even the short, but effective fate of Uncle Ben all have real resonance because we believe these are people, not just characters. I never thought I’d want that in a Spider-Man film, but here we are.

Peter Parker (Garfield) was abandoned by his parents as a child for, as always, his own safety. He’s drawn to Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), a scientist who knew his father well. He becomes the second or third father figure for young Peter, until Connors winds up turning into a man-sized lizard. Chaos and hormones ensue as he has to save his brilliant crush/future ret-con mistress Gwen Stacy (Stone) and half of New York from the same nefarious plan from the end of Batman Begins. Really.

The good news is that Stone and Garfield have more chemistry than Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst had in a single pupil in their sad, puppy-dog eyes. It also helps that they don’t look 43. Speaking of looks, Ifans’ Lizard can emote better than anything in Jurassic Park. He’s not just a Hulk-like mutation. We see Connors’ mind stay intact after the transformation, but why does he have to hear voices? Isn’t that more of a Goblin-like trait? Well, it moves the plot along nicely.

Also, since this is a reboot, we’re given a sliver of a back-story about Peter’s parents, but who cares? We know Uncle Ben and Aunt May raised him. He even calls Ben his dad at one point. I know they’re setting up for a trilogy, but give us SOMEthing. His parents are a device for him to meet Connors, which he should anyway because he loves science! They even made Gwen a wannabe scientist. That’s 2 perfectly good reasons to get him into that spider lab.

I can see why people are ticked off about rebooting a series so soon, but The Amazing Spider-Man justifies itself. It’s not perfect, but it’s a bright spot in a so-far lackluster summer movie season. Even Sam Raimi would approve.

The Amazing Spider-Man is in theaters now. Like the original film from 2002, the film features a scene where civilians help Spidey. It’s done in a less ham-handed manner, but do we really need that lingering shot of the American flag? Oh well. Good for C. Thomas Howell and his extended cameo.

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 19:59 by Lowell Greenblatt · Permalink
In: Reviews · Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

One Response

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  1. Written by Anonymous
    on 2012-07-12 at 16:13

    The  nefarious plan is an old comic book standby which has been done in the comics and in Spider-Man animated series of the past.  It’s a retread of a plot that is familiar to spider-fans and not a ripoff of Christopher Nolan.

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