Well, it has finally arrived. It almost reminded me of opening presents during the holidays, (even though that does sound a bit exaggerated) but that was how I felt as I watched The Amazing Spiderman. I was incredibly excited (I have been following the news on this movie for over two years) and was immediately swept into the film because of it’s fresh tone and better rendition of my favorite superhero, Peter Parker/Spiderman. This film had many things going against it– the fact that a majority of people know the plotline, the original film trilogy only finished (painfully) about five years ago, and that the cast and director were relatively unknown to most people. Sony announced over two years ago that they were remaking the trilogy– although mostly to ensure they continued to own the rights to the Spiderman franchise– and it was announced with mixed reviews (me: excitement; my friends: annoyance). But, despite the mixed reviews, the previously mentioned problems, and an excessive amount of marketing, The Amazing Spiderman is a fantastic film and (in my opinion) the best Spiderman film to date.
Now, we will be discussing the various aspects of the film, including: the plot, acting, directing, and styling. Since we will commence by talking about the plot, I will do a basic overview (a more detailed plot will be below with a large WARNING sign). The basic story of this film is that an orphaned, socially out casted teenager, named Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield), is bitten by a radioactive spider that not only gives him super powers, but also causes him to question the truth about his parents (who seemed to have died in a plane crash). Now, Peter must decide, through an incredibly tragic event, whether he will use these new powers of his for good or evil. What is fantastic about this film is that Peter is not a traditional hero– he uses his powers to embarrass bullies at school, impress Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone), and have fun. Unlike in the original trilogy, Peter acts like a real teenager– he has mood swings, an attitude, and a caustic sense of humor (it adds an emotional layer to the character). He back talks his Aunt and Uncle (who function as parents), has a miserable time asking out girls, and revels in the notion of destroying those whom have tortured him for years, and all of this creates a truly dynamic character. Now, despite these elements and a generally good plot, there are some downfalls. (WARNING: SPOILERS) Such as, the development of Dr. Conners (played by Rhys Ifans) is rushed to where his change into the Lizard is very odd, and makes the audience not overly care about the character; as well, in this version, Peter becomes Spiderman to find the guy that killed Uncle Ben, but once the Lizard appears, that entire element of the plot is forgotten (though I am hoping it is discussed in the sequel). Despite these small hiccups in the film (which I think is a result of editing, and nothing else), the film did a fine job in telling the story of Spiderman.
To be completely honest, if you are unsure whether you should go to this film, you need to go to see it for the acting atleast. Andrew Garfield (Boy A, The Social Network, Never Let Me Go) completely embodied the role of Peter Parker and made the role both realistic and charismatic for the viewer. Emma Stone (Easy A, Superbad, The Help, Gangster Squad) was incredibly natural in the role of Gwen Stacy and showed a female character that did not require being saved every two minutes (yes, I am talking to you Mary Jane). I felt that all of the actors did amazing jobs and embodied their characters without losing the fun and youth of the story. Not all of the characters, mostly supporting characters, were completely developed, but I am hoping that they will be fleshed out more in the sequel.
Now, perhaps the most surprising thing about this movie is the fact that the director, Marc Webb, has directed only one other film (which is 500 Days of Summer). I, like many other people, love that film for its awkward moments and realistic look at failed relationships, but I was curious how a small-scale, “indie” director would make a big-budget, iconic film. In the end though, Webb did a fantastic job and worked extremely well with the limitations of the story (one cannot be too creative with the plot of the origins of Spiderman, to be frank) and the Sony Corporations (thank you for the obvious product placement in the middle of the film, Sony). Nevertheless, the film had great visuals and styling– it had dark elements to it, but it did not saturate the plot– that helped to create the characters (the styling of Peter and Gwen’s individual bedrooms were brilliant) and move the plot along without overdoing the script. The overall style to the film was a clean frame with a dark edge– that there is youth, fun, and innocence to these characters, but there are darker, heavier elements that are waiting to spring into action.
The final thing I will discuss about The Amazing Spiderman in this post is the end scene. The very last scene (WARNING: SPOILERS) that occurs after the initial credits (yes, you do not have to sit until the very end of the credits and learn the name of the third cameraman in order to see the cliff-hanger) shows a man (played by Michael Massee, who has the scariest, raspiest voice in the world) talking to an imprisoned Dr. Conners and asking whether Peter knows the truth about his father. Now, there are many theories about who this mysterious character is, and the actual answer will be revealed in another two years when the sequel comes out, but I think it is Norman Osbourn and the “truth” about Peter’s dad is that he did some type of engineering on his son in order to ensure that when Peter changed into Spiderman, he would be able to control his powers easily.
FINAL RATING: 9.5/10
What do you think of The Amazing Spiderman? Do you agree with me and feel that this is the best one so far, or do you prefer the original trilogy? And what do you think of the end scene? Below I have included a photo of Andrew Garfield as Spiderman and my movie ticket.