Friday, July 6, 2012

"The Amazing Spider-Man" Is Amazing

The Amazing Spider-Man
Directed by Marc Webb
Written by James Vanderbilt, Steve Kloves and Alan Sargent
Produced by Avi Arad, Laura Ziskin and Matt Tolmach
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Studio: Marvel Entertainment / Laura Ziskin Productions

Sorry, I just had to... I know the pun is lame, but dang it I could not resist. Anyways, The Amazing Spider-Man...

When they announced this a couple years back, I was not excited. This was coming from someone who actually liked the dreaded Spider-Man 3 (and still do, no shame). I was hoping that Spider-Man 4 would also be good, but alas it was cancelled and Sam Raimi was out. So I greeted the reboot with skepticism, and the early trailers did very little to get me excited. That said, I kept an open mind and was going to see it anyways. Turns out, I really enjoyed the hell out of it.

First off, I'm not going to mention or make comparisons to the Sam Raimi films. I'm going to grade it as its own film, though it is a little too familiar at times, it still stands on its own. It's basically an action-packed film that has a decent story that isn't too complicated, and from start to finish, you're engaged in the plot and the characters. This is all thanks to very strong performances from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. I was very afraid that Garfield's Peter Parker was going to be some angsty take on the character, but fortunately, his Parker is very very likable.

Rhys Ifans delivers a fine performance as Dr. Curt Connors, who of course becomes the main antagonist (The Lizard) due to a failure in his quest for a serum that could change the world for the better. When he becomes the Lizard, I felt has delivery was a bit hammy, but at the same time, the creature was pretty convincing. The other standout performance comes from Denis Leary, who plays Gwen's father, NYPD Captain George Stacy.

The story works well. The relationship between Parker and Stacy is well-written, and there's a pinch of heart with Peter's relationship with Uncle Ben (played by Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (played by Sally Field). The backstory isn't as prominent as much, but we get the idea early on. Peter changing after being bit by the spider? That was pulled off very well, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the film. It made things exciting while also working some well-timed comic relief into the story.

What I also liked was how Spider-Man was treated as a vigilante by the police, which gives the second act some much needed drama. There's a scene where Parker has dinner with Stacy's family, as he awkwardly tries to convince her rather prejudiced father that the masked vigilante may be helpful. It's all pulled off very well. The screenplay is mostly consistent, despite a few bits that were a little too campy, but nothing major.

At 136 minutes, The Amazing Spider-Man is surprisingly a breeze. It barely plods, and when it does, it's never a problem. The writers keep things firing with top notch action and character development. The chemistry between the leads is never dull, and the love story surprisingly is a strength. The action is well-directed and the use of 3D was certainly impressive on some scenes (there was little of it, actually), but what made the action scenes work was the point-of-view shots of Spider-Man swinging. Yes, we've gotten the thrills in the Raimi films, but these scenes are still fresh and exciting.

The Amazing Spider-Man is essentially a very fun and enjoyable film to sit back and enjoy. It's a bit lightweight, but that's what makes it good. It doesn't ever talk down to the audience, it just unrolls two hours of pure enjoyment while also succeeding as a good story. I am certainly looking forward to the next installment now.


Trailer Recap:
Saw this in IMAX 3D (or should I say Lie-MAX 3D) and the theater was packed. The audience loved it, as they applauded at the end and laughed at the comic relief and such. We got five trailers:

The Dark Knight Rises - Our theater didn't get the Nokia exclusive trailer (I believe it's being shown in theaters), just the last one that everyone knows. Anyways, I'm psyched for this. Seeing this with booming sound and clarity was a plus. - Opens July 20th

Skyfall - Pretty good trailer, definitely very action-packed and loud. I will be checking this out when it comes out. - Opens November 9th

Frankenweenie - For some reason, our theater got the old trailer, not the recent one. Still looking forward to this, though. - Opens October 5th

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Same trailer we've been seeing for months. Looked great on the Lie-MAX screen. - Opens December 14th

Resident Evil: Retribution - This looks stupid, sorry. These films do not appeal to me, though I have nothing against the games themselves. Oh well. Nice 3D effects though. - Opens September 14th

Next up? Ted, and then afterwards, possibly Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, since I haven't seen the film yet. Then of course, The Dark Knight Rises!

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. This movie definitely had plenty of fun and exciting moments and characters that we could feel something for. For some reason though, I just kept on thinking about the Sam Raimi original movies and yes, I know they aren't masterpieces by any means, but I still loved them and it just seemed like this whole film was unnecessary, but fun.