In light of the sequel having come out recently, i decided to go back and look at the first in this new rebooted Spider-man. First of all though, im gonna come clean right off. I enjoyed Spider-man 3. Dont get me wrong, i dont think its a good movie. I just dont think that it was in any way bad either. And i like it for the same reasons i loved the first two. But thats all a story for another day. So when the amazing spider-man hit theaters i was kind of confused. Spider-man didnt need a remake, there was nothing wrong with the original trilogy's depiction of him. Still, Sony needed to keep making Spider-man movies and so, without further ado, here is a review of the amazing spider-man.
*SPOILER WARNING FROM HERE-ON IN*
Story: The film opens with a child Peter Parker being deserted by his parents because they have to go and hide for some reason that im pretty sure i do not care about yet but ok, maybe this is going to go somewhere interesting, ill not judge already. The main plot thread of the movie is that Peter Parker gets bit by a mutant spider while at Oscorp and this gives him superpowers. Then Uncle Ben gets killed on account of Peter's immaturity and he goes on a quest for vengeance, becoming the vigilante Spider-man along the way. It's not the traditional comic origins but that is sort of the point of a remake: to put a new spin on the story and/or characters. And this change does hold up. The villian's half of the story on the other hand, doesn't really. One-armed Doctor Connors develops a serum that grows his arm back because he's sad about being a cripple. Unfortunately the serum also turns him into a massive lizard who goes around killing people. Then he tries to turn the whole city into lizards too because... i have no idea. Ok, but a poor story can be compensated for if the characters are good.
Characters: Peter has been reimagined. He's no longer a geek, he's no longer a dweeb and he's no longer interesting. Changing him is absolutely fine, the problem is that the new personality he has is just boring. His character doesn't develop or change. He goes from noble, cool and reckless to noble cool and reckless. And this is the main problem. If the main character isnt engaging then the movie will never mean anything or carry any weight. Andrew Garfield isn't bad, its just that his character is a blank slate so there's nothing he can do to breathe any life into him. To demonstrate my point, the closest thing we get to an arc is Peter remembering to bring Aunt May home eggs. It's sweet and all, but it doesn't give the impression of a living breathing human, so its impossible to be invested in the movie.
Gwen Stacy is probably the best part of the movie. The scenes with her and Peter are the strongest ones by miles. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone just share some really great chemistry, which is lucky because the script they have to work with either comes out stupid or really cliched. but dammit if they dont just pull it off anyway. There are times when you just want the movie to forget the giant lizard and give us a film about these two. Unfortunately their romance gets bogged down by Peter's boring character and the annoying overlapping plot threads. Still, its nice to have them in there.
Dr. Connors isnt nearly fleshed out enough. Which is a shame because he does have a solid premise as a villain if the movie would at least give explanations for any of his actions. His character arc is also messed up as he ends up saving spider-man, which means he can't have just gone completely insane. He also seems to speak in only cliches for villains we're supposed to sympathize with, which doesnt help.
The rest of the characters are pretty irrelevant in many ways. Aunt May doesnt really do much but is admittedly quite convincing as a mother figure. Gwen Stacy's dad is kind of annoying at times as the cop who chases the vigilante to show that he needs to convince people he's a hero because its in every other superhero movie ever so it has to be in here by default. It's just annoying and misses the point of characters like Commissioner Gordon. The idea of the arc that brings them to being one of the heroes greatest allies is what drives this side story. Not sitting down at dinner and arguing about the ethics of vigilantism.
Action: The web slinging is really good. The physics all feel realistic and the movie comes up with enough imaginative ways for Spider-man to travel around New York that it never gets repetitive. The actual fights though, are lacking. We have a giant lizard with insane healing powers and a guy who can climb up vertical walls as well as shoot webs with off the charts tensile strength. But they seemed to invest all of their time in making the web slinging good, so in the end we get spider-man spraying the lizard with liquid nitrogen (the most overused weapon in all of film) while a cop shoots him with a shotgun. Which is a disappointment to say the least, as there is clearly some creativity in their production team.
Wrapping up: There's a fair amount in here that i like as a spider-man fan, but the movie just doesn't hold up. It's dull and needs a breath of fresh life if it wants to keep me interested for two hours.
let me know if you agree or disagree below!
Never stop lovin' movies or Spider-Man guys!