Sunday, July 15, 2012

Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

The first thing that hits you about The Amazing Spider-Man is the same thing people have been saying since the film was announced. It's too soon. And, yes this reboot comes just ten years after Sam Raimi released his first Spider-Man film, and only 5 years after his last.

That last film was pretty bad, but not bad enough to warrant a franchise reboot, but here we are. With a new take on the origin story of Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man. But does it really add anything? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and in a big way.

This time round the metamorphosis into Spider-Man isn't by chance, like in the first film from 2002. There, Peter Parker (then played by Tobey Maguire) just happened to be on a school trip where he just happened to be bitten by a radioactive spider. This time everything ties in with the main plot of the film, and it serves the film much better from a story and character point of view.

"At least I don't look stupid..."
After discovering some old papers of his parents, who mysteriously died years ago, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) follows the clues within them to Oscorp, and Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), and whilst there suffers a bite from a radioactive spider, changing his life forever.

With everything tying in with the plot, the characters are far better than the previous Spider-Man films. Andrew Garfield makes for a far more interesting Spidey than Tobey Maguire, and the same can be said for Emma Stone as love interest Gwen Stacey over Kirsten Dunsts Mary Jane. And even better, Garfield and Stone have far greater on-screen chemistry as a couple.

Where the character and story are stronger, the action is slightly weaker than its predecessors. Obviously, when you have a director like Sam Raimi, you are always going to get a very interesting style, a style that new director Marc Webb has yet to attain. But the action sequences are competent, and the film even harkens back to the first Raimi with a big  'Don't mess with New York' moment.

One moment I knew that was going to tug on the heart strings from the moment it was announced was Martin Sheen playing Uncle Ben. Even if you're not a comic book fan, you should know what happens there, and it's highly emotional stuff. And there's a callback to it near the end of the film that if you don't well up, you have no soul.

If the film had one point letting itself down, it would probably be the lead villain of the Lizard. Through no fault of Ifans, it just doesn't become that interesting a character, and that side of things is let down a bit.

When it comes down to it, it all depends on what you want out of the film. If it's slam-bam action with crazy camera work, then the Sam Raimi films will do you. But if you want more interesting characters, and a richer plot then the new Amazing Spider-Man is well worth a watch.

****
A new and improved Spider-Man, with a new and improved love interest to boot. Great performances and story, slightly let down by a weak villain. Just edges out Raimi's original. Just.

1 comment:

dtmmr said...

Good flick but something just felt like it was missing in order for me to feel the same way I did with the Raimi original series. Maybe it was the fact that this flick took its premise very seriously, and the other ones were very jokey and fun. Still, a good time at the theater is a good time none the less. Nice review Thom.