Monday, 9 July 2012

Movie Review - 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

When a reboot of the hugely successful Spider-Man franchise was announced about two and a half odd years ago, everybody wondered if Hollywood could possibly get more money hungry than this? Toby's Spidey suit was practically still in the washing basket for heaven's sake! Personally, I didn't mind. Okay, it seems a bit lame rebooting a franchise so soon, but anything would be better than a sequel. Spider Man 3 was, quite honestly, one of the very worst movies I have ever seen. Ever. I don't know why, but I hated it. When Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) was announced as director and Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, Never Let Me Go) and Emma Stone (Easy A, The Help) boarded as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, my interest was more than piqued. Did it pay off? Hit the jump for my first review in ages...

We all know the story of Spidey, so I won't even bother telling you much about the plot. You know it already. It's a reboot and therefore essentially an origin story. There is a love interest. There is a villain. He is a scientist who is perhaps a little over ambitious and turns himself into a monster: a Lizard monster. We have seen these basic elements at play in not only previous Spider Man movies, but countless other films too. However, Webb's version of the famous red-clad web slinger does make some effort to deviate, at least from Raimi's version. Examples? The girl is different, and better (Gwen Stacy always was), his transformation is different (and cooler), he has home made web shooters (closer to the comics as I understand it). You could criticize it for being "more of the same", but if you change too much, at what point is Spider-Man no longer Spider-Man?

Anyway, I would like to take a moment to point out the four BEST things about Webb's Spider Man:
  1. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were perfect. These are two of today's brightest young acting talents, and the best possible casting choices, and way better than Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst (who should stick to heavy stuff like Melancholia).
  2. The 3D was awesome. I saw this coming in the trailer ages ago already, but I really liked what Marc Webb did with it here. Oh, and well done for making the, uhm, leap to big blockbusters so easily!
  3. Practical FX FTW. Much of the web slinging was done using a stuntman, on location. This paid off in a big way. See previous comment about Marc Webb's leap.
  4. The little things. Because Marc Webb is not a Hollywood film factory, the film was loaded with good little bits. It makes the world of difference when the director takes the geek approach (see Avengers for the perfect example). Memorable scenes include one of Stan Lee's best cameos ever, Peter Parker unleashing his powers on the basketball court, and skateboarding to Coldplay: a thing of rare beauty.
The Amazing Spider-Man was not perfect, though. In fact, it was pretty far from it. Normally I'm not a man to point out plot holes and similar weirdness - but some of the bids were really quite odd. Without spoiling anything, I would like to know how the hell he made such an amazing (pun) outfit? And his web-shooters, did he use his watch as a base? On what planet would that be strong enough? There were quite a few bits where more time must have passed than depicted in the film, because otherwise both Spidey and Gwen Stacy must be really good at getting over tragedies (like any movie, there are tragedies). Seriously, psychopath-good. Oh, and then I wanted to berate the one or two parts where the CGI wasn't all that convincing (every movie has an obligatory bit of bad CGI you know), but then I saw this featurette (via Cinema Blend) and decided to shut my stupid mouth. How incredibly awesome is that?

And there we have it. It was a solid movie. Some gripes here and there, but all in all I really liked it. I'm still not that excited to discover the "untold story" (despite the tagline, the movie doesn't go into this much and presumably they are saving it for later), but any decent amount of web slinging and Emma Stone will have me in that theater in a jiffy!

7 out of 10

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