I’m going to be upfront here. When I first saw the trailer for the new The Amazing Spiderman movie last summer I was not only unimpressed, but actually a little angry. I felt that the last three films, with the exception of 3 were fine. Then as hype grew and more trailers were released, my anger was assuaged. I just saw The Amazing Spiderman and I now feel like fool for doubting. The new film is great. I’m going to do my best not to compare this to the old films, but if I do, well, I’m only human. Sadly.
First off let’s talk Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield shines as our favorite nerdy superhero. He gets Peter and by extension Spiderman down flat. He’s awkward, nerdy, witty, smart and everything else that we love about the web-crawler. He gives a great performance and really seemed to channel the character. My one complaint is that he needed to dial back the angst a bit. I know angst and Spiderman go hand in hand, but Garfield overplayed it a bit too much. He’s not quite emo, but too close for my comfort. Other than that he’s fantastic and a great casting decision.
In terms of other lead characters, this film excels. Martin Sheen is a great Uncle Ben and I was genuinely sad to see him go. A major theme in this film is fathers and Uncle Ben seemed to be just the father-figure that Peter needed. Emma Stone gives a great performance as the love interest Gwen Stacey. She’s strong, resourceful and a great fellow lead. The chemistry between her and Garfield really sells the romance between their characters. Dennis Leary does a great job as the gruff, but reasonable Captain Stacy. Finally the film’s tragic villain Curt Connors is brought to life by the impeccable Rhys Ifans. Ifans gets the character down flat and sells him as a tragic figure whose reach exceeds his grasp. He starts out noble and good, but his own selfish desire lead him down the road to supervillainhood. In a way, he serves as a foil to Peter. Both were given amazing abilities but chose very different paths.
The film’s action sequences are amazing and the stunts need to be seen to be believed. The scenes are fast-paced and exciting and thankfully easy to follow. The 3D actually looks really good, and fits the movie well. The effects and stunts are breathtaking. I wasn’t a fan of the first person view of web-slinging, but I’ll forgive it because it actually looked pretty cool in 3D.
Overall the film’s story is solid. It’s an origin story that’s been told over and over. This approach really focuses on the personal aspects of the story. Peter is looking to find out more about his father and along the way he finds several father-figures. The film itself even describes its plot as “Who am I?” It’s about Peter trying to figure who he is and what he’s going to do with his amazing gifts. It’s a great story and a great way to solidify the characters.
Overall I can’t recommend this movie enough. Hopefully it doesn’t get squashed between the two titans of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. I left the theatre wanting more and I think that’s the sign of a great movie. If you love Spiderman or even if you don’t, go see this movie! You’ll be happy you did.
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