“The Amazing Spider-Man” is directed by Marc Webb (Not intended to be a joke) and stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, and Denis Leary in a movie based on the popular comic book character of Spider-Man. This movie is about Peter Parker getting bitten by a spider, discovering he has superpowers, and trying to take down a giant lizard.
This movie was released 5 years after the box office hit/audience miss “Spider-Man 3.” Due to how many people ended up disliking the movie, it ended up not getting a sequel, and instead, “Spider-Man” got rebooted by Sony with a new director and cast, so Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire were gone this time. Now you’ve got Marc Webb as director and Andrew Garfield as the one playing Spidey. We’re gonna get into Andrew Garfield eventually, just hold on. Going into this movie for the first time back in 2012, I was probably, without realizing it, the stupidest kid alive. Because I was a huge fan of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, and having seen some ads for this upcoming film, I figured that this was gonna be a reflection of Spider-Man’s past before he became who he was and sometime after. BOY WAS I WRONG. That has nothing to do with my rating of the movie, but that just goes to show you how much I enjoyed Raimi’s films. This film on the other hand, is one I didn’t enjoy, I rewatched it a couple of times, but ultimately, I’d rather watch ANY of Raimi’s films every single day for the rest of my life as opposed to this film again. Yes, even “Spider-Man 3.” While “Spider-Man 3” did have its flaws, I would have rather seen a sequel to that as opposed to a reboot shelled out everywhere five years after the last “Spider-Man” film was released. Although “Homecoming” looks somewhat promising, but I’m looking forward to it after the less than satisfactory series we’ve received with both of “The Amazing Spider-Man” films. We’ll get to the second one eventually, but for now let’s just focus on the first.
Fun fact about this movie, back in 2013, I actually bought a Blu-Ray player for my room, it was the first Blu-Ray player we had in the house, and I figured, why not have one? Not to mention I was tired of watching DVDs on my PS2 which actually required me to type in a password or something to watch certain movies that someone must have set up (IT WASN’T MY PARENTS, THE PS2 WAS USED AT GAMESTOP AND SOMEONE MUST HAVE NEVER CHANGED THE SETTINGS BEFORE SELLING IT) They are greater in quality as opposed to DVD and I just got a 1080p TV in my room so I figured it was worth having. I have a different player in my room now, the original works, but the new one can upscale to 4K so I like that one better. The first Blu-Ray disc I ever owned was “The Amazing Spider-Man.” I still have that Blu-Ray disc today with the slipcover, and I watched it a few times on Blu-Ray, but only a few times that year. I own Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy on DVD, I’ve watched those movies MUCH MORE than that film. Rewatching this film, it was better than I thought it would be, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t some flaws worth mentioning, which we’ll get to later. But before we get to that, let’s talk about some characters.
Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker in this film. When it comes to Raimi’s “Spider-Man” films, one common complaint I hear is how Tobey Maguire is a little bit old to be playing a character around Peter Parker’s age. I mentioned this, and I’ll mention it again, for an actor that is older than a teenager, he did just fine playing a teenager. The same can be said for Andrew Garfield. Want proof? Andrew Garfield was born August 20, 1983, “The Amazing Spider-Man” was released in 2012, so around the time this movie was shot and produced, he was in his late twenties. Want another fun fact? At the time of “Spider-Man’s” release in 2002 with Tobey Maguire, that actor was 26, and he was actually slightly younger than Andrew Garfield was at the time of “The Amazing Spider-Man’s” release. Interesting, right? Garfield’s performance is pretty good as the web-slinger and one thing that is superior to Maguire’s performance has to do with the movie’s writing, which is a little more like the comics. There’s this one scene where Spidey encounters this car thief, for some reason he’s in one guy’s car, I honestly don’t know how he got in, but still, he got in before the thief did. He scares the thief by telling him to not dress up like a car thief if he’s gonna steal cars. Then we get this scene that was PURE HILARITY. I laughed my ass off watching this scene, Spidey is just shooting webs at this guy just for the fun of it. At one point, he’s pretending he’s going to sneeze, and when he goes “Ah-choo!,” he shoots a web. My one problem with that scene is that there is this random jumpcut inserted, it’s kinda tacky. Speaking of relying on comic source material, Peter has web shooters now! In Raimi’s films, Peter shot webs out of his wrists, but now, he has gadgets that are meant to shoot webs. A lot of fans like this, personally, I don’t really have a preference. But let’s get to Peter Parker himself, there are certain things I like about his interpretation, and certain things I don’t like about his interpretation.
If you have ever seen any material related to “Spider-Man,” whether it be a comic book, a movie, an animated TV show, whatever, you might be aware that Peter Parker himself is kinda nerdy. In some ways, it is represented well. Peter is shy at times, especially around his love interest, although at times his shyness is kinda awkward, he doesn’t win in fights, and he is pretty smart. However, there are some things that I can’t help but question. I don’t usually see too many nerds riding skateboards in school, they would usually know better. Also, I don’t know if anybody else sees this, but Peter, to me, kind of looks like someone in a boy band. At various times when watching this movie, even years before now, I always thought of Peter Parker looking like a member in one of those bands that get girls’ hearts throbbing, like “One Direction” or something like that. I’m not saying nerds can’t look nice, but what I am saying is that when I think of Peter Parker, I think of a dorky boy in the shadows, kind of like me, as opposed to some guy who the girls are always chasing.
This time around, instead of having Mary Jane Watson as Peter’s love interest, the guys behind this film went with Gwen Stacy. In this film, she’s played by Emma Stone, who was nominated for a Golden Globe before this film came out. Also, I’ve gone through several sources on the Internet, apparently they are suggesting that Emma Stone was dating Andrew Garfield, the guy playing Spider-Man in this film. Interesting, huh? Overall, I’d say she does a nice job as this character, and one difference I notice between this character and Mary Jane is that as opposed to MJ, she actually does s*it in this film. She’s not a damsel in distress unlike MJ, I’m not saying I’m against MJ for being a damsel in distress, but this is a key difference separating the two characters. I won’t go into any detail, this is noticeable throughout the movie, but it’s a little more evident in the climax. As much as I may sound like a girl for saying this, I’ll say it anyway, when she and Peter kiss for the first time, it’s not as memorable as when Peter and MJ kiss in 2002’s “Spider-Man.” Why is that? Because if you saw the movie, you may recognize that kind of kiss is something that is never done in real life, not even in movies for that matter. They even did it in “Spider-Man 2,” not in the same exact fashion, but it’s done there. In this movie, the setup for it was interesting and unique, but it’s ultimately somewhat standard when the kiss actually happens.
Denis Leary is also in this film, he plays Gwen Stacy’s dad, who is also a captain in NYPD. This brings us to a subplot that’s in the film. When Spider-Man is starting to spin his webs around the city, the public is starting to notice him, and the NYPD is somewhat concerned that he may be a vigilante, kind of like J Jonah Jameson in Raimi’s films. Although for what I know, when these officers see Spider-Man, he’s not doing much of anything vigilante-esque. But yeah, we’re just gonna have this subplot where Denis Leary is skeptical of Spider-Man’s actions. Coooooooooool.
Speaking of people against Spider-Man, let’s get into the film’s main villain, Dr. Curtis Connors. He was involved in trying to save Norman Osborn from death. By the way, we barely see Norman in the film, and by barely, I mean NOT ONCE… Stupid. The closest you get to seeing him is whenever his name is mentioned or when Peter is entering Oscorp and you see his face on this giant screen, which pretty much looks like a silhouette from what I recall. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m gonna compare this to what could be the crappiest comic book based film of all time, “Batman & Robin.” In that movie, one of the subplots is that Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce’s butler, is dying, who by the way is actually the uncle of Barbra Wilson, that’s right, Barbra Wilson, not Barbra Gordon like in the comics. What is happening through this process is kind of absurd, but it ends up getting resolved. This Norman Osborn dying subplot seems to take a back seat (gets revisited in sequel) and it ultimately just seems kinda lazy. I dunno. Anyway, on the topic of Curtis, when you first see him in the movie, one of his arms is shorter than the other. He’s working on cross-species genetics, which is his gift to humanity to make them stronger. Part of that involves his transformation into The Lizard, the film’s villain. This villain, while not being as memorable as the Green Goblin or Doc Ock from Sam Raimi’s movies, was certainly more likable than Venom in “Spider-Man 3.” Also, on the topic of this lizard, there’s one scene where he and Peter are fighting, and this is in Peter’s school. Then all of a sudden, we cut to what could be the the best Stan Lee cameo in Marvel’s history.
We cut to a shot that takes place in a library, Spidey and the Lizard are going at it, and in the center, is Stan Lee, we aren’t hearing any fighting noises when he’s in the shot, we’re just hearing classical music, because that is what Stan Lee is listening to on his earphones. What makes it funnier is at one point, a table almost goes FLYING into Stan Lee, nearly hitting him, but Spidey prevents that from happening in the nick of time. Whenever I see a Stan Lee cameo, I’m able to praise it, but sometimes I think they are just somewhat funny and occasionally forgettable. This cameo however, was awesome.
Now let’s talk about Aunt May and Uncle Ben. One trend I’m noticing with all the live-action Spider-Man films is that Aunt May keeps getting younger. In the Raimi films, Rosemary Harris was playing her, then it’s Sally Field (the one in this film), and you now have Marisa Tomei. The Aunt May in this film when this was being shot, was in between the ages of the other Aunt Mays. Looks aside, I’m not a huge fan of this Aunt May. I get that some guardians can be strict around the people they are supposed to guard, but it almost felt like Aunt May is a little stricter than some guardians. Like, you know how some parents tell their children to wash their hands before they eat dinner? When Aunt May told Peter to wash his hands, she did it in this tone that kind of sickened me. If I were a parent and I tell my kid to wash their hands, I’d simply tell them to go wash their hands. I wouldn’t be like “And wash your hands, NOW.” Let’s move away from Aunt May and focus on Uncle Ben. In this film, he actually looks similar to his 2002 counterpart. There are some minor differences, but still, if you look at Cliff Robertson’s Uncle Ben from 2002, and Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben from 2012, you can barely tell them apart. Also, in the 2002 film, Uncle Ben was in a car with Peter Parker, the two were talking and Uncle Ben gives his famous quote, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” This time around, a different responsibility speech is given here. In the end, while it isn’t really a terrible speech or anything, it almost kinda feels forced. Here’s the quote: “You are a lot like your father. You really are, Peter, and that’s a good thing. But your father by a philosophy, a principle, really. He believed that if you could do good things for other people, you had a moral obligation to do those things! That’s what’s at stake here. Not choice. Responsibility.” Also, his death in this film, it’s kind of absurd. The overall setup for it is OK, but the execution doesn’t satisfy me. After the whole responsibility speech was delivered, Peter goes to a convenience store. He couldn’t afford everything he was paying for, so he had to step aside. The next guy in line actually manages to take all the pennies from the “take a penny/leave a penny” pile and tosses a container of milk Peter wanted to buy to him. Peter leaves and so does the other guy. Uncle Ben is out looking for Peter. The guy who was behind Peter is heading towards Uncle Ben and his gun slips out and lands on the sidewalk. The two notice it and they grab onto the gun together with the hole facing towards Uncle Ben, then all of a sudden, boom! Uncle Ben is shot. This death, honestly, just feels rushed and it has some impact, but it just doesn’t feel like it was set up well.
I also want to talk about something crucial that happens in the final battle of this film. Before this whole final battle begins, there’s one sequence in the film where the Lizard is on a bridge, he is shoving cars around and at one point, Spider-Man is there. Some guy is shouting that his kid is trapped in one of the cars. So Spidey swings down and tries to rescue the kid. He succeeds. Later on in the film, there’s a TV on, updating everyone about what is happening in the battle. Turns out one of the guys in the room, is the father of the saved kid. So as Spidey is trying to head to Oscorp in order to stop the Lizard and save the city from turning into lizards themselves. He gets help… from cranes. I… don’t know what to say. The music is pretty awesome here though, even though it kind of reminds me of Michael Bay’s “Transformers.” Also, on a little sidenote, one positive I’m capable of giving this movie is that at various times, it has really good music. It’s not as good as the music in Raimi’s films, but still, it’s pretty cool to hear.
Speaking of Oscorp and battles, the final showdown between the Lizard and Spider-Man was somewhat entertaining. But I couldn’t help but point something out. At one point, it looks like Peter is not gonna make it. The Lizard is about to attack him, and all of a sudden Captain Stacy shows up and shoots a canister of nitrogen, a hose goes flying and lands PERFECTLY in Peter’s hand. What?! I mean, you could argue that Spidey’s reflexes are being shown off here, but if that were the case, I would have liked to have seen his spider-sense make a noise!
On the topic of Captain Stacy, he actually dies after this battle ends. His last words are spoken to Peter. He says that whatever he does, he must promise that he should leave Gwen out of it. After the funeral dedicated to Captain Stacy, we get a scene that almost made me physically angry. And that is mainly because Peter doesn’t speak for like a minute, it was just AWKWARD. However, we do get a scene where Peter returns to school, and he comes into class late. Gwen is sitting in front of Peter. Then Peter says to the teacher that he’s sorry and it won’t happen again. This is followed by the quote: “Peter, don’t make promises you can’t keep,” to which Peter replies: “But those are the best kind.” That is brilliant writing and I don’t think I’ve seen much writing like that before, so I gotta give credit where it’s due.
One of the most awkward scenes in the movie is the “meatloaf scene.” Peter comes home from Oscorp, which is where he’s bitten by a spider, thus leading him to discover his powers on a subway (kinda). When he comes home, he just starts grabbing meatloaf out of a fridge, and it’s just, I don’t know… It reminds me of a kid on a growth spurt. Granted Peter’s a teenager, but it’s just awkward. Especially when you see him carry a bunch of dishes up to his room as if he’s taking up an entire buffet. This also leads to some of the most forced comedy I’ve ever seen. Ben Parker admits to Aunt May that nobody likes her meatloaf, and once Peter leaves the room, the two just start arguing about it.
One more thing I want to touch upon has to do with Uncle Ben. There’s one point where Peter is going through his messages after Uncle Ben dies, and he finds one sent by Uncle Ben. The message to me, didn’t have TOO MUCH of an impact on the movie, and I kind of wonder if a normal person would send a message with the words coming out of Uncle Ben’s mouth. If you know what I’m talking about, I want to know your thoughts on it.
In the end, I honestly had slightly more fun with this movie than I thought I would, but ultimately, it has quite a few problems. The editing is a little odd at times, some of the stuff in this movie requires me to suspend my disbelief, and one of the biggest problems with this movie is some of the marketing. There are several posters for this film saying this is “The Untold Story” and yet it’s pretty much the exact same story as “Spider-Man” back in 2002 with a few changes here and there. Also, yes, I like “Spider-Man 3” better than this movie! Sorry guys! I’m gonna give “The Amazing Spider-Man” a 5/10. If the entertainment factor wasn’t there when I was watching this film, I probably would have ended up giving this film a 4/10 or lower, but it’s good enough for a 5/10. Thanks for reading this review and also be sure to check out my review for “The Founder,” you’ll either find an icon for it, or it will be the next post you see. And on that topic, not to mention sticking with the topic of superheroes as well, be sure to check out my review for “Wonder Woman.” The link is down below, please check it out, it’s worth a read. Stay tuned for more reviews! Also, I’ll have my review for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” in the beginning of July. Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
“WONDER WOMAN” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/wonder-woman-2017-the-dceus-saving-grace/