Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman:
Finally 100% Toby McGuire Free
But Still All That Angst....

About 12 years ago, the film industry went through what we like to call the first comic book movie boom, where in, as you can guess, almost every movie was based on a comic book; The Fantastic Four, Hellboy, From Hell, The Punisher, X-Men, Batman Begins, Superman Returns, you get the idea, all came out around the same time, and though Superman Returns is generally assumed to be the worst of the entire batch, many could argue that among the other worst was Sam Rami's Spiderman trilogy, a sort of half reinvention of Spiderman and half "eh, lets a wacky wallwalker at a wall and see what happens?" film adaption of Marvel Comic's beloved Spiderman, and though some people might not have an issue with such things as the very weak villain presence in those films, there are twice as many who just need to say "organic webshooters" to spark a nerd fight so epicly large, the younger nerds shall someday LARP it. The trilogy got progressively worse, much like with the X-Men films of the same era, and eventually their third and final one was a dud so painful its best forgotten it was even made, the fans were pissed off, and marvel was pissed off they allowed something of theirs to be treated worse then a non-Batman DC Comics character. This lead to two things; the announcement that Marvel Comics was founding Marvel Studios, to produce their own movies and allow their charactes to go in the film directions they wanted them to go, and eventually, after proving that a reboot can solve most of your issues with a film franchise, as proven with X-Men: First Class, it all lead to this, The Amazing Spiderman.

The Amazing Spiderman, once again tells us the story of young Peter Parker who was bitten by a radioactive spider and thats bite gave him the powers of a spider, instead of, you know, cancer. This time around though they don't just explain it as a field trip to a science museum to see how an atom smasher works, they imply that Peter's parents, who really, unless you ignore the horrible clone saga that was the 1990s Spiderman comic books, they never really explained much of, just that they were dead and they were brilliant scientists, and they also change afew other key elements, how his Uncle Ben dies, and how he goes about creating the Spiderman persona in general, I must admit though, I like being able to have Ben Parker around for abit longer, much like how in Captain America: The First Avenger we had Bucky Barnes around for half the film instead of Bucky being "Captain America's sidekick who died", Ben Parker was always just "Spiderman's uncle who died because he refused to do the right thing and help someone that was mean to him" and really just lived on in the belief Spiderman lived by "With great power comes great responsibility", and though each hero does need characters like this to instil their place as a hero, over the years they tend to become hollow and plastic, allowing Ben to be in almost half of the film makes him someone we all feel for even though we know how he will end up, it was a great move, also casting Martin Sheen as Ben Parker and Sally Field as May Parker was a brilliant idea. The movie also changes up the origin, stating that Peter's parents worked with Dr. Curt Conners, long time Spiderman supporting cast member and sometimes villain known as The Lizard, and that they were all working on a way to make the human body able to heal terminal illnesses internally and grow back lost limbs, much like Conners himself, who is missing half an arm, claiming that the spider who bit Peter was mutated through radioactivity through Conners research and study he did with Peter's parents, and it simply got loose when Peter accidentally opened a container the spider was in, thus kind of in a round about way implying that Peter's parents indirectly created him. The film also uses this to sort of "dark mirror" the process by having Peter, using an algorithm that he discovered in his father's research papers, inadvertently create The Lizard, even though it was Conners, who while trying to prove he deserved to keep his job, injected himself with the serum they'd created before testing it on lab animals properly, and in true Spiderman sense, Peter blames himself, even though he doesn't realize that Conners sped things up with out him, after all, it wouldn't be Spiderman with out the angst buried just under the jovial and comedic surface.

The Amazing Spiderman also does a good job with modernizing but keeping the core of the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, another key character in Spiderman's mythos. Much like with Ben Parker being "Spiderman's dead uncle" to most, Gwen Stacy is simply "Spiderman's dead girlfriend" and most really only know of her as that, only those who have read the early issues of the comic truly knew of her and her tragic end as a pawn used by Norman Osborne; The Green Goblin to distract Spiderman so he could get away, and though we weren't given Gwen's death in this film thankfully, we instead get to know Gwen, who is played amazingly well by the beautiful Emma Stone, who truly looks like Gwen in the flesh, the hair, the whole miniskirt and knee-socks/knee-boots thing Gwen is known for, the only thing they really changed was her attitude, generally Gwen is written to be this magical wonderfully happy young girl who sees the wonder and beauty and magic in everything, infact in one story she even was seen to be dancing in the mist and rainbows caused by an invasion from Atlantis, but I digress, even with the small change in personality Gwen and Peter's relationship was as spot on as one could hope, even though oddly, he told her his secret identity, in the comics that never actually happened, though her father, a police captain who at first saw Spiderman as a menace, knew who Peter was, and after the two had a talk about why he does what he does, Cap. Stacy became a valuable ally.

So as for the film itself, its plot is pretty basic superhero 101, we meet our hero, we meet those in his life, we see what causes him to become a hero in the first place, he accidentally has a hand in creating a villain and solidifies himself as a hero because he feels he needs to stop said baddie, and along the way he has defining moments of bravery that show he's truly a hero, instead of a drunken asshat like Iron Man. Its not a flashy complicated story, or an amazingly sweeping grand tale of any sort, its your basic punch and kick and let down your girlfriend superheroics that we've all come to know from Spiderman, that doesn't make it a bad thing, but it might be a let down for newcomers to the character and his world, though long time fans will be happy that the movie folds out like a comic book story, they'll also delight in the hilarious cameo by Stan Lee, while regular movie goers will be puzzled by the strange cameo of Chris Rock who last time I know was still famous enough to not have to cameo in a movie to get money, but then again, well, Madagascar 3... so.. yeah, there is that. Comic book fans will also love the length the film makers went to as to include as many iconic spiderman images as possible, including an if you blink you'll miss it actual posing of 1991's Spiderman #1 cover, an image they consider so iconic it was the cover to Spiderman #1 and recolored into the cover to Spiderman #13 as well, a pose i truly didn't see coming till the last second, at which point i squee'd with delight at it, there are many others too, mostly the webswinging poses, but hey, those are the money shots to Spiderman, so don't playahate.

So, the big question, is The Amazing Spiderman worth seeing? Honestly? Why the hell are you still here reading this? Get your ass to a theater, and watch this movie! Sure its got its flaws like any other comic book movie, but thats never gonna change it, thats never gonna make it not worth watching, its just such a great film, seriously you need to get up on this and as soon as you can. Sure some will say its more Peter Parker centric and it needs more Spiderman and his crimefighting banter, but there will be time for that as the series goes on, this was ment to show you how it all came to be, not just another day in the life of. So seriously, go see this as soon as you can, you won't regret it.

But if you aren't 100% convinced yet, here is the trailer to make you love it....




  1. I only have a few gripes but they did so much fan service in this one its really hard to, well, be hard on it. The one thing I can honestly say irritated me is that he didn't catch the guy who killed Ben bc he always does. The thing I really liked was the chemistry between Stone and Garfield. As well as the way the made her so intuitive near the end where she guessed Capt Stacy made Peter promise to stay away from her. There were quite a few moments that made you smile so hard you almost cried, as well as those where you go, really? I'm torn on the after credits scene, without a face its hard to get excited about Norman. I mean look how people reacted to Thanos. I liked the down to earth feel this one had though, we didn't have to deal with a whole lot more than Peter's world just like in the early issues of ASM it was high school and you said it angst.

  2. Well he didn't really catch the guy who killed Uncle Ben, he beat up a crook he thought killed Ben, but you find out later master thief The Silver Fox accidentally killed Ben while hiding from the cops. But yeah, they did need some kind of closure on that front, and also, I could have used the snappy banter you expect from Spiderman while he was fighting that whole gang of guys before he falls into the old wrestling training gym, that might have been my only thing really missing for me, because, you know, its Spiderman and with the angst is always the hilariously cutting sarcasm.

  3. I also like that this movie as well as the Batman movies shows how massively important a good supporting cast is. Sheen and Fields were amazing and Leary was good too. I think Nolan is getting people to realize this because of the casting for Superman with Crowe,Costner,Diane Lane and Fishbourne

  4. I think the only thing that might save Superman: The Man Of Steel is gonna be Kevin Costner and Diane Lane honestly, they're possible the only people in that cast i could give a damn about, but honestly, with it being a Superman movie, I don't hold much faith for it. As for this one, Sally Field, next to maybe Betty White or Cloris Leachmen if they went older, was the best choice for May Parker. My only real issue with her and sheen was that Sheen didn't say "with great power comes great responsibility" which kind of left me with abit of a hole there, but, who knows maybe he'll find it written in something Ben left in the next one. Also, flash stopped being a douche too soon, and the lack of Harry was sad for me, but I'm sure Harry will come along in the next one.