Good riddance Tobey Maguire. Not to say that I HATED Tobey Maguire’s Spidey necessarily, but Andrew Garfield just knocked this part out of the theater. I could draw comparisons between the Maguire movies, and this new movie, and even the comics, but I won’t. As I’ve said several times before on this site, it’s unfair to a movie to compare it to all it’s precursors, and instead I’ll review it as a movie and not a remake. Luckily, this movie would outshine the others even if I were to review it as a remake. Every aspect of the film is really top notch, and if you’ve got a movie outing planned for the the 4th of July, or really any day, go see this if you can! Stunning film, great actors, and beautiful visuals make this a must see, even for the not so comically inclined.
Casting was magnificent! Andrew Garfield, well known for The Social Network, made for an amazing Spider-Man, and an even better Peter Parker. His attitude and general demeanor as the outcast high school senior, albeit not a helpless outcast, makes for a convincing character, and his witty remarks not only add to Parker’s character but also to the sarcastic nature of Spider-Man himself. Emma Stone as the beautiful Gwen Stacy did very well, and hit all the key emotional notes with impressive ease. Denis Leary does a nice job as Captain Stacy, and shows a nice shift in feelings towards the end of the film. Rhys Ifans feels like a peculiar choice for an evil villain, but manages to pull off the role quite nicely, adding a sort of elegance to The Lizard’s persona through the tough outer shell. Chris Zylka, while only shown sparingly throughout the film as Flash Thompson, will become important in any future films and his performance here shows potential. Campbell Scott is in the same boat, not shown in depth in this film, but as Richard Parker, Peter’s father, he will obviously gain more screen time in future films as new information is uncovered. And who can forget to mention Martin Sheen’s performance as Uncle Ben, a spectacular showing that displays his prowess as an actor. The real amazing feat in The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t any of the actors individually, however, but the absolutely fantastic chemistry shared between Stone and Garfield. The intense emotional moments and the flitting flirtatious ones both come through with such ease that the audience could genuinely believe the relationship was happening between the two actors themselves and not merely the characters.
The plot was just as you’d expect for a superhero movie, especially a Spider-Man film, but the zero-to-hero element was more or less removed. Now that’s not to say that the iconic origin story of Spider-Man is scraped for a new story where the big shot becomes a superhero and saves the town, but this film has put away the defenseless weakling with no ethical calling in favor of an outcast whose morals drive him which can be seen in an early occurrence in the film where Parker (before he becomes Spider-Man) tries to stop a classic case of bullying. Of course he gets beat up in this scenario, but his morals drove him to act rather than just passing by without a second glance, changing the basic nature of the story from an apathetic teenager turned hero to a story of a generally good kid that gains power. Unfortunately, this detracts from the the character development just a tad simply because he can’t come to full realization of his heroism due to the fact that he’s always shown acts of heroism, even though they were on a minute scale. The romance between Gwen and Peter is another highlight of this film, and the forbidden nature of the relationship is always recognizable just under the surface due to the friction between Captain Stacy and Peter’s masked alias, even if he doesn’t know it is Peter. Of course, the main plot of the entire film is the Hero vs. Villain thing that is central in all superhero flicks, and this one isn’t short in development. The relationship between Parker and Dr. Connors is a complex one, and plagued with mystery and the secrets surrounding Richard Parker are a big part of that. Luckily, this relationship was given plenty of time to flourish and collapse upon itself as it seemed fit, and the end result was a very well done representation of the complications in such a secretive relationship. This film didn’t waste time on huge fight scenes and instead opted for story development, which is a huge plus in a story like this. The same can be said for Nolan’s work in the Batman trilogy. Although it is a superhero movie, it spends a good portion of its 136 minutes telling a true origin story instead of a bunch of action scenes, and that is admirable for a movie that was sure to draw an undoubtedly devout fan base.
At it’s core, though, this movie is still a superhero movie, and not everyone goes to a superhero flick to see character development. Some just want to see some good ol’ fashion fight scenes, and certainly doesn’t lack in those, even if they aren’t as prevalent as they could be. The visuals in this film were simply awe inspiring. Spider-Man’s suit got a bit of a reboot in this film and it just looked neat and very sleek. Marvel’s Manhattan skyline was beautiful, and only enhanced by the IMAX experience. Spidey’s web-slinging fun was set in a visual playground, a feast for the eyes, and the 3D in this film was used very tastefully. In certain scenes I took off my glasses for a moment and they didn’t even use 3D. Don’t let that freak you out though. In up close shots where Gwen and Peter are talking, there’s really no need for it, so they don’t try to force it, and that is a great thing. The real 3D, and the visuals in general, show outstandingly in the portions of this film when Spider-Man is swinging from place to place, or fighting with the Lizard, or basically anytime Peter Parker is being Spider-Man. The truly amazing scenes in IMAX 3D were the Point-of-View shots when Spidey was swinging along. It genuinely felt like you were swinging along, and the cool part was, none of it felt forced. It all felt very natural and it was just a joy to watch really. I don’t know how else to spin that to make you want to go see it, but you just need to see it in 3D if for nothing else but the POV shots. Very few films could pull of such shots without making them seem cheesy, but The Amazing Spider-Man manages to do just that. Simply an astounding visual masterpiece (for a superhero film.)
Overall, the only reason I would try to dissuade you from seeing this would be maybe if you suffered from Arachnophobia… maybe. And even then, it would be hard for me to even think about suggesting anyone not see this film. The chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield is enough to get any romantic into the theaters, and the POV shots in 3D is plenty to make anybody want to build web-shooters and try to swing around in the closest metropolitan area. Visually it’s stunning, theatrically it is well done, and it is simply a blockbuster hit well worth the price of admission. The Amazing Spider-Man is a fantastic movie, and IMAX 3D is 100% worth the up-charge. Of course, even just 3D would be worth it, so given the opportunity, do not pass it up. Under any circumstances. Whatsoever. This is definitely a must see addition to the Marvel gallery, and no doubt a film to be watched in IMAX, or at the very least, 3D. Don’t let the price deter you, spring for the slightly more expensive tickets and do not miss this movie.
Perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but this was posted on the 4th of July, and not the predetermined Saturday as normal. Fear not, for I shall still bring you a review every Saturday, including this one! I just felt that most people would be wanting to see this movie with their family on the 4th, so really, I’m just doing a public service. Happy Independence Day to those in the US, and anyone outside the US, enjoy the midweek update!