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Jul 3, 2012
11:36 AMTalk about Arts
Bonus Tuesday Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man
Spree editorial intern Willie Robinson-Smith, a senior at Northwestern, had a chance to attend a preview screening of The Amazing Spider-Man. Here, he shares his thoughts on the "reboot" of the franchise, which opens today.
It’s only been five years since the last of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films hit theaters, and we’re already at the reboot of the franchise. And while some may think that Sony jumped back into the series too quickly, it seems like a great time to give the old web-head a new spin.
Comic book movies are doing exceedingly well right now, and it seems like Marvel can do no wrong. The Amazing Spider-Man comes out on the heels of its wildly successful The Avengers, which has crossed the $600 million mark, one of only a handful of films to do so. And whether or not Spider-Man will be able to come close to that box office success, it does have a number of factors that make it an enjoyable film and a great take on one of Marvel’s biggest heroes.
Known for his 2009 hit (500) Days of Summer, director Marc Webb clearly had a fun time reimagining the world of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Unlike its predecessor, this film has a more grounded feel about it, and seems to shy away from Marvel’s tendency to create very stylized movies. It introduces the idea of Peter (Andrew Garfield) having potentially living parents, creating a darker world into which Spider-Man is born.
The film allows its characters to function with more reality about them than previous incarnations. For instance, instead of speeding through Peter Parker’s high school days and pushing him into the real world, Webb’s adaption keeps Parker as a high school senior, and lets him and the audience truly explore that environment. It also allows for a more real set up between he and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone)—they have to deal with the drama of high school (parents, class, bullies, etc.) on top of the Spider-Man issue.
Webb and his writing crew—James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), Alvin Sargent (Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3), and Steve Kloves (the Harry Potter saga, except for Order of the Phoenix)—also succeeded in creating a new storyline for Peter. While the villain, Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) is somewhat reminiscent of Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) in Spider-Man 2, he still proves to be a great foil for Spider-Man, and provides some great action scenes (as well as excellent CGI).
As a fan of the comics, one of my favorite aspects of the film was the choice to have Spider-Man use web shooters instead of producing webbing from his body. This is something that wasn’t essential to the film working, but was a great decision for Webb to include in the film. The only qualm I had with this was that he never ran out of webbing even though he was using web cartridges. This is a problem that Peter has to deal with in both the comics and in the old 1994 Spider-Man animated show, but was never addressed in the film.
Beyond that, it’s a fun film that makes good use of a great cast (Denis Leary as Captain Stacy, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, and Sally Field as Aunt May, to name a few) and Stan Lee, the father of Marvel Comics, has one of his funniest cameos that I’ve seen in a Marvel film.
I don’t always recommend seeing something in IMAX 3D, but in this case it really does enhance the experience in a way that would be potentially lost in regular 3D, and certainly in 2D. As seen in the teaser trailer for the film, there are moments where the camera shifts to Spider-Man’s point of view, and you feel like you are the web head himself. In those moments, the movie changes to a thrilling ride, and takes the audience fully into Peter’s world for a moment.
So whether or not the film seems like it came too quickly on the heels of its predecessor, it’s certainly worth checking out, especially for fans of the comic book world. And of course, be sure to stick around after the first part of the credits for a piece of bonus footage hinting at the next film.
GRADE: 8/10 (Note: 8 for the film in IMAX 3D)