Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

Every movie reboot has the burden of being compared to its predecessor and it's hard not to do so especially when its previous movies are relatively fresh in the minds of the audience. For some fans Amazing Spider-Man needs to not only stack-up to the Sam Raimi films but also to the Spider-Man comics.

T-shirt worn by me at the screening

In terms of origin Raimi's films were more closer to the classic Spidey stories from The Amazing Spider-Man comics by Stan Lee, but lot of the other classic character elements were still missing in those movies. The Ultimate Spider-Man comic which was a reboot of the Spider-Man comics had a modern interpretation of the character. And it would seem that director Marc Webb would approach his reboot using the Ultimate Spider-Man as a template, but thankfully he and the writers didn't restrict to just one. They used both, traits from the classic and modern comics to weave their adaptation.

There is no real mystery as to what will happen to the characters in Amazing Spider-Man, but it's how those events unfold this time that keeps us hooked and entertained. The origin in the movie though deviates from the original setup, it still leads Peter to the same state of conflict and self discovery under different circumstances. Skipping the origin may seem like a better idea, but then getting the audience to be emotionally invested in those characters becomes a bigger challenge since its a reboot.

Andrew Garfield gives a great depth to the character of Peter. He is able to balance off the nerdy and quirky sides of Peter while conveying his confident and youthful spirit. He channels the character's emotional vulnerability right up to a brink while keeping it contained. It's a great performance. Emma Stone portrays Gwen as a smart and strong character while being able to resonate emotionally and thankfully wasn't made to fall in the territory of damsel in distress.

The movie's biggest reward for me was the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Andrew and Emma's on-screen chemistry is heart warming and it will really pay off in a major way when the movie treads into darker territory for the sequel.

Peter being a scientific genius is really portrayed well and bodes naturally to the caliber of Dr. Curt Connors. Spider-Man using his spider like moving agility and webbings from the webshooters to tackle The Lizard offers some of the visuals in the film especially during their fight at the school, it's like comic panels coming to life. Spidey's early web slinging scenes across New York City is a blend of CGI along with lot of practical stunts, which was also a real treat to watch. Spidey's lack of his classic wisecracks humour was my biggest gripe with the Raimi films, thankfully it's present in Amazing Spider-Man to a certain extent though I wanted it to be much more. And though the score to the movie feels lackluster, I really like the main theme by James Horner.

I have seen the movie two times already and it's still hard for me to say if this movie is the best Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man 2 is still a great one for me and though this movie has some strong qualities it still largely suffers from being formulaic as far as superhero movies and villains are considered. The fight in the final act feels less than desirable while the pacing of the film staggers towards the end, though those characters moments are indeed essential.

Director Marc Webb had a challenging task to bring something fresh to the Spider-Man franchise while not straying away too much from the original source material. And I feel overall he has done a good job with that. But I hope for the sequel he moves away from the city in peril situation and chooses Spider-Man's adversaries not having any connections to Peter. Also it would be great to have more day time scenes with Spider-Man in action. And more importantly hope he tries to incorporate characters and their qualities represented in the classic comics, including Peter being burdened with too many personal problems.

I stopped reading Spider-Man comics after the controversial "One More Day" storyline in the The Amazing Spider-Man comics during early 2008. Then for months together I bought several issues of the continuing storyline "Brand New Day", but beyond the first issue I was not able to bring myself to read the rest. I pretty much shunned myself from Marvel comics. But many fans have been praising the writing of Dan Slott, who has been writing the Amazing Spider-Man comics since 2008.

Watching the movie Amazing Spider-Man just reminded me how much I still love the world of Spider-Man. Especially thanks to Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield, I have renewed interest to see what adventures lies in the current comics for Peter Parker. The guy with amazing powers who is always ready to take on any challenge no matter what the cost, just because that is the right thing to do.


Anonymous said...

Nice review Vivek. This movie definitely had plenty of fun and exciting moments and characters that we could feel something for. For some reason though, I just kept on thinking about the Sam Raimi original movies and yes, I know they aren't masterpieces by any means, but I still loved them and it just seemed like this whole film was unnecessary, but fun.

Vivek said...

Thanks Dan, I enjoyed reading your review as well and the Raimi movies are hard to top. Lot of aspects of Peter in those movies are still true to the original comics and even better off than the current one.

It bugs me to see people and fans bashing them now, just cause they want to embrace this reboot.

The sequel to ASM really needs to step up with a better concrete story next time, else this movie franchise will be critically panned out.