Thursday, July 12, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man Review

WARNING: Spoilers.

This was a movie I looked forward to from the very beginning. As soon as the announced a Spider-man reboot with Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man i was hooked. Andrew Garfields a great young actor and Marc Webb is a great up-and-coming director.

I like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies...for the most part. I liked the first one, thought it was a good introduction to the character for people who hadn't read the comics and as silly as the green goblin's costume looked Willem Dafoe was great. But I like the second one even more, most because Doc Ock is, and continues to be the best villain out of all the movies. but I, like most, found the third movie to be almost completely terrible.

As much as I like Sam Raimi he has a habit of being very over the top and silly, not that its always a bad thing, alot of the time its welcome and fun. But his Spider-Man movies were just overflowing with it. This movie doesn't do that, besides the odd one liners here and there the over all tone of the movie is pretty serious and stays that way.

Peter Parker's (Andrew Garfield) parents dropped him off with his grandparents, Aunt May (Sally Fields) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) when he is a little and disappear. Jump to the future and Peter's now in high school, a photographer and genius, who's constantly bullied by the school bully. One day he finds some of his fathers old thing in the attic and is drawn to a man named Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans) who was an old colleague of Peter's dad.

Conners is experimenting with genetics splicing, especially that of lizard DNA, to grow back the arm he lost. He tries it on himself and something goes wrong and it turns him into the Lizard. Along the way Uncle Ben is murdered by a thief who Peter lets get away from robbing a gas station, and Peter is bitten by a spider and given powers. He builds himself a suit and gadgets and becomes the vigilante known as Spider-Man. He gets a new girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) whose dad is Police Captain Stacy (Dennis Leary).

Lets start with the villain. Rhys Ifans is an actor I want to pay attention to now. Dr. Conners/ The Lizard isn't really a well developed character, but Ifans does alot with the little he's given and makes the best out of it. He isn't the best comic book villain, and not the best Spider-Man villain, that honor still being held by Doc Ock. But hes a decent one and Ifans does a good job.

I like Emma Stone, I think she's a very good actress. Good at being funny or serious she can make any terrible film almost worth watching (see Easy A for an example of this). She plays a good Gwen Stacy, miles better than Bryce Dallas Howard who played the role in Raimi's Spider-Man 3. But she seems to be kind of shoved to the background for alot of the film, which makes sense as this is a the reboot of a franchise and it was a good idea to put more emphasis on the lead character.

Dennis Leary is great. Really he is. I knew he was a good actor from the little bit of his show, Rescue Me, I've seen, but he is excellent in this movie. He plays the part of Captain Stacy convincingly and seeing him die (see told you Spoilers) at the end is truly heart wrenching because I would of liked to see him come back in the sequels.

The best part about the movie though, Andrew Garfield. He really hits home with this role. He plays Peter with a certain vulnerability and shyness that you can identify with, but is just enough of a tough guy were you believe it when he starts fighting crime. That was the thing about Raimi's movies i never really liked, I never thought Tobey Maguire was very good, I always thought he was very bland and I never really bought into the whole him being a crime fighter thing. But here I believe it, because Garfield is a fantastic actor and makes me believe it. When he's witty its funny and when he's serious its gut wrenching, with the scenes of him grieving over Uncle Ben's body and Captain Stacy's death scene drawing particular merit. Garfield brings a realness and sincerity to the role I never though Maguire had. I guess if I had one complaint it would be that he looks to old to still be in high school, but his performance is awesome and I barely noticed it. Plus the movie gets extra points for making Peter considerably less whiny and angsty than before. Even when he is angsty its understandable because unlike in the Raimi movies, we actually see Peter with his dad. We see ihm and his dad playing as a kid. So when he grows up and is upset about it we sympathize with him because the movie took the time to show us what his father meant to him.

Marc Webb is a great new director with a surprisingly good flair for action. The action scenes are shot very well with the shots lasting long enough to be able to understand whats happening, and only getting really chaotic when he shoots the Lizard, which fits well. Some of my personal favorite shots are the POV shots we get from Spider-Man swinging threw the city.

All in all I really enjoyed this movie. The main roles are pretty much perfectly cast, and the side roles such as Martin Sheen and Sally Fields are great as well, especially Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. Despite having a sort of weak villain The Amazing Spider-Man is an expertly made movie with some people who seem to genuinely care about what they are doing. Garfield is an excellent Peter Parker and Marc Webb is a great director.

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