Thursday, July 19, 2012
3 Thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man
1. The Raimi films vs. the "reboot "- I don't think it is necessarily fair to compare the films, but it is inevitable. I have fond memories of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 (the third one doesn't exist in my world). Before seeing Spider-Man in the theater, I didn't really pay much attention to the superhero genre. There were some films that I enjoyed (X-Men and Batman come to mind) but not enough to consider myself a fan. I was in awe of Spider-Man, although a lot of that awe came from the fact that I saw it in NYC, at a time when post-9/11 emotions were still running high. I know that these emotions surely effected my thoughts on the film back then. It was an overwhelming feeling to watch a superhero fighting to save NYC and I was simply blown away by the sheer scope of the film. In that context, The Amazing Spider-Man clearly has no shot at being the better film, for me. I tried my best to be impartial, but I would be lying to claim that I succeeded. Spider-Man ignited my love for superhero films (a love that later grew even stronger with the sequel and Batman Begins), while The Amazing Spider-man is a film that was created simply to keep the franchise going and that is all it will ever be. It's a satisfying film. I'm even tempted to call it a good film. Will I remember it 10 years from now the way I remember Spider-Man? Not a chance in the world.
2. Color me confused - So, knowing that I wasn't a superhero film fan in my earlier years, you can probably guess that I never read comic books either. Both Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man are origin tales of how our hero came to be. I expected some minor differences in the plot to keep it interesting. However, some of the differences are just too big to ignore. Like, which "first love" came first, Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy? And why is there no mention of Harry Osborn (Peter Parker's best friend). I have a ton of these type questions, but most of them are too spoilery (still not sure if that's a word, but I use it often). Which one of these versions is closest to the original comic book? Or are there different versions of the story there, too? It was a big distraction for me while watching the film and honestly, it was kind of annoying.
3. The characters - Andrew Garfield was really impressive (I think Tobey Maguire was just as good). His enthusiasm for the role was evident and his natural awkwardness (I say that it the nicest possible way - I adore awkward guys) made Peter Parker irresistible. I would only fault Garfield for the awkward one liners he shouts out while in action as Spidey. The lines are already cheesy, but they are cringe-worthy when they are combined with a really thick, really bad NY accent (although it was really the Director, Marc Webb's choice to use those lines....sooo...). Emma Stone, as Gwen Stacy, was as lovely as ever, but I feel like she could have been used in a smarter way. She has perfect comedic timing and a natural dry wit that should have been displayed more. The character of Gwen Stacy is a nice representation of the "perfect girl" character, so why not focus on her smarts instead of dressing her in knee-high socks and making her all "cutesy". I'm just saying that it would have been refreshing to see Peter Parker fall for the girl because of her brains rather than her kindness. Denis Leary, as Captain Stacy, was another distraction because he looks practically identical to Willem Dafoe (who was in Spider-Man as Norman Osborn). Why would they do that??? Who else was in the movie? Oh yeah, there was a villain, played by Rhys Ifans, who was terribly unmemorable.