Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man: Review

Happy belated 4th of July, everybody! I celebrated by checking out a movie I have been quite eager to see "The Amazing Spider-Man". TASM was directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. While many critics have viewed TASM as an unnecessary reboot since the last Raimi directed film came out in 2007, I have to disagree with these claims. While 5 years isn't a long time to wait for a reboot, the Raimi series was played out, Sony needed to keep the Spidey movies coming otherwise the rights will return to Marvel (Disney) and as "Spider-Man 3" showed us, even mediocre Spider-Man movies can make plenty of money. All business reasons aside, I found TASM to be a wonderful take on the classic character and a well altered re-telling of his origin. The common consensus seems to be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but the way I see it, if you can make it better, why not do it?

While TASM isn't perfect, I enjoyed it considerably more than Raimi's films. Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker is much more  approachable than Tobey Maguire's, and I have to say that applies to every other character who appeared in both. Emma Stone was much funnier and more sincere than Kirsten Dunst, and I loved Sally Field as Aunt May. While Raimi's film was fun but ultimately hokey, TASM takes a more serious tone for Spider-Man and plays more into the tragedy of Peter Parker. Tasm's  Spidey seems more in tune with the comics, as he blames himself for the tragedies that befall his friends and loved ones, yet when he is in the suit he cracks jokes. This split is what makes the Spider-Man character, and TASM nails it.

The film also builds up a great relationship between Peter and love interest Gwen Stacy. While the previous films used Mary Jane Watson, TASM went with Peter's first love played by Emma Stone. The chemistry between the two is palpable and the young love story merges well with the main plot. The only concern I have concerning their relationship is Gwen Stacy's imminent demise and it would be a major bummer to see Emma Stone die.

Of my few complaints, I thought that Garfield was melodramatic at times, but I still preferred it to Maguire's ugly crying from the Raimi films. Some side characters could have been explored more, Aunt May and Captain Stacy, but there was a lot to cover in the two hour film.

Ultimately, I feel that TASM sets itself up to be a quality beginning for future films. Between setting up Oscorp as an important entity and the post credit scene, a sequel seems imminent. TASM combines elements of the previous Spider-Man films along with a more consequential tone that is common among the more recent hero flicks. Above all, I consider it to be a great summer movie, certainly worth the admission.


Location:Oak Park, IL