HT Schuyler: The Amazing Spider-Man Review

Posted: July 6, 2012 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated PG for action violence.

Directed by: Marc Webb.

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field and Martin Sheen.

Before getting into my review, it seems fitting that I first express my personal opinion on Spider-Man: I personally am a fan of the web crawler, and actually really enjoyed the Raimi movies, yes, even aspects of the third one. So when I first heard of the reboot I found the idea a little perplexing, but after a while the idea started to grow on me. There are countless numbers of Spider-Man comics and stories to tell, so it seems right that they would want to put more of them on screen. The only problem was that the same origin story would have to be told, but despite that I was genuinely looking forward to this movie. I’ll try my best not to compare this film to the Raimi ones, but at the same time it’s kind of hard not to, as it has really only been a few years. Still, it’s selling itself as a brand new movie, so I suppose it’s only fair to judge it as one.

The plot is the same as always, scientific genius/social outcast Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) who knows little about his parents gets bitten by a radioactive spider which gives him super powers, so he becomes a masked crime fighter and ends up having to fight against the main villain, in this case being Dr. Curt Conners, aka The Lizard (Rhys Ifans). The differences this time around is the inclusion of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), her father/Captain of Police George Stacy (Dennis Leary), and the overall theme of Peter searching for information about his missing parents. Oh and also his webs are not organic, he made the web shooters himself, which in fairness is accurate to the original comics. Andrew Garfield is great as Peter Parker. He plays the character much more real, and shy, and nervous about everything, which makes him much more relatable to the audience, and the whole back-story about him as a child adds some depth to his character that was nice to see. Emma Stone was as good as always, creating a love interest that was actually really likable and strong, not just to be played as a damsel in distress. Rhys Ifans plays a really good villain, and though his turn to evil did not appear to make that much sense, he did a good job at descending into madness, and played a good mental
parallel to Spider-Man, and seemed to match him equally mentally as well as physically. Denis Leary plays the hard ass tough cop Captain Stacy, but is luckily not portrayed as a helpless cop, but instead avery strong and competent person who ultimately becomes a very good and likeable character. Martin Sheen and Sally Field play Uncle Ben
and Aunt May, and they do a good job contrasting each other, Uncle Ben being the strong, tough Uncle who’s trying to teach Peter to be a man,and Aunt May being the soft spoken, caring protective Aunt who is always worried and concerned about Peter. Each actor finds a way to make the character their own, and their performances are all very
strong. Garfield being the clear stand out, but no performances is lacking.

The Good:

This movie takes Peter Parker back to his high school roots, which is really nice to see, as Peter Parker is not only a superhero, but a teenager, who has to deal with all the hardships and troubles that a teenager has to deal with, and this explores that a little bit, which is really good to see. Spider-Man himself also has a good sense of humour, and there’s a lot of joking around light-heartedness in his initial crime fighting days. Visually the film is awesome, there aresome really great special effects and some straight up incredible set-pieces that are very thrilling and intense, and the scenes with Spider-Man fighting The Lizard are stunning to say the least. But what truly makes a Spider-Man movie is the web swinging, and here, it’s okay. It’s been better, but it still looks impressive and the POV shots were a nice touch. The film also succeeds at the whole “epic” feeling, making the stakes high and the payoff rewarding, but also having
really touching moments between Peter and Aunt May or Gwen. Overall the film excels with its emotional storytelling and great actions scenes and special effects, and a terrific cast to pull it all together. Oh, and the Rear Window poster that Peter has in his bedroom doesn’t hurt the film either.

The Bad:

The problem with rebooting the Spider-Man franchise is that you need to tell the same origin story as before in order to stay true to the comics, and while it hits most of the main plot points, it for some reason didn’t have the same impact, and almost felt sloppy in it’s execution. For example, (SPOILER ALERT): Uncle Ben’s death is
effective, and it leads Peter Parker to eventually becoming Spider-Man and trying to track down his Uncle’s murderer, but that subplot doesn’t go anywhere, and is completely forgotten in favour of the major story, which is fine if that subplot had a resolution, but it doesn’t, and I felt a little unsatisfied. Another scene that I felt lacked was a scene where Peter humiliates Flash (Chris Zylka) in front of the school, and I get what they were trying to do, the scene just isn’t handled very well, as I felt Peter could have done something more…realistic in his showing off of his powers. As much as I liked Curt Conners as a character, his turn to evil made no sense, as a previous scene shows his distaste for human testing on the serum he’d been working on, but once he injects it into himself he’s suddenly an evil villain, which I suppose could be attributed to the serum, so I’ll let it pass. On a related note, Conners creates a make shift lab
in the sewers and films himself for some reason, and my question is how did he get all that equipment down there? Also I didn’t know sewers had power outlets.

In Conclusion:

So, is The Amazing Spider-Man well, amazing? No. But it’s pretty damn close. I do realize that a lot of my flaws are nitpicks and personal preference, but the overall major problem with the movie is that it ceases to make an impact. It’s a total blast don’t get me wrong, it just didn’t have that powerful of a feel to really make a lasting impression. That being said, there’s still some awesome action, great performances and just the right mix of epic and fun to satisfy the average movie goer, and made me excited for a sequel, so for that, I highly recommend it.


  1. colincarman says:

    Perplexing indeed and a total waste of time. Write on!

  2. hmm i think the Lizard character was also underdeveloped, as were many of the characters.

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