Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

Year: 2012
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

Plot: The supposed untold story of how Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man.

Review: For the longest time, I thought Spider-Man didn't need a reboot. After seeing this, I realized that a reboot isn't such a bad idea after all.

Sam Raimi's original trilogy was entertaining, but there was always something about them that didn't sit well with me. Raimi had a tendency to go overboard with certain things. It's kinda like his style to do so. It wasn't just the Spider-Man films, it was also obvious in his other films (Drag Me To Hell, I'm looking at you).

To his credit, Marc Webb has successfully struck a balance of comedy, humour and action in his version. The story isn't that much different here, as you'll see plenty of familiar things Raimi had already covered (Peter getting beat up at school, Uncle Ben's death, Peter exploring his powers across the city skyline etc). But what's awesome is that Webb has improved on these things, making them count emotionally and as a result, the audience is able to truly believe in and root for Peter Parker.

Andrew Garfield makes good on his potential as one of the most promising young actors today, giving Peter Parker the right amount of awkwardness, vulnerability and courage. He's definitely better in this role than Tobey Maguire ever was. Emma Stone shares good chemistry with Garfield in the role of Gwen Stacy, Peter's love interest. Like Garfield, Stone is an improvement over Kirsten Dunst as she doesn't scream all the time. Rhys Ifans' portrayal of Dr Curt Connors aka The Lizard is reminiscent of past Spidey villains, in that he's a sympathetic bad guy, more flawed than being truly evil. Ifans is great in the role, by the way.

Martin Sheen and Sally Field make a great Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Sheen makes good on his short appearance here while Field's Aunt May is again, better than Rosemary Harris' version, but probably because of the way the character was written.

The action is pretty good. Spidey's battle with The Lizard at the school is probably the best out of all their fights in the film. And unlike Raimi's organic web making wrists, Webb has Peter use an actual web shooter.

However, the film could use a bit of editing. The last five to ten minutes or so was a tad unnecessary, there were a couple of scenes here that Webb could have done away with. The plot also got lost somewhere in the middle third of the film, if you weren't paying attention you might have missed something.

The Amazing Spider-Man is truly amazing indeed. The fact that it's better than the original trilogy is reason enough to go see it.

P.S.: Stay during the end credits for an extra scene. (4/5)  

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