Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man [2012]


Background:
Release Date: 5 July 2012 (Malaysia), 3 July 2012 (USA)
Directed By: Marc Webb
Written By: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Fields, Irfan Khan
Duration: 136 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) is abandoned by his parents at an early age and is left to be taken care of by his Uncle Ben (played by Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (played by Sally Fields). As a teenager he finds clues to the disappearance of his parents and then proceeds to find answers by going to the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (played by Rhys Ifans). There he finds out that classmate Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone) is working at the lab, and after some snooping-around, Peter gets bit by a radioactive spider.


Thumbs Up:
+ The familiar origin part of the story surprisingly is the most interesting segment
+ Great visual shots with some very interesting camera-work
+ Stan Lee's best cameo yet. Completely forgot about his obligatory appearances.
Thumbs Down:
- The tempo especially in the second half was extremely slow
- The final third of the movie was waaay too cheesy and melodramatic
- The ending dragged-on for far too long
- The trust between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy was prematurely created
- Multiple unmasking of Spider-Man became rather annoying
- Tried too hard to be different from the Sam Raimi versions of Spider-Man


The Verdict Is In:
As I mentioned in my previous post, The History Of Batman On Screen, the flurry of excitement I'm experiencing since we've entered July is because we'll finally get to see The Dark Knight Rises [2012]. This state of emotion I am currently in has somewhat made me forgotten about other movies, especially this superhero web-crawler that we have here. Its actually a shame seeing that Spider-Man holds a very special place inside my heart. I've told this story before (Me And My Superhero Childhood), but my early childhood was spent reading comic books like The Amazing Spider-Man and Secret Wars (where he was sort of the main character). Multiple cartoon series on TV (my favourite was his team-up with Iceman and Firestar) was heavyly watched and when Sam Raimi came up with a trilogy not so long ago, I was naturally elated. Like everyone else I was baffled by the decision to reboot the franchise so early on, but was still looking forward to it, seeing that I like both Andrew Garfiled and Emma Stone, while director Marc Webb had directed my number one Favourite Romantic Movie, the very charming (500) Days Of Summer [2009]

Despite having a different villain and love interest, the origin story in the first half of the movie is basically the same as the one told in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man [2002]. I initially thought this familiar tale would be the weak part of the movie but director Marc Webb actually manages to re-imagine the scenes well enough that they become completely engaging. Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker very well and the film never intends to portray the character as super-nerdy and always being picked on like the role Toby Maguire played in the original film. But unfortunately the fun stops once Peter Parker turns into Spider-Man.



The film eventually went wrong in so many directions. For starters I have trouble buying into the supposed bond between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, which led to Parker sharing his secret identity with her. There was too little interaction and investment for that to happen. The pacing of the third act was also way too slow and with too many cheesy scenes. For example, when the construction workers tried to help Spidey out or that speech Uncle Ben left Peter on his voice message. Does anyone really makes speeches like that on the phone? I was also reminded to a dialogue uttered by Robert Downey Jr. in the movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [2005] , about LOTR: The Return Of The King [2003] having 18 endings. It was a case of deja vu here as the ending dragged on for far too long, and when you thought the film was over, out popped another scene.

Of course rebooting a film so early after the original will magnify the comparisons between the two. This movie here tried so hard to separate itself from Sam Raimi's version and in theory that is actually a good thing. The original had so many memorable dialogues and scenes such as "With great power comes great responsibilities" that we immediately associates them with the character (it actually has it's roots from the comic books). Here the screenwriters wanted to avoid those iconic dialogues although it is clear those exact dialogues is what they intend to communicate to the audience. They just used different but longer and far inferior words. I truly did want this movie to work but watching it makes me appreciate even more how good Sam Raimi's version really was. They should have let his plan for a fourth movie follow through rather than making this one.
Rating:
5.5 out of 10

24 comments:

  1. "bond between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, which led to Parker sharing his secret identity with her"

    setuju, tapi aku terkejut kor bagi agak low rating

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    1. tak tau la, bad mood kot... tapi was expecting much better...

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  2. As a fan of the comics I want to check this out because I love the story of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, but as a movie fan not so much because I loved Raimi's version so much. Will wait til this gets in the cheap theatres. Nice review though. I might still check a matinee showing of this adter I see The Dark Knight rises

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    1. Not only was Raimi's version good, along with Bryan Singer's X-Men, was the start of an exciting new era for superhero films.

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  3. That movie eats. I have no idea why people like it.

    The bad guy's plan was retarded (as well as the machine he was using).

    The scene when Peter discovers his power is some horribly contrived slapstick sequence that completely falls flat.

    And what really pissed me off, the Hollywood science. Okay, this is a superhero movie, so I'm not shocked that a guy turns into a lizard, but... no, reptiles do have predators in nature. Why does Peter's father have spider doodles on his black board in the middle of calculus ? Why does the Lizard make a flash animation, complete with lizard shaped sprites being spread on a map of Manhattan, when he's the only one in his sewer hideout ? Who thought a machine that could pulverize any chemical into the atmosphere was a good idea ? Yeah, what about the people who don't want to get vaccined ? More than that, what about people who are allergic ? Huh ?

    Why does Oscorp choose to use those highly visible minigames to lock their doors instead or a keypad or key cards ? Huh ? And how about ID, have people heard of ID cards in oscorp ? How can a rendom joe come and take someone else's badge without his ID being checked ?

    And, yeah, I really don't buy the Peter/Gwen romance. There's no buildup, nothing. For some reason, Gwen just finds Peter incredibly charming all of a sudden.

    And what's up with the skateboard ? Whose idea was it that the only thing Peter Parker needed to be more sympathetic was a skateboard ?

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    1. Whoa, anonymous, that's quite a lot of questions. Another one I could think of is why Spidey needed that helping hand to save him from falling and pull him up... he could just stick to the walls himself. But actually I can live with illogical scenes and plot holes if the film is largely entertaining. To be fair, the first part did generally do that. But the longer the movie progressed, the worse it became.

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    2. That I kinda accepted. He was out of web, and if he had actually started to fall, he couldn't have moved his body closer to the tower to get a grip on it.

      What he should have done, though, that he didn't do, is as soon as Lizard grabbed hims, swing his body closer to the wall to stick to it.

      But with the trajectory he had, he probably needed that hand, for at least one second.


      But, something else I really didn't like is the lead actor. Lots of people apparently dislike Macguire. I don't know, I didn't really mind, him, but by god, Andrew Garfield. He's... ugh. What kind of acting is that ? Did the director tell him to make the goofiest face possible every time he had to make an emotion ? And that smile, god, that smile will haunt my nights for months !


      Inconsistencies don't always ruin a movie, as it can be awesome despite them, but here, it piles up so much.

      I don't know. I loved Avengers and Captain America, I liked Iron Man (the 2 less so) and Thor (even Thor, god, I really didn't think it was possible). But Man, this Spiderman, damn.

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    3. Yup, ultimately its overall that matters

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  4. I think I'll wait for DVD to see this one. Great review, the fact that movie is disappointing on many levels is something I keep reading about it. I really don't understand why reboot the series so soon after Raimi's trilogy.

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    1. Yeah, waiting for the DVD is a good option. I don't think anyone understands why they rebooted it. If they wanted to make money from 3D, they could have still got it from a fourth movie. No reboot needed.

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    2. I think it's because they want to put him in the next Avengers... You see, Disney bought Marvel but they couldn't buy Raimi's Spiderman trilogy... That's why we didn't see Spidey in the Avengers...

      So in order to assemble him in the next Avengers, a reboot must be done

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    3. Hey I love that idea of Spidey being in the next Avengers. But they still didn't have to reboot it, Mark Ruffalo wasn't in the previous Hulk movies, yet he was great.

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  5. Sad that you felt the movie is a disappointment. I'm hoping to catch this on weekend. But I kind of hope my waiting for this movie is going to be worth it

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    1. I really wish I can say I enjoyed it but apart from the early origin segment (which is already very familiar), I was largely disappointed. Hope you have a good time this weekend, there's still a lot of reviewers that said it was enjoyable, so there's still chance you'd be entertained.

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  6. I'll be more generous than you on this one as I thought it was decent. It could be that I really like Andrew and Emma and their romance was engaging and it was the heart of the film. At the same time, I could see why people have issues with it and I think the filmmaker already shot themselves in the foot by doing this so soon. I think it they had waited a few more years people might have been kinder to this version.

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    1. Haha.. you know what,I haven't been blogging for a year yet so I'm relatively new. But I feel bad every time I write a negative review because it makes me feel grumpy. I still didn't enjoy it enough though. I liked Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, she didn't play a damsel in distress that constantly needs rescuing like Mary Jane.

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  7. Sounds disappointing. I'm not planning on catching it in the cinema so I'm keeping expectations low and will eventually rent it and hopefully enjoy it a lot! Wish I could lower my expectations for TDKR!

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  8. It does have a fairly high rating on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, so its could just be me. I'm trying extremely hard to contain my excitement for TDKR too.

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  9. Just saw it yesterday... I love it! I personally think that it's better than the previous Spiderman movies :-P

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    1. I know I've read your review. I disagree but we can't all have the same opinion can we? Haha..

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  10. A good film, but nothing like the Raimi flicks. Still, deserves to be seen just because it pays attention more to its characters rather than annoying action, but it all works. Good review Asrap.

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    1. Raimi's version is better done and has more memorable scenes and dialogues.

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  11. So, does this make TDKR even better?

    Maybe The Avengers made this worse?

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    1. Sam Raimi's Spiderman made this worse. When the core story is the same, and made in a short time frame from each other, you can't help but compare the two. But Raimi's was done waaay much better. I could probably do an entire post why.

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