Monday, July 16, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012): An Unexpectedly Good Reboot

The Amazing Spider-Man
Movies about comic book heroes proved to be very popular in the last decade. Franchises were even rebooted in order to be exploited again and again. After the recent enormous success of The Avengers now comes the time of The Amazing Spider-Man. It will be unrealistic to expect that this movie is going to repeat The Avengers' success, neither that it will perform as well as it is anticipated from the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises. But the latest Spidey film is a good one and actually it is way better than 2007's Spider-Man 3 so the newest comic book reboot on the big screen deserves a few words.

In The Amazing Spider-Man, Peter Parker (this time played by Andrew Garfield) is expectedly bitten by a spider and subsequently turns into a superhuman who becomes famous as Spider-Man. Up to then, Parker is a shy guy who is not among the coolest boys in his school and secretly loves Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Gwen is assistant to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) who appears to have worked with Peter Parker's dad in the past on projects trying to enhance human abilities and resistance. After a hasty experiment Dr. Connors mutates into a powerful reptile-like creature known as The Lizard. Now Parker has the task to save himself, his love and the city from the menacing doctor.

What is good about this movie is that it has abandoned some of the annoying treatments in the previous versions of the Spider-Man franchise. For example (eventual spoilers ahead), now, we are not constantly tormented why Peter has to hide his superhero self from the girl he loves (Mary Jane in the past) cause it is not long before he elegantly uncovers his secret side in front of Gwen. He makes a promise later that he will stay away from her in the future but again his human side reveals he probably won't obey the pledge. I find this kind of behavior preferable compared to the excessive dramatization of the former three Spider-Man movies with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. This time the story is touching without being overly melodramatic.

Another good difference is that Gwen has a bigger part in the events that happen than being just a love interest like Mary Jane. The special effects are also good and the script is decent for a movie based on comics. I've read various complaints against the script and/or the director but I think the direction is satisfactory too. Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans fit very well the roles they play. Sally Field and Martin Sheen skilfully perform the supporting characters of Peter's aunt and uncle. The same is valid for Denis Leary as Gwen's dad Captain Stacy.

There are some weak spots (e.g., Dr. Connors "evil" motivation is a bit underdeveloped, his relationship with Peter Parker's father is somehow not fully disclosed) but as a whole the story is interesting enough to keep your attention and there are not distracting or boring parts. What I find to be distracting and unnecessary though is the use of 3D in the movie but apparently the 3D technology is something we have to bear more and more often in the films that are coming.

Whether a reboot of the series has been needed is disputable but at least the new film has brought some changes (especially concerning the main female character) that are welcome. So if you are in the right mood for comic book movies the new Spidey is a good choice. I'll even take the liberty to say that without being exceptional in anything, The Amazing Spider-Man is at least a better film than the box-office smash The Avengers.


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