I’ll start off by saying, I loved the Raimi’s first Spider-Man. I saw it four times opening weekend, thinking it was the perfect post 9/11 movie, especially that ending with him swinging by the American flag. So, you can imagine that the Marc Webb directed, The Amazing Spider-Man had a difficult task at hand impressing me. While it’s being heaped upon with praise, I shrug my shoulders feeling “been there, done that.”
It’s not to say the movie is bad in any way, it’s a perfect summer popcorn movie. But there’s not enough different between it and the first entry, so many years ago to make me feel like I’ve seen something exciting or new. If it weren’t for Raimi’s first film, I’d feel different, but the movie seems familiar, a retread, not a re-envisioning.
The movie is absolutely entertaining and real feels like Raimi’s energetic film mixed with some darkness from Nolan’s Batman and Webb’s relationship fun of (500) Days of Summer. Andrew Garfield is great as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, mixing smarts and smart-ass quite well. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is adorable and you can see why she falls for Peter. Rhys Ifans as Curt Connors/The Lizard is good too as well as a supporting cast that includes Denis Leary (Captain Stacy), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben) and Sally Field (Aunt May).
I’m still struggling so many days later to figure out exactly what I had an issue with. The action was ok, the relationship story was great, but the two mashed together had issues. There’s also Peter’s near obsession with finding his Uncle’s killer that seems to be thrown aside by the end of the film. Also, much of it is predictable. The Lizard goes crazy and talks to himself (ala the Green Goblin in the first film), the people of the city rally around Spidey, etc. It hits the notes you’d expect.
The movie can be summed up, by the post credits teaser scene which is choppy and out of place and 3D that at times shows brilliance in it’s use, but most of the time isn’t used enough.
Overall, a solid popcorn movie, but one that doesn’t stand out from what’s come before.
Direction: I loved Marc Webb’s previous movie (500) Days of Summer. The film was fantastic in the depiction of the relationship between it’s main characters as well as how it jumped around in time. That’s where this movie shines. Peter and Gwen’s relationship and Peter dealing with his family situation, that’s the heart of the film and it’s solid. However, the action scenes while entertaining, and not suffering from the usual shaky cam syndrome, are only good. The super hero aspect falls short for me, winding up being predictable, expected, been there before. Grade: 6.5
Acting: Garfield and Stone and great and they’re surrounded by a solid supporting cast. I don’t have any complaints as Garfield shows off the personal and emotional troubles you’d expect from someone with his family life. He’s a star and it shows. Stone is adorable and smart and you can see why Peter would fall for her. The supporting cast as well hits all the right notes showing of the two main stars’ abilities as they’re matched up to such industry greats. Grade: 8
Plot: This is where I’m mixed. The relationship stuff is great. The super hero stuff, not so much. There’s enough for me to pick on and left me unimpressed. And in the age of Youtube and everyone having a camera phone, how many times can this super hero be unmasked?! I had that reaction in Spider-Man 2 and I have it here. His revealing his identity caused me a lot of issues. I will throw major props showing the beating a super hero such as he would take and how his Aunt would react to that. Grade: 6
Overall: The movie is a solid popcorn summer movie. It’s entertaining, but as I keep saying, it doesn’t stand on it’s own enough. We’ve seen a lot of this before, just with a different tone. And while that first Spidey movie gave me the same wonder I felt seeing Superman flying that first time, that magic is missing here. Overall Grade: 7