#388/#105 The Amazing Spider-Man
Peter Parker’s parent left him at a young age in the guardianship of his Aunt and Uncle when they had to leave under mysterious circumstances. A now teenage Peter (Andrew Garfield) discovers his father’s old brief case and is drawn to his father’s old scientific research partner Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who is attempting to splice lizard DNA with humans in order to regrow his arm. While at the lab where Connors works, Peter is bitten by a genetically altered spider gaining superpowers and becoming the web slinging Spiderman while Connors’ research goes awry mutating him into the Lizard. Will the wall crawling wonder be able to defeat this new foe?
I was a little apprehensive going into this one as I had heard so many middling things about it and because Sony’s main concern was holding onto its licence rather than having it return to Marvel Studios. This was unfounded however as, despite their initial reasons, they have actually created an enjoyable Spiderman movie. Not without its flaws but enjoyable none the less.
Garfield just does a better job of selling Peter Parker than Toby Maguire ever did. Partially it’s his leaner body type fitting more with what Spiderman is supposed to look like but mostly it’s his whole demeanor and character’s outlook on life. It’s not the science geek of the 60’s but the more universal loner archetype that makes it feel more grounded in reality. Additionally, the fact that he’s in a real life relationship with Emma Stone, playing his on screen girlfriend Gwen Stacy, also helps, as the chemistry between the pair feels a million times better than that of Maguire and Kirsten Dunst ever did. Outside of this too Stone, and the character of Gwen, are on the whole more interesting, engaging and useful than Dunst/Mary Jane was in the Sam Raimi films. There is also a healthy dose of quips and humour synonymous with Spiderman, which was sorely lacking from the former films, added to this newest installment.
There are a lot of other good characters throughout the film but the only other stand outs, I feel, were Ifans as Conners (but not as the Lizard), and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. Ifans’ plight and descent are really well dealt with but after he turns into the Lizard he becomes really cliche and his motivation becomes ‘I’m doing this cause I’m evil now’. He could have been developed a lot better. Sheen as Uncle Ben however, is just one of those perfect casting choices. He’s not too harsh on Peter when he does something stupid and he’s not too cloying when dispensing the advice but at the same time he puts the boot down when needed. His character’s death is also a lot better handled and feels more like it would catalysts Peter into action.
The bad however is also rather plentiful in this. The effects for the Lizard are just God awful. He has a really interesting way of fighting, especially in the school scene, but the lack of snout and general poor quality of the CGI just makes it look terrible. It’s also choppily edited with characters and items disappearing and reappearing as it’s convenient to the plot or from the movie all together. There are also cases of really heavy handed foreshadowing which, added to some odd character interactions and overall a weird disconnect between different parts of the film, makes it evident the film was in further need of some polishing before final release.
Acknowledging all of this, I can see why a lot of people are having some issues with the movie but, personally, they are not bad enough to make me dislike the movie as a whole. I think it’s a fairly good origin story with a pretty strong cast and I look forward to any following sequels (although I hope they take a little more time to refine the finished product this time). 3.5/5