Here we go again! “The Amazing Spider-Man” is back on the big screen and it’s now in 3D with a new cast and a new storyline… sort of. This movie is a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise which is part prequel, part remake. It is a modest effort on the part of Columbia Pictures, but let’s be honest, the original Spidey with Tobey Maguire needn’t be touched or polished. It is one of the best superhero films ever made. Nevertheless, there are distinct nuances that director Marc Webb brings to the table such as: a more detailed origin story, a darker Peter Parker, a high school teenage vibe and a 3D that feels more 2D than anything I’ve seen all year. When you mix all pros and cons together, the result is an average movie experience that leaves you wanting excellence, not mediocrity.
In this remake, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” is not terrible, it is rather an average superhero movie, a factory made film, so to speak. It is nothing special worthy of praise. It does have moments of high entertainment value, specially the battle with The Lizard in 3D, that the masses will like, but the rest is so familiar that true superhero moviegoers will ultimately become very weary of it very quickly.
Perhaps one might like this darker version, but it is difficult for anyone to convince me that this is better then “The Dark Knight” or “The Avengers.” Among the defects of this movie though, is the lack of chemistry between the protagonists, and perhaps most obvious, the script. It suffers from serious gaps of continuity that don’t allow the first hour to smoothly connect to the second or third act. The special effects do distract from these shortcomings, but let’s be more honest, why re-tell a story that we saw only ten years ago? Could it be that Sony thinks we suffer from amnesia? It’s a frustrating exercise in redundancy and commercialism.
It doesn’t help that the script by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves contains absurd leaps of uniformity. The best example of this is unacceptable fallacy is when Parker spends the first half our of the film looking for the blond thug who killed his Uncle Ben, and without a clear and obvious resolution, the story abruptly jumps to Peter’s romance with Gwen Stacy and forgets the search for the crook. Helmer Marc Webb somehow ignored this crucial element that really wasted a better movie.
In the acting department, the selection of Andrew Garfield was an upgrade to Tobey Maguire. Garfield’s work on “The Social Network” was superb and was better than anything Maguire’s been in. Emma Stone, whose caustic sardonic roles we’ve seen “Easy A” and “Crazy Stupid, Love”, is by far the overt improvement to the languid-like, Kirsten Dunst. Meanwhile, Rhys Ifans, who plays The Lizard, is for me one of the best actors in Hollywood. His ability to physically change from character to character (a derelict in Notting Hill to royalty in Anonymous) is “amazing”. Here he provides a respectable archenemy to Spider-Man.
To be fair to the movie, the action, direction, special effects is not the main culprit for this average film. It crumbles because of the screenplay. If only Christopher Nolan was in charge of the script.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” was filmed in 3D and converted to 3D, however, more than half of the film is presented in what looks like 2-D. The only time you really feel its in 3D is when it gets to the action sequences, the other bits are pure fraud.
Overall, this “reboot” is the biggest cinematic redundancy of the 21st century. It fails to improve upon the myth of one of the most charming and popular superheroes of the Marvel universe. Instead of giving us something new and innovative with the arachnid character, perhaps Peter Parker as an Afro-Latino photographer like in the comics, or re-concocting a different story altogether, we got a superfluity, one which will hit a nice revenue line for many studio heads at Columbia.
Okay, okay. But Jack, I”m very curious to see it. Is it at least watchable, because I really like these type of movies. Yes, it’s watchable, because after the drags of boredom there are ‘peaks’ of diversion. But if you frown a few times it’s not my fault.
Don’t forget the hidden scene after the credits that hints at what looks to be the next villain or not. You be the judge.