The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man 2012
So I mentioned before back when I watched the Avengers, that it had been four years since I had been to the theaters to see a movie, and this movie has been the second one so far this year to drag me out of my house even in this crazy heat to go to the theater and watch on the big screen. It was totally worth it. This was also a different experience for me because I managed to make a split and let Jena and her mother watch Brave the next theater over while I watched Spider-Man with one of my friends. I think one of the biggest questions anyone has about this movie is if it is too similar to the Raimi movies to make a difference on the audiences. I personally think it managed to take most of the best parts of Spider-Man 2, leave out some of the weaker parts of Spider-Man, and add in things from the comic that never made it into the original trilogy and come out with something at least as good as Spider-Man 2, which was my favorite of the original 3. I think it’s a worthy start to a new series and I’m all for the Amazing Spider-Man 2.
As far as the origin of Spider-Man goes, I’ve admittedly only read the reprinted comic book that came with the original Spider-Man on DVD, and I watched the old 90’s cartoon series but that was so long ago I don’t even remember if they had an origin pilot episode or if the origin is just covered in the opening credits. Most of what I know about Spider-Man’s comic book origin is what I’ve read online about how whatever movie/TV show got things wrong. Biological webbing vs. mechanical shooters? I definitely wasn’t up in arms over the Tobey Maguire movies using biological web shooters instead of the traditional mechanical versions. It makes sense to me that gaining the traits of a spider would include that ability. That said, I thought the mechanical shooters were handled believably well in this movie without having to explain why a high school kid would be able to invent these things from scratch. I also know that Gwen Stacy was Parker’s first love and they don’t even make mention of Mary Jane in this movie. I kind of wish she would have at least made an appearance, but the chemistry between the actors Garfield and Stone was really great and Stacy as she was portrayed in this movie seemed like a perfect fit for the type of character Parker is. I also liked the fact that the movie kept them in High School rather than making them grow up too quickly, there were elements of college level stuff, but that would also make sense for high performing seniors, and the actors are both young enough to still look the part of High Schoolers. At least much more than Maguire and Dunst. The last thing that this movie brought from the comics that was lacking in the Raimi films was Spidey’s quippyness. Maguire makes a handful of quips in the first movie, but after that there’s only a couple. Garfield however is full of funny smart alec remarks and I loved every minute of it.
One of the somewhat controversial aspects of this movie by Spider-Man fans is the omission of the signature quote by Ben Parker “With great power comes great responsibility.” As someone who knows about that line, I was waiting for it during Uncle Ben’s couple talks. But while it never came, the sentiment was still there, and honestly I respect the decision to omit the line because it frees them to write the lines the way they want them to come out without having to shoehorn an admittedly unnatural pearl of wisdom. It’s a great line, but it’s not an easy thing to toss into dialog without it having that “aha” moment. Uncle Ben never suffered a moment because of it, I loved Martin Sheen to death in his role as Uncle Ben, and while I was initially skeptical of Sally Field as Aunt May, I thought she did a wonderful job during the last half of the movie.
One thing I noticed about this movie is it really tried to present a sense of heightened realism throughout the movie. Even though a lot of fantastic stuff is going on, it’s still grounded by sense and reason. I thought it was great that every time Spider-Man takes a pounding, it still shows on Peter Parker, other than the leg wound at the end that seems to go away as soon as it stops being a plot point. I was initially taken aback by the fact that by the end of the movie, pretty much every single main character knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. But when I thought about it a little bit more, it’s actually a breath of fresh air to knock out one of those standard conventions of a superhero hiding his identity from everyone that knows and loves him. Aunt May is smart enough to figure out the connections between his constant injuries, late nights, and reactions about the Spider-Man character on television, and what high school kid could really resist telling his potential girlfriend something so awesome? The other couple instances happen with just as much logic to them as well. I also appreciated the fact that he never actually interacts with Uncle Ben’s killer, he spends a good while searching for him, but in the end it’s just some random thug in a giant city and it makes sense that he would never actually run across him again. And finally as with many of the other Spider-Man movies, there’s a moment where Spidey gets help from the city itself which I thought was almost as great a moment as the train scene in Spider-Man 2, and on top of that, it helped make more logistical sense of his usual web swinging.
Of course with any superhero origin story, there’s an equal and opposite supervillain story, and this movie is no exception. But the good thing is that it makes sense in this context that they would happen right around the same time, because it is the same research that creates both of them. Doctor Conners is a character that is mentioned in every Spider-Man movie and appears in the last three, though this is the first one where he actually becomes the Lizard. I’ll be honest, the look of the Lizard during certain parts of the movie were hit and miss, as well as the odd Chamber of Secrets-esque trail of lizards, but when the action sequences hit, I stopped caring. All of the fighting, the web swinging, and the acrobatics were, forgive me for saying it, amazing. My only complaint was that I wasn’t fond of the Mirror’s Edge style first person moments that felt like they were there for the 3D screenings. I also thought the scene in the warehouse where Parker was trying out his powers early on reminded me of the warehouse dancing scene in Flashdance, but that wasn’t a bad thing. I’m getting way too long winded here so I’ll wrap things up by only quickly mentioning how much I also loved Denis Leary as Gwen’s police commissioner father. And that wraps up my time with the spider, up next on my playlist is Unbreakable. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.