Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

So the Spider-Man franchise has been given a reboot and now instead of Toby Maguire and what remains of his dignity (I'm sorry, but that dance in Spider-man 3 was just... it killed your career, Tobes) we have Andrew Garfield, who is possibly the most accurate Peter Parker/Spider-man to date.

He is perhaps a little *too* good looking , comments my know-every-comic-arc-inside-out Boyfriend (I think he's cute in a dorky way personally), but he has the mannerisms, the awkwardness and we both agree that once he dons that mask, he does the "fight talk" and Spidey quips brilliantly.
What can I say about the film? It's enjoyable. If you like Spider-Man, you'll enjoy the film. If you don't, then at least you'll get a laugh out of it... cause it's by no means perfect.

What's that? A Spider-Man film that isn't perfect? Yeah, ok, you got me. It's what we've heard before. But it's true. The plot is a bit thin, and there are scenes where clearly something's been cut and it's not quite gelled together. It starts off fairly nicely, but there's so much to fit in, I guess, with all the character development - which is done extremely well, in fact, best character development in a huge franchise film I've seen so far - that the focuses do change and have to be spread out a bit.

As far as Spidey's origins go, it's a bit of a mash up. He has many unanswered questions about his parents - a focus which isn't that heavy in most of the comic arcs - and they lead him to Dr. Curt Connors of Oscorpe.
There he is overly curious and gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider that was designed for its steel silk-like thread.

The way he develops and struggles with his powers initially is highly entertaining and far better done than when Toby Maguire just magically starts catching flying trays of food, running after buses, picking stuff up and climbing walls. It's genuinely a proper struggle - an extended metaphor for a young teen boy getting to grips with sudden puberty, I'd argue. He doesn't understand or know his own body and it's suddenly changing.

Another thing that they did better was Gwen Stacy/love interest. With Kirsten Dunst and Maguire there was very little chemistry. MJ and Peter felt forced and unnatural.  Maybe it's cause they're dating and are the cutest couple in Hollywood atm, but Emma Stone and Garfield really work well together as Gwen and Peter.  The way the attraction between them develop and is introduced is easy, natural and develops well. It's a proper high school romance.

The scene where Spidey asks out Gwen is adorable - and, so claims my Boyfriend, similar to how he did it. I just commented that somehow it's less awkward for Gwen. He shut up.
Obviously, the plot has to deal with Uncle Ben - it sticks to the arc wherein there is a fight before he dies. (Seriously, if you didn't know that he dies, then I'm sorry if that's a huge spoiler. :| )
But it's fairly well done. Then there's Spidey's journey towards what he feels is personal retribution, interrupted rudely by a gigantic lizard on Brooklyn Bridge. Obviously.

After that, it's the entire got to stop the giant lizard storyline.

Which would be fine, except for one or two things that are plot-holey or unnecessary. Such as his willingness to remove his mask all the god damn time. Seriously, he could be seen and he takes the mask off when he needn't - and then has to put it back on again in a split second.

There is plenty of set up for sequels, though - rumours of a venom film to be done in 2014 (after all, Flash Thompson is in this one) and it is quite clear that they are not quite finished with Dr Connor in the final scene.
There is also further allusion to the demise of Pete's parents, which as I said, they're putting more focus onto.

So the plot is a bit thin - anything else to moan about quickly?
Yes, I'm afraid. 

There's that awkward moment when the 3D Spider-Man is half see-through... though that wasn't the worst of it. The CGI is pretty poor. The mouse lizard thing reminded me of a scene in The Witches, and fluids aren't very fluid looking.
And whomever designed The Lizard didn't do a fantastic job. Maybe he'll evolve with the sequel. I hope so. I missed his snout.

And, as you'll discover particularly with the scene in the above photo - James Horner (composer for Titanic and Avatar) did not do a great job. Not his best work. Some of it wasn't appropriate, some was cliché (everyone needs that inspirational theme of goodwill and neighbourliness) and some was just odd! Kind of a flirt with dodgy classical scene setting piano, but not in a brilliant way.

It was very well cast.  People may be annoyed that Sally Field plays Aunt May - after all she looks nothing like her. For starters, her hair is dark! But she is a great actress, that woman, so who's to say otherwise!? (And my, has she aged a lot :( )

Rhys Ifans was brilliant as Dr. Connors, and I didn't initially quite put my finger on who it was. He's aged and filled out a bit, but his little Welsh lilt was juuuuuuust detectable sometimes. But it was nice. Connors was supposed to be either English or German... certainly European. But he does irrational and calm brilliantly. Even if Connor's scheme feels sudden and a bit out of character - though he appears to suffer at least from schizophrenia or psychosis by the end of the film, so we can forgive him.

And he did what he could with that Lizard costume.

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are very well cast in their roles, with all the support actors perfectly placed. Flash, played by Chris Zylka, was lacking his big blond hair. BUT the film was somewhat more modern with Spidey's origins, so it's understandable that he doesn't have the dodgy late 80s Jock look.
Even the nerds look less 50s typical.

Ooo, almost forgot: THE CAMEO

It's the best Stan Lee cameo yet. Actually hilarious. Perfect. Seamless. Thought it was never coming, but it was huge.

But otherwise, yes, the film is quite good. 6/10. It was fun and there are plenty of laughs. It's light-hearted, at least.
It'll be fun to see where this reboot takes us - I think that it should give us good things, once they've sharpened it up a bit.

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