Tuesday, July 03, 2012

SPIDER-MAN Restarts


THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (Dir. Mark Webb, 2012)


Sure, it may seem too soon to re-boot the Spider-man franchise, but it’s a big profitable series for Sony so, of course, they’re going to keep it going.

That’s fine, but despite a likable new cast, headed by Andrew Garfield taking over from Tobey Maguire as the webbed crusader, and an intriguing variation on the origin story, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN seems more like a re-tooled remake than a brand new beginning.

Director Webb (fitting, huh?), recreates the aesthetics, tone, and formula of Sam Raimi's Spider-man trilogy so precisely that the movie can’t help but seem redundant. Especially when it hits the same story beats as the 2002 original. In this film’s origin story, Garfield’s Peter Parker, who is less of a dweeb than Macguire mostly due to his hip bedhead hair-do, gets bitten by a genetically-modified spider at an Oscorp Industries lab while trying to get to the bottom of mysterious death of his parents.

Oscorp, as folks well versed in Spider-man mythology should well know, is the ginormous weapons manufacturer, whose cross-species experiments really need to be better regulated.

Garfield’s love-interest (Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey), and adversary (Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors, later The Lizard), both work at the Oscorp Tower, which was almost added to the skyline in THE AVENGERS, where the film’s finale, arguably its most impressive CGI sequence, takes place.

We get to go through Uncle Ben attempting to be a father figure to our hero again, but since he’s played this time byMartin Sheen - I’m not complaining. Sally Field is also a successful, yet underused recasting, but Dennis Leary is the best change-up present as NYC Police Captain George Stacy (played in Spidey 3 by James Cromwell), Gwen’s father.

Leary has the best lines (such as“Thirty-eight of New York's finest, versus one guy in a unitard”), and his gruff cynical attitude fills in for the missing Daily Bugle Chief J. Jonah Jameson appropriately.

Garfield, Stone, and Ifans put in fine thoughtful performances, but there isn't much room for them to truly embody their characters. Though, in a movie like this, could there ever be?

As I said before, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN covers many of the same plot points as the 2002 take but it doesn’t have as much fun with the material. Raimi’s version had a zip to it, and a strong sense of humor, that this film can’t match. Through an equally excellent sequel and a less liked, but still okay, third film, Raimi and Macguire rebranded the super hero for the modern age.

Here the web that Webb weaves (sorry, couldn’t resist), along with screenwriters James Vanderbilt (ZODIAC), Alvin Sargett (co-writter of SPIDER-MAN 2 & 3, and Steve Kloves (screenwriter of the bulk of the HARRY POTTER film series), is taken from the strands of the previous trilogy’s DNA.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a reasonably well made comic book action film that has its moments - including possibly the best Stan Lee cameo in a Marvel movie ever - yet it still reeks of ‘been there, done that.’

There's just not enough of a new angle or fresh invention to make this essential viewing.

But if you haven’t seen any Spider-man movies before, maybe you’ll dig it. Or maybe if you just want another noisy summer super hero movie to take the kids to. If you haven’t already taken them to see THE AVENGERS, eh - this should do.

More later...

9 comments:

Harshit said...

a very well written review...i too felt Sony wanted to make some easy money thats why a reboot just 5 yrs later..i liked the acting and felt the script was a little weak...check my review at http://harshitsingh1992.blogspot.in/

$athish said...

tried spider man sketches in pencil for The Amazing Spider-Man season..... check out and give your critics....
http://pencilandme.blogspot.com/2012/07/spiderman-series-pencil-sketches.html

Author said...
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Author said...

nicely written. I was searching for a fellow movie review blogger and I found u. keep it up

Author said...

nicely written. I was searching for a fellow movie review blogger and I found u.

maurice gandillon said...

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Author said...

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Dan O. said...

No reason to exist whatsoever, but it’s still a fun, superhero flick that’s being released at a perfect time. However, I kept on being reminded of the original series every single time the film would touch on a plot-point. Too distracting for me at times, but I still had fun none the less. Solid review Daniel.

ABTC said...

well post :) i like it