If it's crap ... We'll tell you
As the hype for the newest installment of Spider-Man built up, my skepticism grew along with it. As a fan of the Spider-Man comics and a cinema junkie, I was excited to hear that we were going to be given a new take on the franchise. But I was also deeply concerned that 'The Amazing Spider-Man', directed by Marc Webb, wouldn't be able to undo the damage done by the Tobey Maguire series, Tobey Maguire being to Spider-Man what Rupert Murdoch was to Firefly, he just utterly killed it.
But my loyalty to Spider-Man as well as a will to analyze this movie completely took over, so I proceeded to drag myself out of my dark lair riddled with Mountain Dew cans and bad pornography, and I went to see 'The Amazing Spider-Man'. The result was an emotionally-heavy (maybe perhaps a little heavier than it should have been), well-paced, well-developed, web-slinging action-adventure. Providing how bad and self-indulgent this movie could've been, it played it safe, and gave the new franchise room to actually breathe. It started off small-scale for the most part to continue to build up to something greater for future films.
'The Amazing Spider-Man' is carried mostly on the shoulders of its actors. Andrew Garfield pulled off the balance between the socially awkward, geeky Peter Parker, and the confident smart-ass Spider-Man admirably well. Although I feel he went a little heavy with the angry teenager aspect of the character, I really do feel he did the character justice. Emma Stone was just as admirable in her role of Gwen Stacey, playing off the sarcastic, dry-witted science intern with an exceptional charm. And then we have Rhys Ifans, possibly my favorite performance in this movie came from his portrayal as the noble but tragic scientist plagued by a messiah complex, Dr. Curtis Connors/The Lizard, the main villain of the film. Each and every actor of this movie does their part to carry the weight of the movie, and each of them offer their own interesting interpretations of their characters. In other words: casting director, you d'un good.
The tone was also completely appropriate for Spider-Man. It kept it light-hearted and fun where it needed to be, but it also took itself seriously for the scenes that called for it. It also didn't make the mistake of jumping back and forth seamlessly between light and dark, which would've resulted in the movie feeling indecisive about its tone. Instead, the shifts were slow but subtle, it never felt out of place at anytime. While the undertones of this movie were darker, it kept a very light exterior (especially during the beginning of the movie). The score also did its part to help define the tone. It had a very epic, almost Wagner-esque sound during the sequences when Spider-Man was swinging around the city, while scenes such as the death of Uncle Ben were accompanied by very somber requiems.
And none of this would have been possible without brilliant script-writing. Honestly, this movie had some of the most sound writing I've ever come across in a comic-book based film. Although the writing did start to get a little sloppy when they were trying to rush to get Peter Parker into the suit, once they got him in, it put itself back on track and it was smooth sailings from then on. We got to hear the snappy smart-ass dialogue from Spider-Man when confronting a car-thief and later on The Lizard, some great "awkward parental-figure" lines from Uncle Ben as portrayed by Martin Sheen. And Gwen Stacey got some of the best lines of the movie with her sarcastic humor as well as Emma Stone's brilliant delivery. The script, while choppy when trying to rush to certain parts of the movie, flowed together very well as a general whole.
In conclusion, 'The Amazing Spider-Man' was a fun and compelling much-needed reboot to the Spider-Man franchise. It was well worth leaving my Mountain Dew and Doritos littered lair that has begun to attract rodents to go waste 2 hours and 17 minutes of my life. It was cast fantastically, accompanied by above-par script writing, and it had its own well-defined tone. It could've very easily taken the easy way out by following The Avengers' light-hearted, comic tone, or The Dark Knight's depressing noir feel, but it elected not to. It is a film I will most likely see again, and one I recommend for Spider-Man fans, cinema lovers, and general low-lives alike!
Let's Break it Down
What Worked: Brilliant casting and characterization. A well-defined tone enhanced by the visuals and the score. Smart, witty fun from the script. Some heart-felt nods to the comic-book community.
What Didn't Work: Felt rushed when they were trying to get Spider-Man into the suit, and once again when they were trying to get our first action sequence with The Lizard. It went almost a little TOO dark a few times. Stan Lee's most obnoxious cameo yet.
Will I See it Again: Yes
Rating out of 5: 3.5/5
Spill.Com Rating: Full Price!