Where’s the Amazing in “The Amazing Spider-man”?

So, I’ve seen this movie in a pre-premiere in Austria on Wednesday, and as far as I know, the movie has not yet premiered in the US.

My opinion: The movie is sort of good-ish, but it didn’t convince me. It really has me torn apart, for it’s “weder Fisch noch Fleisch” (For those of you who do not speak German: It’s “neither fish nor flesh”, meaning it’s not the one thing, and not the othere thing). Meaning the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be.

The film is a reboot of the Sam Raimi-Spider-man – trilogy, and is based upon the very popular superhero-comic-franchise by Marvel comics. I’ll summarize the plot in case some of you really do not know anything about Spider-man.

Story:

15-year-old Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is living with his uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and aunt May (Sally Field), after his parents have mysteriously disappeared when he was younger (Or they died in a car accident, that fact is told too quickly). Bullied in school and only recently noticed by his love interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Peter one day finds out about his father’s workplace and visits his father’s colleague Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans). There, he also gets bitten by a gen-manipulated (or something like that) spider, and develops spiderlike super powers over night/ a few hours.

After using his powers for his personal favour at first, Peter soon gets to know the responisbility that come along with it when he is somewhat indirectly responsible for a loving relative’s death (and no, it has nothing to do with a wrestling fight). Feeling that he has to use his powers to do good, he masks himself as a vigilante and steals some mechanic webshoot devices from Oscorp Industires. Of course, it’s not well seen that a vigilant does the police’s work, so it’s only a matter of time before Gwen’s dad, Captain Stacy (Dennis Leary) has an arrest warrent for him. But when Conners does an experiment on himself and turns into the terrible mutant Lizard, things get heavy…

Review:

… and the main story becomes more than dull. But first the good stuff: Even though I’m not that fond of the reboot of the franchise, I wanted to give the movie a chance. The movie takes its time to introduce Peter and his family and friends, and slowly  he develops and finds out about his powers. That’s the main focus and they really did care a lot about that. But when it comes to the costume and the web shooters, there’s only a little glimpse on how he created it, what’s a pity.  I would compare this movie to Batman Begins, as it actually is to the Spider-man-franchise what Begins was to Batman. But in Begins there was a lot of time and effort put into the introduction of the costume and the gadgets. And here it’s only a few short scenes.

The acting is superb and Garfield shows that he is a great Peter Parker. Emma Stone is incredible as Gwen Stacy and both Peter and Gwen have great chemistry (hey, the two actors who played them are dating since this movie, so it better should be real, shouldn’t it?) Stacy is also much better than MJ, due to the fact that she is never in the movie a screaming damsel in distress, but very much capable of defending herself. Her encounter with a certain scaly person is hilarious.

Leary and Ifans are both “veteran” actors and are really good in their roles, I especially like Ifans’ Connors, who is a very likeable character. Field is a little bit underused as aunt May, but in the next movie she’ll probably have a bigger part. But the best acting of all comes from Martin Sheen, he brings the best uncle Ben performance you could imagine in my opinion. every single scene with him is superb and done with passion. There’s an emotional scene in which he compares Peter to his dad, and he tells Peter what man he is supposed to become. And even though he doesn’t say the most famous line in the Spider-Man universe (Pssst, listen, can you hear the fanboys and -girls crying?), the meaning is there, and it’s touching.

There are a lot of subplots involved, and every one of them well worked out. I like the scenes between Gwen and Peter (due to the forementioned chemistry), the Flash- subplot is also very nice, and the revenge-storyline is a great idea. There is a dinner scene which is the very best scene in the entire movie (apart from the uncle Ben-scenes) where this plot is brought into conflict with what Spider-Man is actually doing. While my friend flipthetruck has the opinion that this subplot is only brought up in that scene and then never again, I have to disagree: In that scene, Peter gets illuminated about what he is actually doing, and it changes him. He does not want to go on with revenge, but finally do what is right.

Now we come to the negative stuff: The main problem is in fact Lizard and his main plot. The first hour or so of the movie is great and you really like it, but as soon as Lizard turns up, the whole movie becomes a generic action flic, with boring action. spidey fights 4 times against Lizard, and only the third one I would evaluate as good. As much as Dr. Connors is a threedimensional character, as much the Lizard is not. His big scheme, which becomes the main plot, is so stupididly 08/15 (meaning: generic) that almost every moviecliche gets fulfilled. We also have the big double personality monologue, which does not fit into the movie at all, and which we also know too well from other movies…like Spider-Man.

I’m sure that’s a deleted scene

Which brings me to my next negative point: For a movie that is announced to be a REBOOT (a franchise’s/ movie’s story gets told again from the beginning), it rather looks like a REMAKE (a movie’s plot gets retold) of the Spider-Man movies by Sam Raimi, the director the studio more or less fired after disagreements. If you watch the new movie closely, you can see all the plot elements Raimi has already used in his movies. “But this is necessary to tell the story of Spider-Man!” you or some fanboys would say. No, it’s not, I reply.

The Amazing Spider-Man may have some more realistic action and swing scenes, but there is definitely nothing really amazing about it. The action feels kinda boring.

As I said, the movie is not bad, there is a lot of good stuff, stuff that is excellently made in comparison to Raimi. But it also has got a lot of flaw and doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, so it’s rather “unround”.

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One Response to Where’s the Amazing in “The Amazing Spider-man”?

  1. Pingback: The most fairest of them all: “Snow White and the Huntsman” | befilmbebook

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