Published on July 5th, 2012 | by David PInson0
The Amazing Spiderman is a little too familiar
This is a statement made late in “The Amazing Spiderman” and there is truth to it. There is always “the arch” and our main character comes to some realization that defines them by the end. Dorothy grows up, Charles Foster Kane wants his childhood back and Michael becomes the Godfather.
Nothing epitomizes the “Who am I” story like a Superhero Origin Film and Marvel Studios is addicted to them. So maybe the correct statement is every Marvel Superhero movie, at its fundamental core, is about the same thing: Who am I?
The “X-Men” franchise ran out off steam so they tried a Wolverine origin film (which didn’t click) only to settle with going back to the beginning with “X-Men: First Class”. All four films leading up to “The Avengers” focused on the beginnings of each character to culminate into the origin film of the entire group. That’s five origin films just to get to “The Avengers Part 2”.
Now with “The Amazing Spiderman” we get the origin story again. They should just call it “Spiderman: The Do-Over”. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), sad orphan, gets bit by a radioactive spider and awakes to awesome powers. After the death of his surrogate father, the huggable, lovable Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), Parker decides to use his superpowers to fight crime. But he must learn to use his abilities responsibly, of course, and he must also whittle together a super-cool suit. There is a girl but her name is Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) not Mary Jane and there is a mad scientist, baddie but he’s the Lizard (Rhys Ifans) not the Goblin. Other than that, there is a lot of déjà vu going on.
This is because its only been 10 years since the Sam Raimi gave us the first “Spiderman” in 2002 so to go over the same materiel feels weird. It’s a shame too because this new take gets so many other things right. Director Marc Webb (funny,huh?) improves on character and motivations, giving us the best Peter Parker to date. Garfield plays the cocky kid as incredibly wounded from his parent’s abandonment. He rarely makes eye contact and struggles to communicate. The moments between him and Gwen are fantastic, lived-in glimpses of awkward first love. Webb brought us “500 Days of Summer” and that touch for authentic, clumsy dialogue puts you right into Peter’s world.
This is also the first time we get to see a computer generated Spidey that is mind-blowingly realistic. These effects are a marked improvement from the cartoony look of the original trilogy. The ticket purchase is validated for the IMAX 3D experience for these sequences alone. The Lizard, on the other hand, never looks tangible and always appears as though he was cobbled on a laptop. It is hard to fully swallow the fight scenes between our hero and the phony beast. The two effects side-by-side are baffling as they are polar opposites in execution.
“The Amazing Spiderman” has some fantastic elements that are wasted on a poor idea. Why not figure out something new for the web slinger to do than to just start over and hope we don’t notice? The whole thing just screams of being driven by dollars alone. Now that we got the set up out of the way again, maybe Webb can deliver a film that is fully his own. That is as long as they don’t decide to bring back the Goblin to be the foe in the sequel….