Last night I ventured out to see The Amazing Spider-Man and altho I was looking forward to finally seeing the film, after many months of talking about the film, I must confess that I was not all that excited. I was genuinely excited to see The Avengers. I am very excited to see The Dark Knight Rises. I was only kinda interested in seeing Spider-Man. For months now, I’ve felt that this new reboot is far too close to the original series of Spider-Man films that have already been released and, I suppose, I didn’t think this new Spider-Man film is all that necessary. BUT, necessary or not, The Amazing Spider-Man is not only a good film, it’s one of the best superhero films I think I’ve ever seen.
The Amazing Spider-Man features a lot of footage of Peter Parker, a fact that I found worrisome when I read the first reviews of the film. Having seen the movie myself, I now realize that all that Peter Parker means that we get a lot more of actor Andrew Garfield. Garfield is able to bring the charming and boyishly cute Peter Parker to life on the big screen in a way that hasn’t been done before. That’s not to say that Tobey Maguire (the last Spider-Man actor) did a bad job as Peter Parker, he just gave us a different version of the character. I was also very concerned about having Emma Stone in the film as Gwen Stacy. Yes, Gwen may be Peter Parker’s first love but we all know that Mary Jane Watson is his true, lasting love. I guess I feared that Stone’s Gwen Stacy would be just a place holding character to endure until we eventually see Mary Jane Watson come into Peter Parker’s life … and how wrong was I. Emma Stone is an insanely charming actress and her chemistry with Andrew Garfield made me completely forget that Mary Jane Watson even exists (well, actually, in this film … Mary Jane doesn’t exist). For me, the chemistry between Emma and Andrew as Gwen and Peter really made the movie for me. The real life couple exude a sweet and very charming teenage romance on the screen that is entirely believable. There is a lot of heart in The Amazing Spider-Man, something that most superhero action films lack. Honestly, I’m really tired of origin story plotlines but, invariably, any reboot film has to retell a hero’s origin story … but this time, at least, Peter Parker’s origin story as Spider-Man felt really believable. Except for his EXPERT tailoring skills, everything about the way Peter becomes Spider-Man (including learning how to use his super powers) felt believable and real. There are many scenes where Spider-Man, in his flawless costume, is swinging around town with his Jansport backpack on … which struck me as something a teenage superhero would do. There are a lot of little nuances of believability in the film and they go a long way in making the unbelievable things more palpable. There aren’t a lot of action scenes (only two and a half big ones, if I recall correctly) but they are somewhat lengthy and they do LOOK really great on the big screen. Director Marc Webb managed to have Spider-Man pose in a lot of comic book poses which, I think, will make longtime comic book fans happy. At times, The Amazing Spider-Man feels like a comic book come to life.
The only thing I didn’t really love was The Lizard as the villain. As much as I love Spider-Man, he has some of the lamest villains in all of comic bookdom. I never liked The Lizard and I really didn’t like him in this film either (and in all honesty, I never really loved Green Goblin or most of Spidey’s villains … only Venom and Carnage are apt villains, IMHO). He was a suitable adversary, I guess, but I wasn’t wowed by the character … or his look. Where was The Lizard’s deadly, protruding tongue? And his face? No, I wasn’t impressed. But honestly, I loved the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy/Spider-Man parts so much that I’m willing to overlook how unexciting The Lizard was for me.
In the end, I was surprised by how charmed I was by this movie. I liked it a lot more than I expected to. I may have to watch the film a few more times to be absolutely sure but based on what I saw last night, I’m willing to say that The Amazing Spider-Man is really one of the greatest superhero films in recent history.0