The Amazing Spider-Man or Does Whatever A Spider Can
There are those times when I am determined to hate a movie before I actually see it. Most of the time it is warranted cause the movie looks pretty inane, uninteresting or just all around bad. Even if I do eventually see it after its run in theaters, rarely am I proven wrong about those movies as they are exactly what I imagine them to be. This doesn’t only apply to movies, it happens with Television shows, comic and books alike. Sometimes it is the insistence of other people telling me how great something is that leads to my not liking it even more. Insistence breeds contempt in me, it is like someone telling me I “Have” to like something and by saying that I feel as if they are trying to take away my right to decide for myself whether it is good or not1. This brings us to the reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise.
I really was predisposed to not liking this movie before I saw it. I had a genuine problem with re-booting the entire mythology after only 10 years and 3 movies2. For some reason this whole idea just made me angry and honestly, there are much more worthwhile things to be angry about. Then more details started trickling out about the reboot. The movie was going to re-tell Spider-Man’s origin, they hired someone that couldn’t be further from being Peter Parker to play Peter Parker and they hired Marc Webb to direct. The last item there shouldn’t have bothered me so much since Marc Webb directed (500) Days of Summer a movie that I absolutely loved. Yet my nerd-rage was clouding my need to be objective about the reboot. Then all the rumors about the story started to get tossed about like Peter Parker was going to be a mutant whose powers are activated by the spider biting him, the character of Dr. Curt Connors had been changed from his comic origin to being a total screwball mad scientist trying to conquer the world and even the utterly ludicrous “Spider-Man is going to be in The Avengers so they can set-up this movie”3. Then the first pictures of the new Spider-Man costume came out and I was horrified. “They can’t be serious” I thought, “This has to be a joke”. It was no joke. The Spider-Sneakers, the alteration to the line of the costume, all of it was true. After seeign that costume my aforementioned nerd-rage was going into full overload.
I saw the first trailer for the movie when I went to go see The Avengers and that did nothing to calm my fears. The trailer looked terrible. “Peter Parker is not a dark brooding skater” I cried. “The Lizard looks terrible” I bemoaned. “They made Hawkeye out to be a chump”… oh wait that was one of my major complaints about The Avengers4. The trailer was a bust. Things were not shaping-up well for The Amazing Spider-Man5. Finally the day came I went to go see The Amazing Spider-Man. I went to see it with my significant other because she really wanted to see it. I cannot say no to this girl. I mean what else were we going to see? She already saw me cry when we went to see Brave.
I saw The Amazing Spider-Man.
Shockingly, I liked The Amazing Spider-Man. To be more precise, like doesn’t really cover my feelings about The Amazing Spider-Man. I LOVED The Amazing Spider-Man. Marc Webb made a completely entertaining movie where I had little to complain about. The alteration to the costume? Spidey is moving around so much that it is barely noticeable and when he is moving around he looks like what you expect Spider-Man to look like moving around. Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker with just the right amount of “nerd” factor, an element which never really came across in Tobey Maguire’s version of Peter. Rhys Ifans plays a very sympathetic man in Dr. Curt Connors, a man who really does want to help humanity with his ideas and research but gets put in one of those positions that any major research scientist gets put into when he gets in bed with a major conglomerate6. Then there is good old Dennis Leary, who for once decides not to play a movie character as himself. Leary is pretty damn great as Captain George Stacy, playing him as a policeman that really does believe in the law and sees Spider- as someone who is, in a way, mocking what he does for a living. I could write tomes on how great Emma Stone is as Gwen Stacy, I mean Gwen was always Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s exemplification of the perfect girl next door7 and Stone hits every aspect of that in her portrayal. All of these actors pretty much hit the nail on the head in making you relate to them. Hell all that and you get Martin Sheen and Sally field being the best damn surrogate mother and father a guy could want!
Then my friends, there is the story. This is the best “Comic Book Story” made into a movie. I mean I love The Dark Knight to death but it isn’t exactly one of those Batman stories you might pick-up written by Denny O’Neil and drawn by Neal Adams or Jim Aparo. It doesn’t have that sense of wonder and adventure. The Avengers not only doesn’t feel like a good comic book story, the movie itself spent way too much time trying to be a blockbuster it kind of forgot to have any sort of real story at all. The Amazing Spider-Man not only feels like a good Comic Book Story, it feels like a great Spider-Man story written by Stan Lee. That more than anything is what I want from a Spider-Man movie. Sam Raimi was able to do this in the first 2 movies with Spidey he made and Marc Webb does it here. You’ve got Spider-Man 8 locked in mortal combat with a crazd villain while fate of everyone living in New York City hangs in the balance. Peter Parker is doing this while dealing with the death of his uncle, trying to get along with his girlfriend’s father and trying not to make his Aunt worry about him all at the same time. That right there is EVERY Spider-Man story Stan Lee wrote for the first 60 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man9 comic book. What the fuck more could you possibly want from a movie called The Amazing Spider-Man?
This was a fun movie, you should see it. It is fun, full of action and proof that a good comic book story can be told on the screen. It made me remember that I need to stop judging things before I actually see them.10 It made me remember that I love Spider-Man on the same level that I love Superman, Batman and Uncle Scrooge. The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the reasons I love both movies and comic books and always will. Pu the Raimi movies out of your head when you see it. To compare those movies with this one is not fair at all because if you sit there and complain about how Raimi did it better you really will be missing one of the best interpretations of Spider-Man ever and one of the best movies of the Summer. Take a kid11 with you and make him fall in love with Spider-Man the way only a little boy can fall in love with a comic book character.
3 I started hearing that last rumor way back in 2011 from several people and I had to explain to them that unless Paramount and Sony were giving each other some serious handjobs then there was no way that was going to happen.