I’ve given my full review of this summer’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” and if you recall that review, then you know my personal rating. I fully believe that for me it lived up to its name and is, by almost every stretch of the word, amazing. It is not a cinematic masterpiece at all but, then again, that’s relative since there is no such thing (What, with clashing opinions and all). So, without further ado, the full review of The Amazing Spider-Man review.
To start off, a lot of this review is going to simply expand on things I said within the Silver Screen Cinema episode.
If you read the comics (specifically the much older ones) and pay as close attention to them as I do, then you know whether or not these characters were written in well. Were they? For the most part, yes.
Peter Parker/Spider-Man did come across as the super smart, geeky, shy, and all around nobody that he is supposed to. His character isn’t too heavy or anything for what is admittedly a much darker movie (at least in comparison to the original Raimi film). After he becomes Spider-Man he has what the Raimi movies lacked. While as a movie, itself, the original film had a lot of cute, quirky, and memorable moments, I felt that it lacked the real essence of Spider-Man and felt like Tobey acting. He didn’t strike me as the infamous Web Head. Here? Spider-Man has that classic Spidey wit that everyone who loves the character loves about him. Not only that, they actually use the Super Genius angle in this movie a lot more than the old one and the movie feels like it’s much more about the boy behind the mask than the mask itself. The original movie had its moments but overall I felt like the mask dominated the movie.
Gwen Stacy is a character who, as I said, I was surprised by. The reason is because I’ve read that they apparently took more inspirations for this movie from the Marvel Ultimate Universe. I can’t tell you how much a loathe the Ultimate Universe. One of the aspects of it I loathe is its ability to take any of my favorite characters and just WARP them. Gwen Stacy was no exception. HOWEVER, I was delighted to see that they used her Marvel 616 version more so than the Ultimate one. She’s was geeky, she was clever, and she was sweet. Would you like to know something else? As much as I like Spider-Man 2, tolerate Spider-Man 1 and…ignore Spider-Man 3, I have to acknowledge that my least favorite part of all three movies is Mary Jane. Why? Because…she was utterly useless. I like Mary Jane’s comic interpretations. Why? Because she’s TOUGH. Mary Jane in the Raimi movies kept getting kidnapped and didn’t bother TRYING to fight back. Gwen never particularly had as much of a spine in the comics as MJ though I admittedly like Gwen more because she’s a geek. However, you’d better believe she doesn’t let that stop her. She’s not charging head-first into battle throughout this movie but she TRIES. She was a very lovable character just as much on screen as she was on the pages of the classic comics.
Captain Stacy is a character who I want to talk about as little as possible because he serves all of one purpose in this movie. But that purpose is hugely important and also gives way to HEAVY spoilers. So I’ll just skim over this one. Captain Stacy is excellently played by Denis Leary as the tough, overprotective, but also caring father. He’s also wise enough to straighten Pete up when he steps out of line and actually acts as something of a Father Figure for Peter at times.
Doctor Connors/The Lizard is where the characters are most lacking. That isn’t too say he’s poorly done. He isn’t. But he doesn’t have an immense amount of depth. I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by saying something ISN’T in the movie so I’ll say that the most pivotal aspect of the character, Dr. Connors’s family, is left out of the movie aside from a throwaway line. That one little aspect would have given him so much more depth. In the comics, his Obsession with this drug that transforms him is rivaled only by his love of his wife and son. No wife and son here so the ultimate result of things turns out to be a rather sloppily thrown together execution in this departments.
The acting was fine if not great all around the board, honestly. No one really missed a beat here. Maybe a little cliche when it comes to The Lizard but that aside it was handled well.
The highlights of Character Chemistry in this movies go, not only to Peter/Gwen and Peter/Captain Stacy, but also to Peter/Uncle Ben. If you go back and watch the original film, you’ll notice that the uncle been in that movie has all of about 10 minutes of screen time before he’s kill (Off screen, mind you). Here? He’s still around for about 40 minutes of the movie and you actually SEE it happen. As Peter and his Uncle interact, you feel the relationship much more. I’m not even sure Peter shared more than three lines with Uncle Ben in the original film. Because you spend more time getting to know Uncle Ben and getting to understand how close Uncle Ben is to Peter, you actually FEEL for Peter when his uncle gets shot and you feel the gravity of the situation a lot more heavily. It allows you to better understand the guilt complex that is such a HUGE part of the Spider-Man character.
Effects & Action
The action scenes of this movie, are almost all perfectly handled. The effects don’t make the fights look like CGI versus CGI until maybe the last stretch of the movie. Some people complained that the fight scenes weren’t as huge and epic as they should have been but that’s the problem. Spider-Man isn’t a huge and epic character on his own. At the end f the day, Spider-Man is just a street level superhero who occasionally has super villains after him and even then, his Super Villains aren’t villains like Dr. Doom. They’re just massively dangerous criminals like Shocker or Rhino. The contained nature of the fights fit with a Spider-Man movie. Even in the flawless fight scene atop the elevated Train in Spider-Man 2, the fight itself was very contained. They weren’t juggling one another around the entire city and destroying virtually everything in sight. None of these fight scenes are really as impressive as that one but they’re pretty good to me at least.
I’ll admit that the movie isn’t perfect and the writing COULD have used work in a few areas. To name a few general spaces where the writing was a bit “meh” The Lizard’s general write-up was just okay at best and there were a few things dropped from the movie. I know they’ll tackle some of these things in the sequel but some things really should have just been in this one.
In the same vein is the Story. The story was great excluding the Lizard bits which were just okay and I feel that this is because, again, they didn’t make him a complex enough villain.
Here is where we finally begin to enter possible Spoiler Territory. You can skip this section if you don’t want to know ANYTHING.
Overall, this movie did WONDERS as an Adaptation in comparison to the original film. The characters were almost PERFECTLY in tact with their comic counterparts. My only real complaints in that department are Gwen and Lizard. While I did enjoy them both overall, there was one aspect of both that I had slight problems with. For one thing, Gwen actually knows that Peter is Spider-Man. Now this might be something more in line with the Ultimate Universe but in the main 616 continuity, Gwen NEVER learned it. It’s not just like a Mary Jane deal where she did learn it, she just didn’t learn it at the right time in the movie, Gwen isn’t supposed to learn his secret at all. Gwen is supposed to pretty exclusively be Peter’s girlfriend, not Spider-Man’s (If that makes sense). The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon is a good example. Gwen was Peter’s friend for a good while and even still, she never found out. Too bad that show was cancelled, by the way.
As for Lizard, this one is less of an adaptation problem and more of a personal thing. Lizard was, in essence, adapted perfectly well. I just didn’t care as much for the VERSION of him that they chose to adapt. I prefer the Lizard as a villain when he’s purely feral. The combination of the Feral Lizard and him having his family in this movie would have made the Lizard a much more complex character. Even if he couldn’t exactly think on a rational level.
The movie was cut HEAVILY. I mean by around 40+ minutes. I feel like those cut bits contained some really good, interesting stuff. But I know that the reason some of it was cut was because it revealed too much about Peter’s parents and they wanted to save some for the next movie. No real problem with that. My problem with it is that it makes the movie seem shorter. I didn’t feel like I was watching a full movie. It felt like only an hour or so had passed as if I was watching a TV movie or something of that nature. I think that the movie could actually stand to be just a little bit longer but, hey, that’s just me.
Anyway, thanks for your time, people and I’ll be sure to bring you a new vid this Wednesday. Unfortunately I’m sick so I may not be able to record right now. No worries, though. I have something special planned for you. This may mean more to you, though, if you closely follow TGWTG. So that’d be my own two cents on The Amazing Spider-Man.