Monday, September 3, 2012

review: The Amazing Spider-man

Although I have seen all the old Spider-man movies starring Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, I was (somehow) not jaded enough to avoid seeing the new The Amazing Spider-man starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and (re-starring, as he also appeared in the previous franchise) Dennis Leary. And I must say, I enjoyed this re-boot.

It was billed as "the untold story" of Spider-man but how many untold stories are there? The origin story for Spider-man always center on Peter Parker's absent parent (dead? undercover? who knows!) so he has lived with his aunt (Mae) and uncle (Ben) since he was young. Now, according to the comic, teen Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider (thank you 1960's nuclear war paranoia) however in the movies it's a genetically engineered spider -- poTAYto, poTAto to me. In the 2002 Spider-man, the spider comes from Oscorp (same as the 2012 one) where Parker works in college but tours as a highschooler. In the new one, Parker sneaks into Oscorp (as a highschooler) to see what his father, an Oscorp employee who disappeared over 10 years ago, was working on. Now, although the base plots are very similar, the implications are worlds apart. In the 2012 movie - things are personal. Either way, Parker get bitten by spider which imparts him with awesome powers and super reflexes and stuff.

While Parker is running around enjoying his newly attained powers,  he still retains his  shy/geeky persona when he's not wearing his Spider-man mask and hormones, girls and responsibility are the bane of his existence. And it's the last item which leads to the death of Uncle Ben. Parker is shaken by his death and vows to use his powers to make things better - vigilante style. In this movie, quite a bit of the classic origin story is left out - namely Parker's stint as a professional wrestler... but that's kinda it. They both start in high school and are true to the comics in different ways. In this new one, that means Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). I had no idea who she was until I did a little research. Gwen is Parker's first college girlfriend. She was also a science major and more serious than Mary-Jane (the girls were good friends). Now, I don't want to give anything away, especially since there are going to be more movies - but something happens and Parker ends up with Mary-Jane.

I felt like this movie was much more lighthearted than the 2002 movie which took itself way to seriously. I also like how Spider-man was more glib and witty than Parker - being his alter-ego, it's important that Spider-man offers Parker the chance to do and say things that he can't as Peter Parker. I also thought the villain, The Lizard, was much more interesting than the Hob Goblin, despite being a much more minor character in the comic series. I have a feeling that The Lizard will be much more integral to this series seeming as he is Parker's link to his parents' disappearance and his father's work.

I give The Amazing Spider-man 4 out of 5 stars for an excellent cast, wit and excellent effects.

You can check out the trailer here!

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