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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (JimmyO's take)

Jul. 2, 2012by: JimmyO


(Read Chris Bumbray's review here)

PLOT: When Peter Parker finds a briefcase that belonged to his father who had left him with his aunt and uncle years before, he attempts to find out what drove his parents off. During a fateful visit to his fathers ex-business partner, he is bitten by a spider in a research laboratory. Soon he discovers he has developed spider-like powers that he cant understand. Thankfully his new found strength comes in handy for fighting criminals and a powerful lizard-like baddie looking to cure all mans weaknesses. Apparently there is such great responsibility in wearing a red, black and blue leotard that we must be reminded of it with another blockbuster.

REVIEW: The idea of rebooting a franchise that is only ten years old seems incredibly lazy and pointless. Not only was it a successful series of films when it came to box office numbers, it also garnered critical acclaim. And then there was SPIDER-MAN 3 and all bets were off. The studio was ready to throw everything out and start anew in hopes that more money could be made after that disappointing sequel. Now we have a brand new look for what is essentially the same origin story that Sam Raimi brought us in 2002, this time directed by Marc Webb of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER fame. The surprise is that not only is it better than expected, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is actually quite amazing for the most part.

The latest incarnation of the webslinger introduces us to a different kind of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield). After his parents leave him with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) as a young child, he has grown with more than a few abandonment issues. This time around Parker has a darker sense of humor and a little more edge. Garfield is perfect as a hero, he offers equal parts humor and heartbreak and thankfully we get to see a multifaceted superhero who is dealing with all his demons. I liked this take, as he feels more fleshed out and sympathetic. And Garfield is absolutely the perfect choice as both Parker and Spider-Man.

While the first half of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN covers much of the same ground that Raimis original feature did, it is absolutely altered and offers a little more detail. When Peter Parker uncovers an old briefcase that his father had left behind, he immediately begins to seek out any answer he can as to what happened all those years back. Inside he finds documents connecting to work that his dad and former partner Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) had done involving splicing different species DNA. Hoping to learn more about his findings he makes his way to Oscorp to locate Connors. While pretending to be an intern for the company he does some investigating only to find himself bitten by a spider. This of course leads to his transformation including a very clever and exciting sequence on the subway where some hooligans learn the hard way that you cant judge somebody by size alone.

Another major shift here is the focus on his relationship with Gwen Stacy, a beautifully blonde Emma Stone. This romance proves to be a major part of Parkers revamped origin as she is much more involved than the previous films leading lady. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is phenomenal. As her character grows more and more attached to the troubled young man, it becomes a more fulfilling romance as opposed to just a sappy side-story. Besides putting Stacy in danger, you also have her father, a police captain played by Denis Leary adding a little tension thanks to his desperation to arrest the masked crusader. Leary is very good here in a surprisingly well rounded role for the actor.

The characters are the key here, not only with Parker and Stacy, but with Connors as well. Rhys Ifans can be added to the list of fascinating Marvel cinematic villains. As a doctor hoping to find a way to regenerate his own missing arm, he is hoping to improve the human condition by taking the genetic make-up of the lizard and applying it to other species. It isnt until Peter Parker comes along giving him the missing link as it were that he finds answers. The good doctor doesnt become The Lizard until well into the feature when he is trying to stop Oscorp from testing the drug he created on human guinea pigs. So desperate to stop his superior Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) that he injects himself only with devastating circumstances. As The Lizard, he is able to regenerate his limb yet his mind is warped to believe all individuals would benefit from his nightmarish condition.

With so much ground to cover, director Marc Webb is certainly able to keep things moving well enough as the focus of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is on Parker and Connors more so than Spider-Man and The Lizard. We see their reasoning for doing what they do, including Parker searching for his Uncles killer much like the previous incarnations. Thankfully the characters are so well drawn out and the actors are all terrific that its easy to get caught up in this origin story's web even if you do get the feeling of dj vu. And as far as special effects go, there are certainly some truly bright spots with some that are absolutely amazing enough for a SPIDER-MAN movie. The trailer really didnt do any favors as to offering up how spectacular some of the sequences look. The screening I saw was in IMAX 3D and it was far more impressive than I had expected it to be, even the 3D manages to amaze at times.

As entertained as I was, there are a few dull moments throughout. In order to tell a more complete story there were a few scenes that could have been condensed. Thankfully the action, the humor and Garfields performance (among others) keeps the momentum going. In terms of the villain, as much as I liked Connors, he seemed to waste a little too much time trying to do his ultimate and dirty deed. At least the final battle was worth waiting around for. All in all, this was a very successful film with a fantastic cast thanks to Garfield, Stone and Ifans as well as Field and Sheen. The score by James Horner works wonders for the on-screen adventures offering the appropriate depth to this latest installment. And while THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN occasionally feels slightly repetitious and drawn out, it is still an impressive film thanks to Webbs unique take on the already familiar legend of SPIDER-MAN.

Extra Tidbit: And yes, there is a mid-credit scene that hints at the future of this franchise.
Source: JoBlo.com

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+5
5:40PM on 07/20/2012

blah

Blah story
Bad acting
No love chemistry (the original 3 were ackward-cute...this was ackward-sick)
Garfield's face which I wanted to punch [link] does he have some kind of mental retardation?
Bad CG
Bad music that doesn't fit with what we're seeing.
Blah story
Bad acting
No love chemistry (the original 3 were ackward-cute...this was ackward-sick)
Garfield's face which I wanted to punch [link] does he have some kind of mental retardation?
Bad CG
Bad music that doesn't fit with what we're seeing.
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6:49PM on 07/07/2012

Just saw it this morning

Loved the movie. I fell in love with Emma Stone (good God she was an beautiful Gwen Stacy). Only one criticism, Andrew Garfield isn't great at being real romantic, but it's whatever...it's a superhero movie and it proved to be pretty great. I give it an 8/10 too. I highly recommend everyone watch this...and please, stop complaining about how the movie redoing his transition and story...it's unique here and I loved every second of it.
Loved the movie. I fell in love with Emma Stone (good God she was an beautiful Gwen Stacy). Only one criticism, Andrew Garfield isn't great at being real romantic, but it's whatever...it's a superhero movie and it proved to be pretty great. I give it an 8/10 too. I highly recommend everyone watch this...and please, stop complaining about how the movie redoing his transition and story...it's unique here and I loved every second of it.
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12:41PM on 07/05/2012

My thoughts...

I actually thought it was a pretty good take on Spiderman. Whereas Raimi's version had more of a cartoonish feel to it, this version felt "real". I liked how Peter (in this version) didn't just wake up buff, shooting webs. It was a whole learning experience, even down to making the outfit. I'll always say Tobey Maguire was a dead on Peter Parker. But he seemed more of a Peter in his mid 20's. I think Andrew Garfield knocked it out of the park as a teenage Peter. Sally Field as Aunt May was
I actually thought it was a pretty good take on Spiderman. Whereas Raimi's version had more of a cartoonish feel to it, this version felt "real". I liked how Peter (in this version) didn't just wake up buff, shooting webs. It was a whole learning experience, even down to making the outfit. I'll always say Tobey Maguire was a dead on Peter Parker. But he seemed more of a Peter in his mid 20's. I think Andrew Garfield knocked it out of the park as a teenage Peter. Sally Field as Aunt May was great and the fact that they didn't treat her as a clueless idiot was even better. There's not too many cons I had with this movie. If anything, I would like to have seen the Lizard spend more time wearing a tattered lab coat, and for him to have had a snout. Other than that, I loved the movie.
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3:43AM on 07/05/2012

Well...

Just got back from the theater.
- The good things: WONDERFUL soundtrack by Mr. Horner, Emma Stone doing a good job as Gwen and the school battle was great imo. Garfield did a great job but i just don't see him as Peter Parker.
- The bad things: Too melodramatic at time, Uncle Ben's dead wasn't heartbreaking enough, final fight was lame and The Lizard was as menacing as Sandman.
Just got back from the theater.
- The good things: WONDERFUL soundtrack by Mr. Horner, Emma Stone doing a good job as Gwen and the school battle was great imo. Garfield did a great job but i just don't see him as Peter Parker.
- The bad things: Too melodramatic at time, Uncle Ben's dead wasn't heartbreaking enough, final fight was lame and The Lizard was as menacing as Sandman.
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10:32PM on 07/04/2012
I saw it 24 hours ago and I'm already forgetting it. Why make this movie? Especially when there is a vastly superior superhero movie still playing in theaters (and I didn't even LOVE 'The Avengers'), and one that will blow all of them out of the water on July 20...
I saw it 24 hours ago and I'm already forgetting it. Why make this movie? Especially when there is a vastly superior superhero movie still playing in theaters (and I didn't even LOVE 'The Avengers'), and one that will blow all of them out of the water on July 20...
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3:44AM on 07/05/2012
Yeah, i don't read the future, but the success of ''The Dark Knight Rises'' will be too much to remember TASM.
Yeah, i don't read the future, but the success of ''The Dark Knight Rises'' will be too much to remember TASM.
-9
3:15AM on 07/03/2012
Just came back from seeing it. 7/10 for me. The origin rehash was not only sloooooow but really unnecessary. I get it that they wanted to 'be different' from Raimi's origin story, but if you don't know how Spidey came to have his powers by now, frankly you never will. Sally Fields was a horrible pick for Aunt May. I honestly thought that during her scenes she forgot what her role was supposed to be, and just winged it. Sheen, on the other hand, nailed it as Ben Parker. Every time 'the Lizard'
Just came back from seeing it. 7/10 for me. The origin rehash was not only sloooooow but really unnecessary. I get it that they wanted to 'be different' from Raimi's origin story, but if you don't know how Spidey came to have his powers by now, frankly you never will. Sally Fields was a horrible pick for Aunt May. I honestly thought that during her scenes she forgot what her role was supposed to be, and just winged it. Sheen, on the other hand, nailed it as Ben Parker. Every time 'the Lizard' came on screen, my mind started playing the Super Mario Bros. theme, due to him looking like a Goomba. Sorry, no matter how bad ass they tried to make him, it didn't remove the image from my mind.

Another thing this movie did wrong (that Spidey 3 did as well) was tie the villain to Peter's past, so that he (Peter) feels responsible (vague enough for you? Good.). Not only is it annoyingly passe, but for once I'd like a superhero movie to have a villain that wasn't directly linked to the hero (and vice versa) so that they don't come about at the same time because of destiny, chaos, yin and yang, blah, blah, blah, blah.

The action is CGI-y, so you either go with it, or you don't. I was tired, so I just went with it. Again, 7/10 for me. Cut 45 minutes off this sucker, and I might raise it to a 7.5.
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2:15PM on 07/02/2012
Thank you for putting the villain and such into perspective. It's awesome that the characterizations of the leads are so good, but the last review barely mentioned Ifans as Connors/ Lizard, but was very worrisome for me.
Thank you for putting the villain and such into perspective. It's awesome that the characterizations of the leads are so good, but the last review barely mentioned Ifans as Connors/ Lizard, but was very worrisome for me.
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7:24AM on 07/02/2012

I agree

The movie is a solid 8/10 that did drag a bit in the middle.

I would also consider the original Spiderman and Spiderman 2 as well as the original X-Men to be 8/10. X-Men 2, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor were 9/10 whereas Spiderman 3, Iron Man 2 and X-Men 3 were 7/10. Only the Avengers rates a 10/10. Does that sound reasonable?

Note that all three Spiderman films that I rate 8/10 had essentially the same plot of a mad scientist who is friends with Peter Parker experimenting on
The movie is a solid 8/10 that did drag a bit in the middle.

I would also consider the original Spiderman and Spiderman 2 as well as the original X-Men to be 8/10. X-Men 2, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor were 9/10 whereas Spiderman 3, Iron Man 2 and X-Men 3 were 7/10. Only the Avengers rates a 10/10. Does that sound reasonable?

Note that all three Spiderman films that I rate 8/10 had essentially the same plot of a mad scientist who is friends with Peter Parker experimenting on himself and losing his mind. It's hard to rate one above the other when they all feature the same basic story.
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11:15AM on 07/02/2012
Not really, because maybe the basic plot can be same, but a movie's true power lies with the quality it presents its story and how good it can flesh out the characters to properly connect with the audience. I respect your opinion, everyone has different taste and their own view, but to me, Spider-Man 2 is head and shoulder above every other movie you mentioned (well except maybe X2 & Avengers). The way it so perfectly balances both loud action & quiet heartfelt moments coupled with the humanity
Not really, because maybe the basic plot can be same, but a movie's true power lies with the quality it presents its story and how good it can flesh out the characters to properly connect with the audience. I respect your opinion, everyone has different taste and their own view, but to me, Spider-Man 2 is head and shoulder above every other movie you mentioned (well except maybe X2 & Avengers). The way it so perfectly balances both loud action & quiet heartfelt moments coupled with the humanity of its 3-dimentional characters (even the villain) makes it standout to me. I would give it a 9.5/10.

Spider-Man would be 8/10, Spider-Man 3 a 6/10 (it is devoid of all the points I just made about SM2, makes it even more clearer why Part 2 is great and Part 3 is bad), Thor, X-Men and original Hellboy are all 8/10, Iron Man, X-Men First Class & Hellboy 2 are 9/10, Iron Man 2 a 7.5/10, X-Men 3 a 7/10, X2 & Batman Begins are 9.5/10 and finally The Avengers & TDK are 10/10. Well, that my personal assessment anyway. And I REALLY should watch Cap. America soon.
7:20AM on 07/02/2012
Finally a review that actually talks about the plot & is not just a comparison between the other movies. Spot on JimmyO. This one convinces me even more to wanna see it now after I had my own doubts.
Finally a review that actually talks about the plot & is not just a comparison between the other movies. Spot on JimmyO. This one convinces me even more to wanna see it now after I had my own doubts.
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6:08AM on 07/02/2012

good

I'll check it out here in Per at the midnight screening!!
I'll check it out here in Per at the midnight screening!!
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4:41AM on 07/02/2012
As much as I like Bumbrey's reviews, I have to say, Jimmyo's take is MUCH BETTER here. His review is clear, detailed as to what to expect from this film or not, and most importantly, actually reads like a thorough analysis of every key aspects of the film, as oppose to Bumbrey's checkpoint like review of the ways it is better than the original (plus absolutely not mention of the villain). And the 8/10 is much more reasonable and acceptable to me than Chris's 9/10. Anyway, GREAT READ JIMMIYO!
As much as I like Bumbrey's reviews, I have to say, Jimmyo's take is MUCH BETTER here. His review is clear, detailed as to what to expect from this film or not, and most importantly, actually reads like a thorough analysis of every key aspects of the film, as oppose to Bumbrey's checkpoint like review of the ways it is better than the original (plus absolutely not mention of the villain). And the 8/10 is much more reasonable and acceptable to me than Chris's 9/10. Anyway, GREAT READ JIMMIYO!
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