Thursday, July 5, 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man spins a fine web
The Amazing Spider-Man is yet another origin story, which we've seen before, but this one has a lot of heart. In fact, I was quite surprised by how heartwarming and sweet it was. Probably not the best thing for a super hero action film, but I think those kind of movies need more heart.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield who I am now crushing on) gets bitten by a radioactive spider and then eventually becomes spider-man. He's on a mission, and at first, it's a very dark mission. His Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen doing a wonderful job and the heart of this film) is killed by a long haired man with a tattoo on his wrist. Peter basically will stop at nothing to try to find that man, much to the chagrin of the police lead by Captain Stacy (Denis Leary does a great job here). Eventually Peter must battle the lizard man, a scientist (Rhys Ifans) who worked with his father who injects himself with a reptilian formula to try to regrow his own arm. Things don't go so well for him. The lizard part takes over and he wants to inflict this formula onto the citizens of New York.
The villain, as far as villains go, is pretty lame. Personally, I find most comic book villains to be lame (apart from the batman ones of recent years). But this film doesn't rely too heavily on this villain. Yes, he plays a role and there is a big climactic fight scene at the end, but the real story is Peter Parker coming of age, coming to terms with death and manhood and falling in love with Gwen Stacy (The luminous Emma Stone). These two lovebirds have great chemistry on screen. They were a delight to watch.
I also really liked Peter's sense of humor and sarcasm as Spider-Man. He's not all broody and dark like Batman or all American apple pie like Captain America. This hero is much more layered and genuine, I think. I laughed out loud quite a few times, which I wasn't expecting so that was definitely an added bonus. Oh, and I also got teary eyed a couple of times too. Yeah, the scene where city workers synchronize the cranes to help Spider-Man leap from building to building is pretty cheesy, but I like that kind of cheese!
One quibble is that I found some of Spider-Man's swinging scenes as he webbed from building to building to be a bit blurry. I would have liked it to be crisper with slightly better editing. That being said, this is a fun summer flick and is a great movie for date night. I also think 12 year olds will get a kick out of it, unless of course 12 year olds are too cynical already.
P.S. Keep a look out for C. Thomas Howell who plays a father who owes Spider-Man a debt of gratitude for saving his son.