For starters, I really really wished I loved this movie. If it was to release in 2002 or 10 years back, the movie would have been a sure fire Cult Classic, much like what Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is. But alas it isn’t. The makers tread on a tight rope here by Re-Launching the series which we are so fond of right from its origins. And in that gamble the movie falters to stand tall and astound.
Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, completely revolutionized the way we look at Super Hero’s and at Spiderman as a character. Prior to the Spiderman era, super heroes were just about wham bam shazaam alakazam! Sam Raimi gave the character a heart, a soul, a character with real human emotions and a drive to achieve something extraordinary even if the odds are against you. That’s what endeared the audiences to the movie. A string of super hero movie followed suite. Many trying to ape the magic Raimi created. Few succeeded, others brandished to the darkest corners of our memory.
While watching The Amazing Spiderman, I had a constant feeling of deja vu. It treads into a been there done that territory. You know what follows, just the treatment and the story line is tweaked. Little effort is displayed to make an original story add to that an extremely weak villain make this summer blockbuster feel like an inferior product.
Unlike the earlier movies, this one begins with the mysterious disappearance of Peter Parker’s parents. Peter grows up under his kind aunt May (Sally Field) and slightly strict Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). Ever the nerd, Peter gets bullied at school and has an incurable crush on his pretty classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). One day Peter accidently discovers a bag belonging to his father and learns of his father’s connection with the scientist Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). Curious to learn more about his missing father, Peter sneaks around Connors’ office and ends up getting bitten by a genetically modified spider. The bite makes Peter stronger, faster, heightens his senses and more. Suddenly, the world starts falling in his lap: he gets his lady love, he gets back at the bullies, does some genetic research with Connors and even has fun with his Spider powers. But the peace is not meant to be. A cruel twist of fate takes his beloved Uncle Ben away from him. Connors uses Peter’s formula (actually belonging to Peter’s father) and uses it to renew his stump of an arm. While the formula doesn’t work exactly as planned, Connors begins to wreak havoc with his newfound powers.
With three screenwriters working on the film, though I dint quiet understand the need of it as much of the story line was already available a decade ago! The rest could have been made by any one who reads comic books! Peter getting bitten, learning his powers, even Uncle Ben’s tragic death and it being indirectly caused by the boy’s lack of “great responsibility” are all points the film had to touch upon. This isn’t an issue if the events are done in a fresh or creative way. Neither Vanderbilt, nor any of the other screenwriters, add anything of interest here, particularly to the story we already know. Beyond that, The Amazing Spider-Man has little to offer with the things we haven’t seen before, Dr. Connors and his ultimate transformation included.
The movie lacks the weight required for the on goings to sting you into attaching you to the characters of the movie. No Matter how brilliant Martin Sheen is as Uncle Ben, once he gets shot it barely registers an impact. It’s not something you can really hold against The Amazing Spider-Man if you’re going to critique the film for what it is, not for its proximity to another film. Even still, it’s not a feeling during that can be completely turned off while watching it. It doesn’t help that the rest of the screenplay unfolds awkwardly, sometimes with a notion of slapdash, as if the ending wasn’t planned while the middle was being written. Huge plot lines go completely unresolved regardless of how much screen time they take up.
Directed by Marc Webb, who directed one of my favorite movies, the 2009’s sleeper hit 500 Days of Summer,500 Days was a deliciously brilliant and heart wrenching tale of love, an unconventional love story. Here to story line between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy is cute and unconventional. He brings out the perfect chemistry between the lead pair. But 500 Days was a small budget Indie film, in Amazing Spiderman, he does falter a bit. It’s the action scenes where Webb really loses his footing, sometimes missing moments in Spidey’s battles completely. Other times the camera feels stagnant, lacking a sense of excitement that would really kick the film in gear. It’s all very methodical. Like Joker said in Dark Knight “Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos”. This chaos is something that hooks the audience to the movie. The director never ever even tries to introduce any of it!
The lack of excitement grinds the film’s momentum to a screeching halt long before the typical giant battle of the CG characters explodes on screen with all the fury of a doped-up lab rat. The scene we knew we would get to with Peter learning about his newly acquired abilities and testing his limits plays to the tune of Coldplay’s “Kingdom Come”, not a bad song necessarily but not what you would consider and energetic beat. Similar tastes in music abounds from Webb throughout, some okay choices, others not as much. Nothing comes near the overall vibe of the soundtrack filling the lives of the characters we got from Webb’s first feature, a small drawback, but you expect more from the director.
His handling of actors has, however, is exceptional. Garfield’s Peter Parker, though not as nerdish as Tobey Maguire’s, fights battles within himself. Most of these are far more interesting, thanks in large part to the young actor, than when Spider-Man is butting heads with car thieves. The fight sequences include Peter’s quips and verbal jabs at his opponents, most of them pulled off strongly by Garfield. The Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy relationship is a vast improvement over the lump of coal found between the protagonist and Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane in the original films. Emma Stone is as adorable as she is compelling, another sturdy factor in how believable Peter and Gwen are together.
Rhys Ifans, although a fine actor, and he did give it his best shot is hindered by some seriously awful, post-production audio work and CGI, comes and goes from scenes without ever creating any kind of real presence for Dr. Connors. The poor design on his Lizard alter ego makes the entire character one, forgettable comic book villain, the worst the series has offered. Yaa, and it’s even worse than Sand Man and Topher Graces Venom in Spider Man 3. Hell he is even worse than the ridiculous Iceman from Batman and Robin played by Arnold.
Sally Fields is perfect cast for Aunt May. She is the perfect motherly figure to Peter. Apna very own Irfan Khan has exactly 5 minutes of screen time. He neither smiles nor does he say his dialogues in a profound manner. A complete waste of talent.
Another problem for the movie is that succeeds an awesome Super Hero movie and is about preceed a movie which has gained a cult following even before its release. The expectations were tremendous from The Amazing Spider-Man, but it had too big shoes to fill. Go for it, only if are a fan of the series and for the newbies, stick to the Sam Raimis classic.
2 down 1 to go. The first turned out to be the most profitable movie of all time. The second miserably fell short of the expectations. Next up is the Baap of all super hero movies. Cant wait for 20-07-2012!
Direction : 2.5
Music : 2
CGI : 3
Story : 2
Acting : 4
Total : 2.5
IMDB Link : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0948470/
- My Opinion on the Amazing Spider-Man (thebambooshoots.com)
- No Spidey Sense – “The Amazing Spider-Man” Review (shootingthescript.wordpress.com)
- ‘The Amazing Spider-Man:’ What Was Missing From The Film, Who Was In The End Credits And More (slashfilm.com)
- “Amazing Spider-Man” Confirmed As First Film in Sony Trilogy (spinoff.comicbookresources.com)
- Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (comicbooked.com)
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- Capone remembers that he always loved the kid behind the mask, thanks to Marc Webb’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!!! (aintitcool.com)
- Film: Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (avclub.com)
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- The Quite Amazing Spider-Man: Go see it. (queerlandia.com)