The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise is in theaters now, and so far its been met with a generous dose of mediocrity. With the Raimi films being less than a decade old, was this the right course? Was a reboot the right thing to do, or was it a rash decision from greedy Sony execs? This film aims to answer questions and show a side of Peter Parker not previously shown in the films. But how does it do? Is it a worthy entry into the Marvel Universe, or should it be squashed like a bug?
Spider-Man is one of the only Marvel comics I read consistently for years. I tried to keep up with all the crossing storylines and ridiculousness of it, but eventually it got too much. But to this day, he’s still one of my favorite Marvel characters. Maybe because as a a teenager he was the easiest to relate to, or maybe it was because of the draw of having a secret life. Its hard to tell, but I loved the hell out of the comics. When the first film came around in 2002, I went to the midnight showing, and was just insanely excited for it. After two lackluster sequels, I was completely disappointed with the whole franchise. When comic movies like Iron Man and X-Men: First Class started rolling out, it really gave me hope that there would be a good Spiderman movie one day. Is this that day? Unfortunately not. It doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the first films, instead it goes for a whole new set.
Ok, if you’ve paid any attention to the insane amounts of trailers, viral marketing and other crap they’ve done to hype this film you’ll have a loose idea of the plot. Peter Parker is a nerd in high school that wants answers about his parents that went missing when he was young. He finds a briefcase that belonged to his father that points him in the direction of Dr. Kurt Connors, and the plot just kind of takes off from there. Is it a decent plot? For the first two thirds of the film, sure. The last portion of the film everything just goes to hell. Which is very unfortunate. It’s fairly well written, and the dialog is exactly what you would expect. If they just would have tweeked certain motivations and small plot points, it would have been completely OK. Just OK, nothing special or spectacular, just mediocrely OK. I liked the majority of the script, and hell, even some of the characters. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker is easily the highlight of the film. He really has the spark that McGuire was missing, and really brings the character a little bit of life. He’s quirky and cocky, and in the right amounts to pull it off. The other highlight of the cast is Rhys Ifans as Kurt Connors. He’s a great actor, and he pulls off the doctor with an air that would be hard for other actors to nail down. The rest of the cast however is forgettable, and some of it is just plan painful.
One thing that I did really enjoy about the film is how they made Spider-Man really feel more like Spider-Man. They got rid of the stupid grown webshooters from the first trilogy, replacing them with homemade ones. And even though his suit looks a little ridiculous, it really doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. It just feels a lot closer to the Spider-Man that’s given to us in the comics. He’s wise cracking, he’s a smart ass, and he’s cocky. They never really played off that in the other films. And even the fight scenes are better. It just looks more organic and less horribly choreographed. The fight scenes in this film easily top anything in the previous trilogy, and they all look amazing. The whole film looks great. Its sharp and crisp, and has an overall great aesthetic to it. The science labs look great, the city looks great, and the settings really just pop sometimes.
Overall? It’s another flat entry from Fox. You’d think they would just give up and return the rights to Marvel, so they could make it right. Most of the characters are just plain bad, the plot gets completely horrible towards the end, and it just feels like a bad movie. The only thing it really has going for it is that for once Spiderman acts and feels like Spiderman. Looking back, I would have loved to see this character injected into the Spiderman 4 plot Raimi was working on. Even as weak as it was reported to be, it was a metric ass load better than this film. And it looks pretty. But it’s just an overall sub-par entry. Apparently a sequel has already been green lit, which is just disappointing, but maybe they’ll really be able to dial it in by then.