Thursday, July 19, 2012

Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

                                    Thomas Spychalski
It almost seems like the movie world has gone insane with remakes.

Things from the eighties and nineties have been harvested of their most special product, to be reworked and redone. Robocop, Total Recall and of course a new Spider-Man film just five years after the last Sam Raimi directed film, Spider-Man 3, in 2007.
Now of course, a re-boot means a new version of the origin of Spider-Man has to be told.

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is of course at the heart of the Spider-Man universe, which should be no surprise as he is the title characters secret identity. Parker is more like a real teen this time around, with both his nerdiness and teenage angst mixed perfectly

Marvel comics used to think that radioactivity would change the world like the microchip, which isn't surprising considering the atomic era was still gaining steam when Sipdey started swinging in the sixties. It also was when every science fiction b-movie had radioactivity in it someplace, be it the cause of the monstrosity that had come to destroy Humanity or the vehicle of the threats demise. 

This was Marvel's scenario of choice true believers...

Want to be the Human Torch or the Thing?

Cosmic rays.

Want to get a nice healthy green (gray) glow and lovely singing voice like the Hulk?

A little gamma radiation will fix you right up.

The film also intensifies the original story for Uncle Ben's death, making it a poignant scene depicting the battle between the light and dark that is not only the start of Spidey's career (and Batman's for that matter), but a more modern and realistic take then the criminal who somehow manged tobecome so quickly involved in the life of two family members.

This time the story line really goes out of it's way to show how badly Peter Parker was affected by his uncle's death. The scene is given the importance that every Batman movie of the nineties gave it's 'Bruce's parents deaths' scenes. Only this time it is fresh and not overused; This is Batman 1989, not Batman and Robin.

We also get the best of those old Marvel classics as well when we realize the depth that was given to a lot of familiar faces from the original Spider-Man books. Flash and Gwen as well as Aunt May are perfect counterparts to their sixties namesakes. Most of the popular comics have changed over this years but this is a remix of old and new that actually works.

The one complaint I have is that the movie is a bit slow at the start in terms of pacing, it drags the information along at a stale march until we get to the scene where Peter Parker is bit. This is downside that becomes a boon if watching the film for the first time but I wonder how it stands up on repeat viewings.

What I am sure will stand the test of time is how well Garfield pulls off a perfect, wisecracking Spider-Man against the car thief, it actually had me laughing and 'marveling' at it's brilliance.

Of course, no superhero is complete without his villain, in this case it's The Lizard (Rhys Ifans), who is surprisingly good considering I sometimes shun CGI heavy creations, preferring real mask and costuming to computers.

All the cast shines really, from Sally Field and Martin Sheen to Dennis Leary's surprisingly hilarious performance as Gwen Stacy's father who also plays Spidey's nemesis as a police captain out to stop the web slinging vigilante.

Without giving too much more away the plot continues on to it's climax in fine fashion, with a couple twists and dips along the way, including an obvious set up for a sequel.

The Amazing Spider-Man might just be the superhero movie to beat this Summer, just don't say that to anyone from Gotham, they never seem to get along too well with New Yorkers. 

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