Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Amazing Spider-man

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Amazing Spider-man - 5 out of 5

I've been a fan of Spider-man since I was a small child.  I watched episodes of the old cartoon and read the comics the moment I could hold a comic (and knew how to read as well, of course).  I became a loyal fan and stayed one for years...until the clone storyline came in.  The story broke my interest in Spidey and I stopped reading the books.  Even though I didn't enjoy that story, it did give the awesome of character of the Scarlet Spider.

I want that hoodie he intact one, of course.
Not a "ripped to shreds" one.

When the first Spider-man film came out when I was in college, I was pretty excited to see the webslinger hit the big screen.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed with the end result.  I wasn't happy with Tobey Macquire as Peter Parker because I'm not a fan of his acting and I felt he didn't really fit the role of Spidey, however, J.K. Simmons was AWESOME as J. Jonah Jameson and I really liked Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin.  I walked out of the theater saying it wasn't great but there were some things I liked.

"What?  I can't hear you.  I can't hear a thing in this mask."

For nerds like me, we get glimpses of The Lizard in his
lab coat...and a lot of glimpses of him essentially nude.
I felt the same about the 2nd movie.  It didn't deliver how I wanted it to but the villain casting was great...and then the third one came out and a part of me died inside.  The third film has taken a lot of abuse from the fans but even during my own loathing of the feature I found myself saying something good about it...mainly the special effects with the Sandman were incredible and the fact the movie was so bad, it was actually amusing to watch.  So, despite the few things I enjoyed over the three movies, I was excited to hear they were rebooting the franchise because, I felt, it needed it.  Sam Raimi's treatment of the franchise felt too cartoonish for the big screen and too often, the tone felt reminiscent of the Evil Dead franchise and I really didn't want to see the friendly neighborhood Spider-man get put into a Evil Dead-style film.  

Spidey waiting for his call from S.H.I.E.L.D...

The Amazing Spider-man gave me all I was looking for.

A highly detailed cell from the comic pages or a screen shot from the movie?
Obviously from the movie...duh!  Kinda stupid on my part for asking that question.

Retelling Spidey's origins, The Amazing Spider-man shows Peter (Andrew Garfield) losing his parents and struggling to discover where they disappeared to.  His search brings him to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) at Oscorp.  Connors used to work with Peter's father and was currently trying to find a serum that would regenerate lost tissue--a search that is shown to be very important to the company and important to Connors himself due to his lost right arm.  At Oscorp, Peter finds the super, radioactive spiders and, as we all know, gets bitten by one and gains the powers of a spider--minus shooting webs from his anus.  Meanwhile, Connors research goes awry and he becomes a gigantic lizard out to bring about a new jump in evolution on the city and it's up to our new superhero Spider-man to stop him.  Who else is going to stop him?  The X-men?  They got their own problems--99 of them, I believe and often a bitch is one.  That's right, Apocalypse, I called you a bitch!

Yep, Apocalypse is going to de-friend me on Facebook for calling him a bitch.

As you can tell from my score, I really enjoyed this one.  It delivered a Spider-man tale that gave me everything I was looking for in the last three that never arrived.  The story was grittier and darker but Spidey still kept his levity.  The cast was filled with top notch actors.  The special effects were incredible and the action was just awesome!

Not pictured:  The man in the car shitting his pants with fear.

Right off the bat, the filmmakers cast the perfect actor to fill in the webshooters (and they actually have webshooters this time!!!) in the form of Andrew Garfield.  Ever since I saw him in The Social Network, I've been captivated with him.  He's an immensely talented kid (I'm two years older than him, I'm legally obligated to call him a kid).  He encapsulated the socially discomfort, awkward and uneasy confidence of Peter Parker and the wise-talking but responsibility enthused Spider-man in a way that took me back to the days when I was sitting on the floor reading Spidey comics.

For you younger readers, Garfield is holding a camera.  There was a time they came
OUTSIDE of cellphones.

"Just look at my stump and get it over with."
Garfield was backed up with Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard.  I'm already a fan of Ifans so I was excited to see him flop on the lab coat as Connors.  I will admit I wasn't the biggest fan of the design of The Lizard.  The lack of a snout that I've become so familiar with was a drastic change but, as you can tell from my score, it wasn't a deal breaker for the movie.  In fact, with the amazing special effects the film delivers and seeing The Lizard come to life the way he did in the movie took away my distaste for the design. 

In this pic he's got his snout but is missing his usual purple pants.

If she was John Cusack, the umbrella would not be shown.
But the casting directors didn't stop at our hero and villain.  After Kirsten Dunst destroyed the iconic character of Mary Jane Watson (apparently she thought "go get 'em, tiger" meant rip this feisty character to shreds and play her as a manipulative bi-polar damsel in distress), the character was not included and replaced with one of Spidey's other comic love interest; Gwen Stacy.  The incredibly cute and doubly so talented Emma Stone took on the role and was just as good as I predicted she would be.  Even cooler was the fact that the now retired fireman Denis Leary plays the role of Captain Stacy, Gwen father; the Captain of the police force who is out to bring Spidey to justice--because cops don't like vigilantes.  Just ask Batman.

How can anyone be mad at him?  He's all smiles!

This could be enough for a regular movie but since it's a reboot of Spidey's origin, they had to bring in Uncle Ben and Aunt May.  So they decided to bring in someone who we all really like and the former president of the United States of America; Sally Field and Martin Sheen.  Not only do Sheen and Fields do a fantastic job as the adopted guardians of the wall-crawling hero but with Garfield in the mix, the trio really had some chemistry on screen and when Uncle Ben's death ultimately occurs (that's not a spoiler because we all knew it was going to happen), the desire to bring his Uncle's killer to justice feels more palpable.

"Wait, I die?  That's a spoiler for me!"

And did I mention Spidey actually has webshooters this time?  Because he does and that makes me nerd something fierce!

He once played a New York fireman, now a Captain of the New York police force.
Next he will be playing a New York garbage man.  He's just trying to hit all the bases here.

This summer, for me, was a great summer for the comic book adaptation.  I already mentioned how The Avengers was better than sex and this summer also saw the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises but The Amazing Spider-man was also a great addition to my summer geek fun.  Unlike Raimi's three, The Amazing Spider-man was able to give me what I wanted in a Spidey movie.  The story is darker and grittier, the acting and cast is better, the action is more intense and the direction the new franchise is taking is far more promising to me.  I enjoyed this reboot so much, I may start reading the comics again...but if I said that, I would be lying because I've been reading them for awhile now.  I just didn't like that clone saga storyline.

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