REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man

29 12 2012

The Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies have sure taken a dip in public opinion in the last five years, no doubt due in large part to the ill-received “Spider-Man 3.”  I’ll grant that the 2007 series entry had far too many villains, and the black suit of revenge came off a little creepier than intended.

Yet I’d still rank Raimi’s three films as the finest superhero movies of the new millenium after Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.  Their thematic depth is impressive given that the series was far more prone to let fancy CGI or long action sequences rule the day.  Revenge, responsibility, and duty were all explored to very great effect by Raimi, who did a great job in advancing what a comic book movie could be.  Unfortunately, his legacy has become leaving the franchise on a bit of a sour note with the public.

Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man,” rather than reversing that decline merely accelerates it.  Like fellow summer action flick “The Bourne Legacy,” it fails to make a clean enough break with its predecessors and thus gets forced to live with its specter looming overhead.  James Vanderbilt’s story, adapted with the help of “Harry Potter” screenwriter Steve Kloves and original trilogy architect Alvin Sargent, feels like only a minor variation on the 2002 “Spider-Man” origins tale.

Perhaps I’m a little sensitive because the Raimi “Spider-Man” movies were some of the highlights of my middle school years, but a mere decade seems like far too short a window to reboot a series.  Especially given that the last “Spider-Man” film was released just five years before “The Amazing Spider-Man,” people have not had nearly enough time to forget the particulars of the series.  It’s that very painful awareness that dooms Webb’s update from the beginning.


Vanderbilt’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” falls victim to the virus of simplicity and inconsequentiality that has infected the Marvel brand in movies like “Thor” and “Captain America.”  Gone is the weight and gravitas of the Spider-Man character that the Raimi movies explored thoroughly and satisfyingly.  Instead, we get a lot of action sequences, a lackluster villain in Rhys Ifans’ The Lizard, and an overabundance of romance.

You won’t hear me fiercely defend Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as Spider-Man and his love interest, Mary Jane, for any reason other than nostalgia.  Indeed, I’d say that there is far more chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.  His Peter Parker and her Gwen Stacy can definitely make sparks fly effortlessly, but Vanderbilt forces that heat to carry the movie.

Try as they might, Garfield and Stone just can’t hold up an extravaganza of visual effects with their love.  (It doesn’t really even work on a “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” level of real life mirroring the screen.)  Watching their passion develop can’t compensate for the lack of action and story in “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  C2stars



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11 05 2018
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) | The Cool Kat's Reviews

[…] M. Kane; Scene Before; Millennial Movies; Time-Traveling Film Critic; Express Elevator To Hell; Marshall And The Movies; ProtoGeek; Movie Thoughts; What Would Spidey Do (1); What Would Spidey Do (2); Talekeeper; Steve […]

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