“The Amazing Spider-man”, or, as I like to call it, “Sony Desperately Trying to Hold on to Spider-man Intellectual Property Rights,” came out on Tuesday, July 3rd. By all accounts it has raked in the dough since then despite meeting mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. Well, in case you have not read enough of those reviews yet to decide if you want to see the movie, here is another one.
I will start off by saying that there was not one particular part or aspect of the movie that I either really hated or really liked; it was all pretty lukewarm. The only possible exception was the performance that Emma Stone turned in as Peter Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Although it was difficult for me to suspend my disbelief and see Ms. Stone as a teenager, she managed to capture the awkwardness and brilliance of being a teenage girl who is both attractive and intelligent. The interactions between Andrew Garfield’s Peter and Gwen Stacy were probably my favorite parts of the movie. Not sure what that says when this is a movie about my personal favorite superhero which did feature a good bit of action in the second half.
Of course, there has to be some comparison between Toby Maguire as Spider-man versus the new guy, Andrew Garfield. There are some definite differences, but they are pretty simple to sum up. As Spider-man, Toby Maguire was the complete “aw, shucks” nerd without any of the the web-slinger’s famous quips and sarcasm. Andrew Garfield has the opposite problem; he comes off as a complete hipster smart-ass without any of the endearing nerdiness that I want to see in a Peter Parker. Toby was a better Peter and Andrew was a better Spider-man. Make sense? Pay attention, Sony Pictures, because this is a simple problem to fix. Peter Parker needs to be a nerd, plain and simple. Spider-man needs to be an over the top, almost egotistical, jokester. That is it. Treat them like two separate people because that is exactly what Peter does in the comics. Peter Parker is not Spider-man, nor is Spider-man Peter Parker. They really are two distinctive personalities and any Spider-man movie would benefit from them being treated that way.
Here are some assorted issues in no particular order:
- Do not pay the extra money to see the movie in 3-D. I did this because I thought “Hells yea; Spider-man web-slinging in 3-D! How can they mess that up? They can and they did. Just see it in 2-D and save yourself from looking like a doofus in those awful glasses.
- Has anyone else noticed how freaking huge Emma Stone’s eyes are? Is she an anime character that has been given life? Is she an alien-human hybrid. Seriously, it kinda freaks me out.
- Dennis Leary can do no wrong. Ever. Loved the guy as Gwen’s father, Police Captain George Stacy.
- Topher Grace should have been Spider-man from the very beginning. I just had to throw that in because it has always been my biggest regret of the Spider-man movie franchise to date.
- The Lizard, and his alter-ego, Dr. Curt Connors, were both bland, boring and one-dimensional to me. “Oh, why can’t I have my arm back! Oh wait, now I have my arm back, and I am a big Lizard-man-thingy. I should be a super-villain now.”
- In the pantheon of Spider-man movies, the Amazing Spider-man is second best. It beats out the first and third installments of the Sam Raimi directed trilogy, but Spider-man 2 is still at the top of the heap.
Overall, it is worth seeing if you like Spider-man, or if you just like the superhero genre in general. Just don’t expect the high quality that you get from a Marvel Studios film like The Avengers. My fear is that until (and maybe if) Disney / Marvel gets back the rights to make Spider-man movies, we probably won’t see a Spider-man movie that is all that it can be. There are going to be two more movies in this series, so maybe one of them will prove me wrong. At least I won’t have to see Uncle Ben get killed again for about 10 years or so.