Thursday, July 5, 2012

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

I have to admit when I heard they were rebooting the Spider Man series, I was not excited. When I heard that Andrew Garfield (the lanky kid from The Social Network) would play Peter Parker, I was even less enthused. Then, I started to see the trailers and thought maybe I should give it a chance. After seeing it, I can actually say that The Amazing Spider Man amazed me by being a lot better than I expected.

Even though we were promised, "the untold story," most of us are familiar with the story of high school loser and fledgling photographer Peter Parker (Garfield). He lives with his Aunt Mae (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) after his parents mysterious death in a plane accident. I guess this is the untold part. We learn that Peter's parents fled because of the work his father was doing on cross-breeding species. Apparently, he was close to a breakthrough ... a bit too close. When it became obvious that he was in danger, his father and mother dropped young Peter off at his aunt and uncle's house, promising to return. Of course, they didn't.

After finding his father's briefcase, Peter finds his father's former partner still working on cross-breeding species for Oscorp. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans) hopes to find a means of regenerating a limb to replace an arm he's lost. When he finds Conners, Peter also finds Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), a high school classmate, Oscorp intern and daughter of the police chief (Denis Leary).

 While visiting Oscorp, Peter sneaks into a lab and gets bitten by a genetically-altered spider. I think you know the rest. As for Conners, he makes himself a human Guinea pig. Only his attempts at regeneration are short-lived and contain dastardly consequences, turning him into a human lizard. Of course, only Spider Man can stop him from unleashing his fate upon the city of New York.

 I had my doubts about Garfield but I actually enjoyed his interpretation of Parker more than I did Tobey Macguire's. He came across as more of a high school student than Macguire ever did. I also liked the untold element, even though it doesn't pay off here (although they laid down the groundwork for a payoff in the sequel). Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is also a bonus here. I felt she and Garfield had a chemistry and a connection that worked.

 As far as drawbacks, you knew Uncle Ben's demise was on the way, only the execution of it could have been better. The evolution of the Lizard could have been delved into a little deeper. Conners goes from a man with noble intentions to a megalomaniac with ambitiously evil intentions with the snap of a finger. It was a little too quick for me. 

All in all, I was impressed with this movie. Two things to keep in mind. I saw it in 3-D. I don't know if 3-D was really necessary because there weren't that many 3-D effects (save your money). Secondly, stay when the credits roll because midway through, you'll get a taste of what awaits in the sequel.

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