Please note: the following contains spoilers. You have been warned.
Also, I added multiple GIFs so you tl;dr people hopefully don't get bored.
First off, I'm not reviewing this because I feel that my opinion counts for so very much ... I am simply writing this because I need to get this off my chest. When you're excited about something, you have to share it or you will explode.
I have a lot of feelings, okay?
Im writing this on my iPad as I'm putting my eight year old sister to sleep, so I beg you to forgive any misspellings, I promise to come back and edit when I have time. (read: never)
Alright, I just got back from seeing The Amazing Spider-Man at the theatre. I want to say that I was completely floored by the announcement that the Spider Man franchise was being rebooted. I felt that Sony was all about the money and I felt that the decision to reboot it so soon was idiotic and greedy; I didn't want a reboot, I wanted a fourth Spider-Man film. So it was with irritation that I saw this film rise out of the depths of development and come to fruition. When Garfield signed on, I was all, "Why are you wasting your talent, you're too good for this." Same reaction when Emma Stone joined the cast. I'll admit I was quite eager to see this movie tank at first, even with its stellar cast. Two things changed my mind: the first being the well-cut trailer and the promos, all advertising a Peter Parker with a darker history. The second was Garfield's speech at Comic Con. Yeah, that one. Whether PR move or genuine fanboy moment, Mr. Garfield, it was well-played.
Before I go on, I want to say that I view Mr. Maguire to be an incredibly talented actor and I am eagerly awaiting his return to my screen via The Great Gatsby. I also respect Sam Raimi for his handling of the franchise, despite some things I didn't like. they will always have my respect as some of the people who kicked off the superhero film genre, and I will be forever grateful. Hey. I liked it. Whatever.
That being said, this new reboot bitchslaps the previous SM series into whatever version of hell Hollywood has. I was immensely impressed by the writing, direction, film, and acting that The Amazing Spider Man featured. The mixture of humor, suspense, action and emotion was pitch-perfection, and it is my sincerest hope that the sequels will follow this formula, because if they do, the SM myths is in very safe hands indeed.
Let's just get this out out of the way first because I need to say what I don't like before we can go to the good stuff. The fact that liquid nitrogen is put on the top of Oscorp Tower is ludicrous. Yes, I know it's necessary to the plot and it did provide some very pretty visuals, but really? No. Second, Lizard's disassociative personality disorder is something I don't buy. I didn't buy it with either Goblin from the old franchise, and I don't buy it now. The Jekyll and Hyde thing needs to be fleshed out more to believable.
Negativity gone. On with the glowing praise:
I cannot say enough good things about Garfield, though. There are decent actors, there are good actors, and every so often there is an actor that seems born to play a role, the character fits the actor like a glove. They inhabit the character so seamlessly, the essentially embody it. This is Garfield. No disrespect to Maguire, but please, I think everyone who has seen this film will agree, Garfield nails this role and makes it His, without question. He is Spider-Man. His role of a sulky, smart mouthed teenager is not only believable but it is compelling. Garfield is 28, but his portrayal is so convincing, as are his reactions. Undoubtedly this owes a lot to directing and writing as well, but I really don't know who could have done a better job. Now that I've seen Garfield as SM I can't see anyone else. It's like RDJ as Iron Man.
The next thing I'd like to talk about is Gwen Stacy. Emma Stone is wonderful here. I'm gushing about everything, but it's only because THEY DESERVE TO BE GUSHED ABOUT. I was whining back a paragraph up, so let the praise flow freely here. Stone, I adore what you've done with Gwen. She's charming without being sugar-sweet, she's brave and intelligent and talented but still flawed. In short, she's made what could have been a damsel in distress and a perfectly bland relationship and character into something that sparkles with chemistry and all around real.
Gwen's chemistry with Peter is a thing of beauty, that's how impressive it is. Gwen herself never feels shoehorned in, unlike other superhero love interests I could mention. It never feels forced, and what I have gleaned from the comics is that Gwen is supposed to be the sweet one while MJ is the spitfire. Well, sorry, film!MJ, you have a lot of work to do you ever appear in this franchise, because from what I can see Gwen needs to stay. She doesn't get kidnapped and is never whiny or passive aggressive. She doesn't date jerks, she's smart, she's brave, and instead of becoming cliche villain-bait, she steps up the game and show remarkable courage. If you, like me, know what happens to Gwen via comic myths, every scene Stone charmed me in also made my heart shatter. Gwen, no, you are perfect.
I could go on but the word count is piling up. A few last mentions of stuff I liked:
- Spider Man's sass. Yes, more please. His awkwardness combined with his snark is full of entertainment. One of the things that makes this film great are the references it makes and it's self awareness. The combo of a darker film that pokes fun of itself might not have worked, but it did this time. If you notice, one of the books Gwen had is Seabiscuit, a book that was made into a film starring Tobey Maguire. Nice move, Marc Webb.
- Rhys Ifans. YMMV, but even though I don't buy the personality split I still think he was an amazing villain, and I want to see more of him, even if it's just a cameo.
- Gwen's father. This dynamic worked, and it was wonderful.
- The train fight. It was hilarious and a very nice "show, don't tell" scene. And the entire theatre was laughing.
- Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Their familial interaction could have used more screen time, but what was shown was not only plausible but emotionally very poignant. And there were no endless repeats of that line I'm pretty sure many are tired of. Sheen and Fields, once again, you need to be in more films. Please.
- The suit and the action scenes. Both worked, and no complaints about Spider Man's tight fitting suit. The action was well shot, with stunning visuals, and I am very pleased with the new spider logo. What can I say? It's really cool.
This IS the definitive Spider-Man movie, and has firmly reestablished Spider Man as one of my favorite superheroes. Great job, Sony. You've outdone yourself. Or maybe, I just underestimated you.