The Critic – The Amazing Spider-Man

Alrighty folks, I just got out of The Amazing Spider-Man and I gotta say, it is, so far, my favourite of the Spider-Man movies. That being said, I really dislike Spider-Man, he is my least favourite hero as I’ve said before and I’m sure I’ll say many more times yet. As much as I dislike Spider-Man I do have to say that I enjoy the movies and I enjoy the tv shows, the newest animated series is The Amazing Spider-Man with Neil Patrick Harris doing the voice of Peter Parker, it’s brilliant and I highly suggest you check it out. On with the review!

The Amazing Spider-Man is, for those of you who live under a rock, a reboot of Marvel’s Spider-Man franchise, and that is where my first problem with this movie begins. It’s not the fact that it’s a reboot, it’s the fact that this is a 2.5 hour origin story, well more like a 2 hour origin story with about half an hour of actual Spidey stuff, that was the best word I could think of…In the film, Peter goes to Oscorp to find Dr Curtis Conners, an old friend and work partner of his father’s, to ask him about a mysterious formula that he found in his father’s briefcase and while he’s there, surprise surprise, he get’s bit by a spider. The next hour and a half is Peter becoming Spider-Man and struggling to manage the nerve to ask Gwen Stacey out. This now brings me to two things I enjoyed about this movie. First of all I am very happy that they chose Gwen over M.J., it just makes more sense and is cannon with the comic world, yes M.J. is the most well known of Peter’s girlfriends, they even eventually get married, but Gwen was Peter’s first love and then she ***SPOILER*** get’s killed by Carnage ***END SPOILER***. The second thing that I liked at this point was that Peter MADE his webslingers and didn’t have webs coming out from his wrists, this is how it’s supposed to happen, it makes more sense and it is properly done.

Dr. Conners is my least favourite villain in my least favourite superhero’s rouge’s gallery, but in this movie I truly enjoyed him. Why? Because he is what all good villain’s should be. I find the scariest villain in a movie is one who believes, no, one who KNOWS what he is doing to be the right thing. Conners is trying to make humanity a stronger race, he is trying to eradicate weakness by combining DNA from various species, in this case a lizard, into humans to get rid of problems they have, in his case he lost his arm and lizards can regenerate limbs, thus he began his research. Peter ends up giving him a formula that puts his research and makes it so that Freddie the Mouse is able to regrow his leg, this prompts Conners to use the syrum on himself, thus changing him into the Lizard. Rhys Ifans does a great job playing the doctor and I was really impressed, in fact I enjoyed all of the performances in this movie, especially Denis Leary’s. I love him on Rescue Me, which if you haven’t seen you need too, and his performance in this movie and Captain Stacy was just as strong.

So right there you have the main premise of The Amazing Spider-Man, now to go further into me picking it apart, this is what I love doing, this is why I review and it’s always fun.

As I mentioned before, this movie is one long origin story with very little actual Spider-Man parts to it, when you get them though, they are solid. My problem however lies with how Spider-Man is being presented in this movie, Marc Webb is trying too hard to ground Spidey in reality, he tries so hard in fact that he not only tries to emulate what Chris Nolan has done so well with his Batman Trilogy but he also effectively kills everything that Spider-Man is known and loved for, his wit and his fast talking while he’s dealing with criminals. The only time he really does this is when he takes down a car robber, and you see most of what’s funny in that scene in the trailer. That was a big problem I had with this. Another problem I had was the lack of J. Jonah Jameson, you see one stack of The Daily Buggle in this movie and JJJ’s name isn’t even on it, nor is Spidey’s. There’s something wrong with this if you ask me.

I’m gonna hit on this stupidly long origin story movie thing one last time, the first Spider-Man movie from 2002 I believe, did the same thing in about 30 minutes, probably less, you don’t need to tell a story everyone already knows in a whole movie. Okay, I’m done, moving on. There were two concerns I had when I saw the trailer: 1) They seemed to being going in the direction where Peter’s dad was behind the creation of the spiders that bit him, which it seems to be what they did end up doing and 2) The trailers kept hinting at the possibility of the movie telling us what “really” happened to Peter’s parents. You just simply don’t do that with an origin story, it’s almost as bad as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there are things you just don’t need to know, no there are things you CAN’T know about a hero’s origin and this is one of them. If you stick around until the end of the first set of credits you’ll see  that it seems they are going to keep going with the story arch or explaining some sinister plot of what happened to his parents in a planned sequel.

The music in this movie was good and did well to add flavour to the movie, it was another case of adding some current rock/pop songs with symphonic/orchestrated music and I enjoyed listening to it, it was nothing special but it was fun and I think that was important in this movie. Finally, I would like to comment on the CGI in this movie and this is something I’m not really looking forward to doing. The CGI was good, but that’s it. When Lizard wasn’t moving, he looked really good, when he was moving around a little bit, he looked okay, when there was a lot of movement the CGI was almost laughable. Spider-Man looked about the same as he did in the Toby McGuire incarnations, the suit was a lot nicer that’s for sure, but when he moved he looked very, very animated. In a world where the Transformers can look real, there is no excuse for this, at all. If Micheal Bay can make something that isn’t an explosion look good, a giant Lizard and a scrawny kid in a spider suit should be easy.

All in all I enjoyed the movie, yes it had it’s funny parts, but most of them had nothing to do with Peter as Spidey. The plot was good which shocked me considering it was Lizard as the villain, I really liked his idea of trying to fix the human race, and try to make us better, it made him scary as a villain and I had fun hearing what he had to say and knowing that he clearly believed in what he was doing.

The Amazing Spider-Man: 7/10

Here’s a little extra awesomeness for you, IGN posted a great thing titled Making Sense of Amazing Spider-Man’s After Credit’s End Scene, it does contain spoilers but it also contains part of an interview with Rhys Ifan telling us who the man at then end of the credits is not. Check it out!

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Follow Nathan on Twitter @Nait93.

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