Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
Genre: Comic Book
Watched: July 9, 2012
Summary: Characters First! (9/10)
This new Spider-Man has to be one of the fastest reboots in film history. Ten years, just five since the wretched Spider-Man 3! So valuable is this franchise that in recent decades, Sony Pictures has only made money during Spider-Man years.
But the truth is, everyone loves a good origin story. Because of the quick reset, the new Spider-Man doesn’t look radically different technically or stylistically. If anything, the CGI is actually a tad more subtle, even though there is more of it. What the film does differently, is take a tighter even more Peter Parker centric view of the world.
The action scenes have been stripped down to make room for good stuff: character development. Not that there isn’t action, but the fights are the right length instead of being gratuitously overextended. And there is only one villain. The writing is strong and direct. We focus on Peter, his feelings, and his relationships: With his aunt and uncle, with his missing dad, with Gwen (the new MJ replacement), with his mentor/villain, etc. We focus on his life in high school before, then on the feelings of transformation as he becomes the webslinger. Certain elements are mostly dropped, like his photography and the entire Daily Bugle angle.
2012 has been a good year for comic book films. First The Avengers, then this. Maybe it’s karma, maybe it’s the fact that the director’s name is Webb, but it almost seems that Hollywood has learned to focus on story and character. But probably they just got lucky and picked talented filmmakers by accident.
The acting/casting is even better this time around too. Emma Stone is cute, perky, and has real personality and The Lizard isn’t too over-the-top (Wilhelm Dafoe, I’m looking at you!). But Andrew Garfield is the one who really steals the show. In the previous incarnation, only the second film really worked. The one with Doc Oct. The first started off strong, but devolved into Green Goblin nonsense, the third… well we won’t go there. This time around, Toby’s wooden and brooding Peter Parker is replaced with a quirky, smart, funny, everyman who really takes a pounding. In short — and I did read the comic for most of the 80s — Spider-man.