‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is best version to date
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:07
Another summer, another slew of comic book exploitation flicks; except this time around they’re actually hitting the marks.
Last week, Sony Pictures Classics’ and Columbia TriStar’s "The Amazing Spider-Man" opened in theaters. Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans and countless others, this film is a revamp of the previous Sam Raimi-directed franchise starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.
While many may have cited a revamp as unnecessary only five years after Raimi’s final Spider-Man film, it’s safe to say "The Amazing Spider-Man" offers its own stance on the material and pumps much-needed life into the dried and shriveled character and franchise.
As much as the Raimi films may belong to my childhood, 2007’s "Spider-Man 3" was an absolute mess and took the idea of a sequel to levels of self-parody.
Even the "Spider-Man" comic books currently in publication fail to offer anything really substantial or well-crafted.
But this movie delivers.
Some have complained about the film’s time and attention to the superhero’s origin story. It is true; the film spends a choice amount of time retelling a story most – even general mainstream viewers – know pretty well at this point.
I can’t say I was bored re-seeing it, though.
Where 2002’s "Spider-Man" defined and cast the iconic mold for Steve Ditko’s 1962 comic book tale, this film takes the definition and rewrites it to include a charming cast and a sense of pacing separate from the classic, or orthodox, telling of the story. What results is a superhero origin story custom built for the world and created on screen by director Marc Webb and his crew.
Garfield is perfect for the role of Peter Parker because while he can accomplish the outsider, alternative-kid thing, he can also pipe up and nail those moments of strength and charm the character displays at times.
Maguire could never do that. Instead, he kept Parker in a box and played the pathetic card way too hard.
Stone as Gwen Stacy, the original girlfriend of Spider-Man, possesses way more energy, vibrancy and sex appeal than Dunst’s shrill appearance ever did.
Martin Sheen’s Ben Parker has the right amount of backbone. Even Ifans nails the villainy as well as sympathy associated with Dr. Curt Connors.
The cast makes this movie and really propels this bled-dry narrative into a new area in which the tone is much more youthful and exhilarating. There are a few plot holes along the way as well as some poor mechanics to move things forward, but those elements end up overlooked when you consider the style and punch that make up this picture.
There’s a more specific, stylized world on camera here, and that world is decorated in well-shot and well-composed action sequences that far surpass anything the other movies ever possessed.
I mean, just the web-swinging in this picture makes it worth the money. Webb puts you on the end of the web line, over the top of New York’s concrete jungle.
It’s not a daring film, nor is it anything beyond what the superhero genre seems to offer in movies. But neither is it a poor, misdirected mess. Compared to the other attempts, I would say "The Amazing Spider-Man" sits as the best portrayal of the classic story on screen, and by capturing all of the key components, it holds together as a nice, complete piece.