I decided to re-watch THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN to get in the mood for the sequel. It’s now the 3rd time I’ve seen the movie and I still don’t know how I feel about it. There’s a lot to like and then there’s a lot to not like. 

I think we all know the story by now; Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is bitten by a radioactive spider and gets superhuman strength and abilities. While fighting crime in New York, he also has to struggle with family and girlfriend issues. 

Given that this reboot comes so soon after the Sam Raimi trilogy it’s hard not to compare them. I still feel that SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004) is the best of all of them, but there are still elements of that one I’m not completely in love with. 

But back to the reboot. 

Let’s start with the good…I think tonally the film is much better. It doesn’t need to be as dark as say THE DARK KNIGHT, so I like the fact that Marc Webb’s version is a little more grounded and less precious. I also like the casting better. Andrew Garfield feels more akin to what I envisioned Peter Parker to be like and Emma Stone is quite good as Gwen Stacy. The other supporting cast, which includes Martin Sheen, Dennis Leary and Sally Field, add weightier meat to the bone and feel well cast for their roles. 

Now the bad…Did we REALLY need a retelling of the origin story? By now there’s not a single person on this planet that doesn’t know Spider-Man’s origin. It could have been wrapped up in 5 minutes at the beginning but instead a good chunk of the movie is spent rehashing stuff that we know all too well and it drags down the narrative.

Secondly, there’s too much CGI. I was under the impression that this version was going to rely more on practical effects to give us a more visceral approach, but it turns into a huge SPFX bonanza and it pulls me out of the story.

Lastly, there are a number of story logic issues that still bother me and the more I see the film, the more obvious they become. I wish they’d spent a little more time on the script to iron that out. 

All in all, I still feel they haven’t made the ultimate Spider-Man film yet and I’m beginning to feel like it may never come. I’m seeing the sequel tomorrow morning and I’ll let you know if they’ve managed a miracle. Keep your fingers crossed, true believers.

MAY 1, 2014


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