So where do you begin to describe the latest Spider-Man movie?
It’s a reboot of a barely 10-year old movie, it has an entirely new cast, the reboot idea was globally hated by fans, and it’s probably going to be in the top 5 of best comic book movies for a decade or 2.
Yes, I said it, The Amazing Spider-Man does what Batman Begins did for the Batman franchise. It’s a love letter to Spidey and it does almost everything right.
It’s not dark and brooding, in that regard it’s not following the reboot trends of late. But this is the closest a Spider-Man movie has come to perfection.
The story is familiar and can (deservedly so) be labelled as a ‘origin’ story.
We meet up with a 5 year old Peter Parker in the opening credits, as his parents mysteriously hurry in the dead of night, to drop him at his uncle Ben and aunt May ‘for a short while when they are away’.
From there on out, we skip to Peter in highschool (played by Andrew Garfield) trying to survive.
When Peter finds his dad’s old briefcase and sees a picture of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), the last colleague his dad worked with before having a lethal plaincrash, his curiosity is peaked.
Curious as to what that relationship between them entailed, especially the scientific research they did, Peter heads on out to meet him and soon finds himself intrigued with Dr. Connors’ research into ‘cross genetic species’.
It’s right here that ‘TAS’ does something that most comicbook movies don’t dare to do. It starts changing up the origin story from the comics. And not once was I or my die-hard comicbook fans next to me annoyed by the changes made.
The cast plays a big part in lending the movie credit, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield make a far better screen couple than Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst did in the 2002 movie.
Their chemistry and acting abilities are immediately evident as the movie starts, and with a large supporting cast that’s just as talented (Martin Sheen and Sally Fields to name just two) we are off to a great start of a 136 minute rollercoaster of a movie.
When visiting Curt Connors at his office in the Oscorp tower (fans will know what that means) Peter finds himself bitten by a spider and from there on out we get a lot of familiar scenes.
But before delving into other aspects of this movie, just for the sake of it, let us try and look at it from 2 different perspectives.
Either you know Spidey or you don’t. And if you know him, there’s an easy line to draw between those who know him from the comics and those who don’t.
So for those that don’t know him in any way, shape or form: this is the end of the review.
The movie is incredibly well directed by Marc (500 Days of Summer) Webb, and as mentioned before, the performances are rock solid, and it’s definately worth purchasing a ticket for.
Now, to those who do know him, it’s time to go a bit more indepth as to what makes this movie great.
First of all, if you read the comics, rejoice people, most of what made him great in those comics, is translated onto the big screen. His sarcastic humor, his scientific abilities, his social awkwardness (yet never as over the top as it was portrayed in the old movie) and his internal motivations to don the suit.
The biggest plus of all is the fact that the actor portraying him is probably one of the most gifted ones to have come around in a while. Andrew owns this part, making Spidey a fun yet insecure character, gradually growing into his new role as the cities crimefighter.
On top of that: Gwen Stacy makes for a much better love story than MJ (Mary Jane) did in Spider-Man.
Emma holds her own with Andrew and their chemistry is undeniable.
When the sequel hits, and we all know it will, adding MJ to the story will create a lot of drama for Spidey as well. Making his love-life a very interesting storyline on its own.
The choice for the villain this time around is the long teased ‘Lizard’.
Without going into the specifics as to how he is created (most will know this anyway) the CGI done on him is mostly done right, he’s big and menacing, and on top of that he’s emotionally layered as well.
Just like every other aspect of this movie, the fact that the movie manages to show us characters with real layers, makes for a far more involved and interesting viewing.
You know Uncle Ben will die, and you know Gwen and Peter will get together, yet the impact of all these events is greatly increased by the actors and director.
Marc Webb, not being a stranger to romantic comedies and natural performances, makes the movie feel fresh.
His approach is focussed on the human aspects of it all, and it’s probably no coincidence that the love between Peter and Gwen is somewhat of a central theme throughout.
Don’t get me wrong: there’s still plenty of action on screen, yet it’s more balanced than before, and leaves a much bigger impact with us as the viewer.
If I had some sort of secret wishlist regarding Spider-Man movies, I can honestly say that most boxes have been ticked now. James Horner finally gives a Spider-Man movie a proper soundtrack, managing to create a epic and recurring instrumental themesong for Spidey himself as well.
There are references there to Norman Osborn, Flash Thompson (who is the current incarnation of Venom in the comics), Captain Stacy (Gwen’s Police Officer Dad) is there, ofcourse (this being a Marvel movie) there’s a mid-credit scene, and there are lots of other small and clever references to the Spidey universe.
So yeah: I’ll see this multiple times, I love it, and I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to Spidey.
Don’t be afraid to get dissapointed,
The only thing you’ll be dissapointed with is the fact that it’s a long wait before we see a sequel!