The Amazing Spider-Man: a gem overshadowed by The Avengers and The Dark Knight

by Bags Hooper on November 21, 2012 · 8 comments

in Blu-ray Reviews, DVD & Blu-ray Reviews, Film & Movies, Spider-Man

Of the three major superhero movies that hit the cinema in 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man fell under the radar of most moviegoers. For most, the movie came too soon after the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man. Sullied by the cheese ball aftertaste of Spider-Man 3 – Spidey fans hung up their webbed intrigue in favor of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

Their loss.

Introducing a new Peter Parker in Andrew Garfield and a reworked Spider-Man origin story helmed by (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man presented an ostensibly better wall crawler tale than its predecessors. A darker world, better acting and chemistry between Garfield and his co-star Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy) made this Spidey tale a delightful popcorn flick. Gone were the circus costumes of the Green Goblin and the emotionally bland scenes with Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. The new movie focused on real problems with grayed lines of good and evil. Rhys Ifans, as The Lizard / Dr. Curt Connors, wasn’t a canned villain. Instead, he was a father figure for Peter, driven by the desire to fix himself (he was physically missing his right forearm) and create a world of equals.

The movie began with a Peter Parker who wasn’t a one-dimensional nerd. As a child Peter was abandoned – without reason – by his parents and left in the care of his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Instead of a cliché geek, Peter was more of a loner, which motivated his social awkwardness. The story pushed Spidey into the modern world, filled with technology. Peter doesn’t just have a lock on his bedroom door, but rather has a remote control lock. He doesn’t use webbing from his hands, but rather designs web cartridges that shoot super-strong webbing. These subtle changes gave us a smarter Peter, one that could rival his love interest Gwen.

While the movie does focus a lot on the relationship between Peter and Gwen, none of the scenes feel painful to watch. This stands in sharp contrast to the Maguire-Dunst relationship, which always brought a cringe. The relationship sequences blend in well with the action. Gwen truly fears for Peter’s safety and understands the danger of crime fighting because her father (Denis Leary, Rescue Me) is a police captain. The action scenes, several of which are done mostly in CG, still feel realistic and are filled with adrenaline.

Although CG was used for the lizard, rather than a costume, the special effects looked more realistic than the Green Goblin’s metal suit in the prior trilogy. Ifans as the broken Dr. Connors became the tragic villain.

There’s something especially poignant about watching the tail end of the film. With the New Jersey/New York coast battered from Hurricane Sandy, it’s great to watch a film that reminds us of the indomitable spirit of New York’s blue-collar class. The union workers who band together to join Spidey become the real heroes as well as the super-powerless police officers that are willing to risk their lives for the greater good. Unfortunately, if you are a New Yorker, you’ll notice several art direction problems with the subway stations and other key locales, which snap out of the film.

The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray release comes packed with an over abundance of bonus features. The second screen app gives your mind a chance to wander into Spidey’s world as you watch the movie in real time. “Rite of Passage” is a 90-minute documentary on the movie, broken down into several featurettes. The mini-doc starts with the decision to abandon Spider-Man 4 sometime into the fourth film’s development and instead choose to reboot the franchise.

Pre-Visualization Sequences and Image Progression reels show you how the film is taken from animatics and storyboards to the final picture. You’ll also get to see how the CG fight scenes were developed. The featurette on the Stunt Rehearsals is a little spotty. You’ll see the fight choreographers and stunt actors perform scenes like the lizard fights and the subway sequence, but there’s no narration or dialogue with the choreographers and stuntmen to walk you through what’s going on during the rehearsal.

The Amazing Spider-Man is an excellent reboot to a time-tested tale. Although we had three Spidey movies already in the past decade, this Spider-Man feels much more authentic thanks to Garfield and Stone. The consequences are bigger in this film and open the story up to a healthy ripple of story arcs throughout the next few Spidey flicks.

The Amazing Spider-Man [Blu-ray]

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field, Martin Sheen
Directed by: Marc Webb
Writers: James Vanderbilt
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: November 9, 2012

Rating:
8 / 10
  • Nahuel

    Please, this movie sucked in every way, it was nowhere near the avengers or the dark knight rises or even the previous spider man movies.

  • Mr. B

    I think Spider-Man 3 ruined the trilogy for like nobody.
    You can easily stop watching after SM 2, if u want. It’s a great end. ;)
    And it’s not like everyone hates Spider-Man 3.

    What you really mean: Garfield and Stone are more attractive and thats why i like their relationship more.

    And this review is a joke, btw.
    “emotionally bland scenes with Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. The new movie focused on real problems”
    What movies did you watch?

  • Anonymous

    How does the romance seem more believable? Is it just because Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are dating in real life? The romance is more idealized in “The Amazing Spider-Man” than the Raimi movies with no real obstacles preventing them from being together. In the Raimi movies, MJ was with Harry Osborn and almost marries the son of JJJ before she ends up with Peter. The 2002 movie ended with Peter turning his back on MJ. “The Amazing Spider-Man” could not even end the film on an ambiguous note and had to have Peter basically throw out his promise to Gwen’s dying father in no time. And the Lizard looked like a Goomba from the “Super Mario Bros.” movie and was not much more developed or better than the previous villains.

  • http://twitter.com/terryboyden Terry Boyden

    Spider-Man 2 was great. Absolutely great. But the romance scenes were bad. However, the first and third Spider-Man movies sucked big time. Willem Dafoe was a great choice for the green goblin but his dialogue AS THE GREEN GOBLIN was absolute trash. Remember him saying, “Like a moth to the flame” … ugh. Still throwing up in my mouth. His costume was designed by a 2-year old.

    Dunst-Maguire romance scenes were the real downfall for the trilogy. There was no chemistry there. Maguire was too soppy and Dunst just vacant expressions the whole time.

    Amazing Spider-Man was good. The “great” thing about it is that the relationship with Stone-Garfield seems more believable and can “potentially” make for a great Part 2. Gwen has to die at some point and we’ll feel it. If Mary J ever died in the original, no one would care.

    I think Spider-Man 3 ruined the trilogy for everyone. That and the second half of the first movie. I wish it was only the first half of Spider-Man and all of Spider-Man 2. Everything else – garrrrbage

  • Kuro

    Spider-Man 2 was epic. there is a reason why it was considered as the “best superhero movie” for a long time.
    This movie is nothing compared to the original first two. The third wasn’t good enough, yeah, but that wasn’t the reason many people watched rather TDKR or Avengers.
    TASM got mixed reviews. Many people loved the trilogy and can’t accept any other spidey than tobey. And thats ok, because this reboot really adds nothing important compared to the original one. It’s mainly Spider-Man 1 with better special effects, worse script and worse acting.

  • Clu

    Sorry, but the original tops this movie by far. TASM had too many flaws. It was a teen flick. And, the most important thing: Nobody demanded it and nobody needs it.

    Tobey nailed that nerdy side of Peter Parker. Andre Garfield reminds of Justin Bieber and Hayden Christensen.

    Emma Stone was good though.

    But Raimi is a better director than Webb.

  • Anonymous

    lol. It was just as mediocre as the first movie, except the first movie had the benefit of coming out at a time when there were not as many “origin” stories to compare it to. I keep hearing people say it is “darker” or “more realistic.” Uh, how? It is pretty much the same story as the first movie and even tries to copy some of its moments, like the funeral at the end. The scene where the New Yorkers help Spidey like the first two movies was especially contrived and laughable. They should have just skipped retelling the origin. The only “decent” Spider-Man movie is the second one, so hopefully the next movie will not be as lame.

  • B

    It was def. better than the past 3 but thats not saying much Tobey was terrible. Also Emma Stone made it easier to watch :)

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