Friday, July 6, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman movie review.

Most would probably look to Chris Nolan's intense and morally complex The Dark Knight as the pinnacle of the superhero genre (which it arguably is), but if you ask me, the Spiderman films from quirky director Sam Raimi were what validated the genre in the first place. With an expert mix of sincere emotion, stylistic action, and just the right amount of Raimi's trademark goofiness, Spiderman and its superior sequel saw the genre at its most entertaining. After the disastrously disappointing Spiderman 3, it seemed like an odd move for Sony to reboot the series so quickly. But what the newly released The Amazing Spiderman may lack in the same creativity, it makes up for with heart and scale.

Peter Parker is your not quite average high school kid. He struggles with bullies at school, his feelings for Gwen Stacy, and trying to figure out the secrets of his deceased father, a former scientist at Oscorp who worked with Dr. Curt Connors, a man trying to invent a serum that would restore the amputated limbs of many people, including his own arm. Searching for answers, he is bitten by a genetic spider that gives him superhuman abilities, and through a series of events that take place, Spiderman as we now know him is born. But it isn't long after Peter takes up his job as the masked webslinger that complications arise, becoming sought after by the NYPD as a vigilante, and facing off with Connors, whose serum has transformed him into the hideous Lizard.

Look, it's hard not to compare this to Raimi's first Spiderman film, especially when it revisits a lot of the same plot points, but it still provides its own uniqueness on the hero. Fun, funny, and superbly realized, The Amazing Spiderman also drags occasionally, and leaves several loose ends that may frustrate some viewers, or maybe just leave them scratching their heads. Action is also surprisingly spread out in light doses, but thankfully so in how it lets the story flow so smoothly. Marc Webb, director of the sleeper hit (500) Days of Summer, wouldn't appear to be the obvious choice for this movie, but you really begin to understand why he was chosen as the movie moves along.

Garifled and Stone as Peter and Gwen create a chemistry too good to ignore.
At the core of this movie is the irresistible love story between Peter and Gwen, delicately played by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. This movie was what apparently led to the two stars becoming a real life couple, and it's easy to see why, because they share chemistry that makes the love feel genuine. The acting is uniformly good, from Garfield and Stone especially. The supporting performances from Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, and Martin Sheen are excellent, although I can't help but wish they'd have given Leary and his character George Stacy, Gwen's father and a captain of the NYPD, more on screen time.

Technically, the film is excellent. The editing, though occasionally sluggish, is still carefully handled by Alan Bell and Pietro Scalia. The effects supervised by Jerome Chen are pretty stellar, and Shannon Mills and Addison Teague provide creative and robust sound effects. Prepare to be blown away by composer James Horner, who gives us his greatest musical score since that of Titanic, a thematically rich and proudly old fashioned throwback complete with a heroic, and memorable main theme. It truly is spectacular, barely surpassing Danny Elfman's music for Raimi's movies in the process.

In short, though it's really not something I'm encouraging anyone to look too deeply into, did we really need this movie so soon after the originals? Maybe we didn't, but for what it is, you can't exacly fault it for not quite living up to high expectations when it still is pretty entertaining. Not as amazing as the title may imply, but close enough.

**** / *****

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