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July 9, 2012

After listening to teenage boys discuss the movie (their opinion: slow, slow beginning and then it got good), and then seeing The Amazing Spider-Man in 3-D, IMAX, I was amused, not just because I thought the beginning was fantastic and then it got CGI but still –ahem- amazing, but that the boys I listened to remember parts that weren’t in the movie at all or that totally misunderstood what was there (a fascinating look into how teenagers think).  This paragraph is a complete aside from the review I’m about to give, by the way.

(Minor spoiler alert)

What a great movie.  Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker was more fun than Spider-Man; he nailed the awkward, brainy, geeky bully-target that we all were in High School. For me, the first act and-a-half were the best.  The geek thing.  The family thing.  The guy-girl thing with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. All of it wonderful.  The director nailed the relational tension between Peter, who’s gotten dumped on all his life, and Gwen of the silver-spoon set who fall into an awkward, intense first-love romance.  Really, every character rang true.  Rare in a movie, these days.

Spectacular effects, brilliant discoveries of his abilities, really, really great.

Comic book movies always suffer because of the CGI characters.  The technology now is amazing, but it’s still CGI and for me there is no way to get away from that.  Still, the Lizard was menacing and creepy, and unlike the Edward Norton Hulk, which just blew the last 40 minutes with a CGI slugfest, this movie carefully wrapped human drama into the fight.

Probably the crowning touch for geeky me is the casting of the character Ratha, the guy pressuring Connors to speed up the trials to save Norman Osborn.  I’m certain he was cast solely because he looks like the living embodiment of Steve Ditko’s art with bulgy eyes and boxy heads.  As the first artist defining Spider-Man’s look, this was an homage that maybe five of us moviegoers got.


Several directorial choices made that lent more believability to this film included:

  • The wall-crawling acrobatics had more weight and effort than in the previous films, avoiding (mostly) the cartoonish animation that made Maguire Spidey seem to be weightless.
  • Mechanical web-shooters (which is funny, because the genetically modified spiders were designed to emit super-strong webbing, not to bestow strength and speed.)
  • Giving a nod to comic book history without getting bogged down by it (the wrestling ring scene evokes the spirit of the original, for example, without dwelling on it.)

At the same time, there were some odd choices that I suspect were caused by deleting scenes.  In fact, I think an entire story line was left on the cutting room floor.  I’m hoping for a director’s cut that gives us the three hour movie.  The trailer has pieces of several deleted scene and I’m sure there are a lot more that explain:

  • What happened with Rasha?  After getting away from the Lizard on the bridge, we never see him again (deleted scene or fodder for the next film?  A bit clunky.)
  • Peter never found his Uncle’s killer.
  • Why did the spider bite give him powers and how did he survive when all other cross-species fusions died.  How is it that he had the formula in him?  Was Daddy experimenting on little Peter?  I think so…

The second thing that sealed this movie as a classic was Garfield being a perfect mix of my nephew Spencer and Josh Yandell; a great blend of geek, cool, and quirky (you decide which kid contributed which trait).

Finally, the identity of the disappearing bad guy in the ending credit’s Easter Egg:  While Spidey doesn’t have any high-profile intangible, invisible or teleporting bad guys, he does have a heavy-weight illusionist.  It would be a stretch for Mysterio to be working for Norman Osborn or be otherwise connected to the Lizard, but he’s my choice for the mystery visitor (I’m presuming Vulture and Mysterio will be the next movie’s bad guys; the alternative is Tinkerer and Green Goblin, but one is too limited and the other’s been used).

This movie joins Avengers and Dark Knight as the best of the genre.  Agree or disagree?

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 12, 2012 10:01 pm

    Okay, we went to see Spiderman in 3D and IMAX tonight, so I was looking forward to your take on the movie. Nice post. My opinion – Wow! What a great movie. I can hardly believe how much I liked it. My new question – Tobey Who? Yeah, Andrew really nailed it for me. Love the geek and first love awkward romance. Loved Emma Stone – never really cared for Mary Jane portrayal in the other series.

    I, too, was wondering if Peter was going to get back on with his obsession of his uncle’s killer and I also wondered why Peter didn’t die. I was surprised Peter had to manufacture the webbing, but I didn’t dwell on it. More to come in the second film I suppose.

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