Random Thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man (Not a Review!)

Comic-book nerds around the world were polarized going into The Amazing Spider-Man. Some felt that it was too soon to reboot the franchise. Others were excited by the potential of a new cast and crew. Last week, I attended a Spider-Man screening thanks to my pal at Marvel. I enjoyed the movie, but wanted a little time to put it in perspective. After some thought, I feel that it’s a very good superhero movie that’s not quite great. Compared to recent spandex adventures, it’s not as good as The Avengers or the Iron Man movies. Compared to the three previous Spidey movies, I’d say it’s better than all of them save for Spider-Man 2. The rebooted Spider-Man is off to a great start, but the movie had one major weak point. Here are some random thoughts (not a review!) on The Amazing Spider-Man.

Andrew Garfield Kicks Tobey Maguire’s Ass: For the most part, Andrew Garfield was wonderful as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. His version of the wall-crawler felt fresh and current. Tobey Maguire is a fine actor, but I never really loved him as Spider-Man. After getting past the whole Facebook thing, I really enjoyed Garfield’s performance. He did a great job at displaying a wide range of emotions — vulnerability, strength, uncertainty, etc. He was a hero that was easy to identify with (and he went on to be a founder of Facebook!).

That’s not to say he was perfect. One of my favorite aspects of Spider-Man is his overuse of humor to deal with threatening situations. There was only one scene where I got a good sense of that. There were a few Peter Parker scenes where Garfield was over-emoting and shaking his head to the point of being distracting. Like the movie in general, Garfield is off to a very good start and has room for improvement. Also like the movie in general, he was better than his predecessor.

Emma Stone Kicks Kirsten Dunst’s Ass: This one was tough for me to admit. I adored Kirsten Dunst in Bring it On. I interviewed her once and found her to be very charming. I just didn’t like her as Mary Jane Watson — not enough of an edge. I’ve been an Emma Stone fan since Superbad. She performed exactly as I expected her too in The Amazing Spider-Man — cool, cute, awkward, and edgy at the same time.

Her character was given aspects that were a bit too convenient, but none of that is her fault. She did a great job with what she was given. Emma Stone was simply charming in this movie.

The Chemistry: Garfield and Stone had great chemistry onscreen…which helps explain why they’re currently boning offscreen. Maguire and Dunst come off as flaccid by comparison. The chemistry helped their scenes come off more powerfully and believably.

CG and Posing: The Spider-Man CG was fantastic, which was to be expected given advancements in technology. There wasn’t much in the way of breathtaking 3D, but the scenes of Spidey swinging around the city and fighting baddies were more than thrilling enough. One of my friends from Sony mentioned that there were a lot of cool Spidey poses. He was on the money with that comment. A lot of poses and moves that are considered Spider-Man’s signatures are found in the movie. Very cool stuff.

The Lizard: Now for the movie’s weak point — the villain. In the comic books, The Lizard was always kind of lame. A giant walking lizard wearing a lab coat?!? I suppose that’s literally scary (lab coats are menacing) but it seems silly by 2012 movie standards. The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man had some slick CG, but still came off as ridiculous. Rhys Ifans did a decent job with what he was given, but he was weak compared to Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin and (especially) Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus. In fact, the latter is really the measuring stick. Doc Ock is kind of a silly character, but Molina utterly owned that role. Ifans was merely serviceable.

Part of the problem was that several great Spider-Man baddies were already used. I already mentioned Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. Venom and Sandman have already appeared in the previous movies. The Vulture is arguably more ridiculous than The Lizard. Do you go with Kraven the Hunter? Personally, I would have preferred the rebooted Spider-Man to battle bank robbers, muggers, etc. That would have left more room for characterization and relationships. Of course there’s pressure to include a super villain to combat the superhero, but the villain was the movie’s biggest weakness.

Conclusion: I enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man. Admittedly, my expectations weren’t super-high or anything, especially coming off the outstanding Avengers. The cast is more talented than their predecessors and the crew is working with better tech. For the most part, I liked it better than the previous Spider-Man movies, except for Spider-Man 2 with Alfred Molina’s incredible performance.

When you see The Amazing Spider-Man, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the movie. Did you dig it? How do you think it stacks up against Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy?

Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV

32 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man (Not a Review!)”

  1. I wanted to watch this movie yesterday, but never got around to it. I'm planning on watching it on Friday, but I've been going back and forth whether I should see it in 3D or not. On one hand, swinging through NY would be cool to see in 3D, on the other hand, I don't know if the rest of the movie is worth the extra $6-$8 (for two people).

    Any thoughts?

    -M

      1. Agree with rpad saw this imax 3-D and it doesnt kick until the last 30-40 mins. Save ur $$

    1. Now I know I'm going to like this movie. For some reason, I think that our likes in entertainment seem to be polar opposites.

      Ang Lee's Hulk was the second-worst superhero movie I've seen next to Batman & Robin.

      -M

      1. For what it's worth I really hated Ang Lee's Hulk movie as well.Then again I'm sure a FF8 hater might really like this new SpidermanSent from a device with horrible AT&T service.

  2. " Carnage and Sandman have already appeared in the previous movies."

    Carnage was never in a Spiderman movie. Did you mean Venom?

      1. Technically Venom was in Spiderman 3 but I don't count that. Don't forget about the Shocker, Electro, Scorpion, and Rhino.

  3. I just find it funny that, 2012, men want to a see movie about teddy bears and women want to see movies about strippers.

  4. I totally feel this spiderman was better than the first and third like rpad noted. Also didnt feel like the lizard was all that great of a villain to put he seemed like a great sub-villain; i think they have a good foundation going and would love to see the trilogy build to something. I would love to see it build up like spider-man going up against the ultimate six (sinister 6) by the end of the trilogy.

      1. But i think he is still a sub villain if they plan on building this into a trilogy. The foundation or set up is there. I dont want to spoilarz or anything but the clues are there.

      2. The guy at the end is not who you (probably) think he is. There was actually a lot of stuff taken out of the movie that would have made it more interesting. From what I've read, they're saving those plot points for the sequel. All that said, Lizard is the primary villain for this particular movie and he was lacking.

      3. Oh no i know it wasnt but the foreshadowing is there an throughout the film. Now i want to see the stuff taken out of the movie!

    1. What's wrong with it, specifically. I've read a few reviews that say that swinging around the city is great, but the combat and camera is a bit wonky (like most other spider-man games, I guess).

      -M

      1. I didn't particularly care for the swinging around but I never even made it to the open world part of it. The voice acting was terrible as were the animations. The cut-scenes felt like a very early PS3 title maybe even late PS2. The camera is always in the worst possible position. The fighting wasn't horrific, it was a much easier version of Batman because timing just doesn't matter on the counters.

        I played the game for around 20 minutes, until I beat the first boss. Aiming sucks and the controls are unintuitive. I couldn't find even one redeeming quality of the game. After I played it I began to look up reviews and IGN surprised me with their review about how horrible everything is but gave it a 7/10 because of the swinging around.

      2. I was a bit more hopeful for this one than your average movie-tie in game since Beenox Studios did the last two regular Spider-Man games, but since Activision pumps these out on an annual clip (which, I think, is the only way they know how to do things – beat it till it's dead) I was hoping the mechanics should have at least been solidly established thanks to their previous efforts in the series.

  5. Speaking of games, Kingdoms of Amulur is gonna be 10 bucks at best buy next month!!!!

  6. I saw the movie last weekend in 3D (not because I wanted to, but because I had to, since the 2D times were unavailable at the time I needed) and I have to say that it was pretty good. I agree with you that it was not worth it in 3D. Ideally, I would like to watch the movie again to make a better judgment, but from what I saw, I'd give the movie a solid B+. Garfield is a better Spider-Man than Tobey. Also, the chick who played Gwen Stacy is a better Gwen Stacy than Kristen Dunst is MJ. The acting was solid. Dennis Leary is always fun to watch.

    If you really want an A+ script, you need to get either (or a combination) Peter David, Brian Bendis, and/or Mike Straczynski. I would get Jon Favreau or Joss Whedon to direct since they seem to understand the vision of the Marvel universe and can make it come to life better than anybody else.

    By the way, who was that person in Connor's cell during the credits?

    -M

    1. That's up for debate, but the director said that it's not Norman Osbourne. Also, where do you think it ranks with the other three Spider-Man movies?

      1. That's a tough question, since it felt so different than the previous three. It's almost like an "apples to oranges" comparison. Ultimately, I think it has to be 1st or 2nd rank for me. Everyone clamors about Spider-Man 2, but I thought the first was better. Willem DaFoe really brought Norman Osborne and The Green Goblin to life very well, whereas if it wasn't for the Ultimate version of Doc Ock (from the comics), I would say that the character ranks right up there with the Lizard: weak. Don't get me wrong; Molina did a great job, but I just don't consider Octavius to be an A-list villain (with the exception of the Ultimate universe). Also, I didn't care much for the "Spider-Man-No-More" sub-plot. It was done better in the comics. I think that Tobey McGuire makes an O.K. high-school version of Peter Parker, but Garfield makes a way better Spider-Man. His personality is more accurate. Also to note: mechanical web shooters > organic web shooters.

        So, the top two are Spider-Man 1 and Amazing Spider-Man (not necessarily in that order) with S-M 2 firmly entrenched in third place… and … I don't even want to mention the atrocity that was 3. Todd McFarlane deserves better than that.

        -M

    2. Would you happen to be a Babylon 5 fan? You mentioning Straczynski makes me ask…in addition to recently finishing Mass Effect 3 which I felt was VERY close to Babylon 5.

      1. I KNEW someone was going to mention Babylon 5 when I mentioned Straczynski. I haven't really seen the series, so I wouldn't have an opinion on it, but I am a huge Star Trek nerd. I also haven't played any Mass Effect game (although 1&2 are sitting on my shelf since my brother-in-law let me borrow it).

        The reason I mentioned Strac was solely based on the work he did on Amazing Spider-Man ten years ago (or so) up until 2007. During those years he wrote "The Other" which was a very interesting graphic novel and I thought that a guy like that is the one that you'd want to pen a script for a Spider-Man movie. If the guy can put a new twist on a 50-year-old character (and make it work), then I would definitely want him on my fantasy writers team.

        -M

      2. I, however, am a huge Babylon 5 mark, as well as a big Mass Effect fan. The difference between ME3 and B5, is that B5 knew how to wrap up an "unwinnable war" story in the right way, even being forced to wrap it up a year earlier than expected because they didn't think they were going to get a 5th season, where as the team at Bioware (read: Mac Walters & Casey Hudson) could have stood to "borrow" a little more of that in their ending. That being said, most of the 5th season of B5 was crap because it was clear they'd shot their load with the Shadow War and didn't know where to go from there.

      3. Def agree. Seeing the humans pretty much become Vorlons was great.I kind of wish that ME3 had only a single ending. Having 3, or 4 if you count refusal, wasn't a good idea for the conclusion. That said did you have a preference?Sent from a device with horrible AT&T service.

      4. Destroy was my favorite. This coming from a "mostly" Paragon player. I hated the whole star child thing so much I just wanted to kill it. Synthesis is by far the worst though, as you're basically giving the reapers everything they ever wanted.

        Even Babylon 5 wasn't exactly "original," considering it's a sci-fi retelling of The Lord of the Rings. Even some of the lines are directly "borrowed," such as G'Kar saying King Theodas's line of "So it begins." So in a way, the destroy ending of ME3 on the Citadel was more of less Shepard throwing the ring of power in to the fires of Mt Doom, consequences be damned.

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