The Amazing Spider-Man
My Grade: B+.... maybe an A-
The Amazing Spider-man is a new take on Spider-Man for the movies taking a somewhat "grittier" turn on the character than in the previous run of movies. It's been overly stated to be a "gritty reboot" since that's sort of the "trope" used these days but also overly stated.
New director, new cast, new take on the characters. It sort of adds a touch more depth and complexity to Spider-man's origins and spends a bit more time to develop things.
Peter Parker is an above average high-school student (apparently) going to an Advanced Placement high-school for the science curriculum. (Maybe, it was hard to tell as it was called a "science school" but also had your usual high school shenanigans going on it) and the twitchy, nerdy, outscast. He's tormented by the loss of his parents as a child leaving him in the care of his Aunt and Uncle (Mae and Ben) and he begins seeking out the answers to their disappearance leading him to being bit by a genetically engineered spider in an Oscorp lab. Hours later he's developed the usual powers we know Spider-Man to have, specifically the "spider-sense/reflexes", heightened agility and strength and so forth.
He becomes torn between some usual teenage angst stuff, gets into trouble with his Uncle causing him to storm out of his home and happens into an armed robbery at a convenience store he fails to stop to "get back at" the clerk who just hassled Parker on being two-cents short on buying his drink while also not being allowed to take advantage of those "share a penny" trays. As is to the origin, not stopping this robber ends up in Uncle Ben being killed by that same man, sending Parker into a guilt-fueled rage where he hunts down all similar-looking men in the area quickly getting onto the RADAR of the head of the local police Captain Stacey, father to his high-school crush.
Meanwhile back at Oscorp amputee Dr. Connors is working on a way to improve medical science using the regenerative properties of lizards, he tests a new serum on himself mutating him into The Lizard, a large raging CGI monster, now motivated to share the awesome regenerative powers with the whole city through a biological attack. Who can stop him?
The movie's plot is very schizophrenic as it gives Spider-Man at least three different goals to focus on over the course of the movie and only one of them, really, is completed. He starts out exploring the disappearance of his parents but then that's put-off when he decides to focus on the death of his Uncle Ben and tracking down the killer, that
gets put aside with The Lizard comes onto the scene and threatens New Yorkers' safety. Not to mention various other character threads that aren't completed or resolved but likely will be in any future sequels. But much of what happens in this movie leaves Peter Parker looking like a manic-depressive with a house full of half-finished projects he began in a manic phase but never bothered to finish.
The movie's own advertisements sell this as "the untold story" of Peter's past but, yet, we're never really told it beyond "his dad was into something with Dr. Connors and then disappeared."
The always lovely Emma Stone does a good job as love interest Gwen Stacey even if the bond between the two I don't think is ever really given a foundation on why it is what it is, she also appears to have a meaningful position at Oscorp in training interns or at least giving them their introductory walk through the lab. Peter has some minor scuffles with the school bully and it's a bit more fun than it was in the McGuire movie which brings us to Andrew Garfield.
I think overall he did a better job as Peter/S-M than McGuire did (who just acted corny, cheesy and then tried to "emote" a cry) but Garfield also seems to be missing a "spark." Sometimes he almost seems a bit too
nervous and twitchy, almost like he has Asperger's while also coming down off his latest hit of Meth.
No organic web-shooters, mechanical ones along with the "webbing" apparently being a substance created by his father/Dr. Connors he got a hold of (or the formula to) and a fairly satisfying "reveal" as Spider-Man to the city. No work at The Daily Bugle of J. Jonah Jameson, not just yet. No Mary Jane, either. (Really, I expected her to show up near the end and deliver the infamous, 'you've hit the jackpot!" line.)
The movie is good, saw it in 3D which was alright but nothing stood out to me as mind-blowing enough to recommend the 3D showings, but it lacks some "energy" to it as well. It also probably has the best "Forced Stan Lee Cameo" to date.
Between The Avengers and The Dark Knight Returns this is a super-hero movie that's been overlooked this year to some degree which is sort of a shame and mostly due to it being a reboot at probably to soon of a time. It really didn't need to be an origin story again. I could see them wanting to "reboot" the movie franchise to give it a more serious tone to wash off the stank of silly from the Rami movies but an origin story? Too soon. It could've started off with him early in his Spider-Man career and told us the "origin" through dialogue or flashback. We didn't need to see it again and the movie spends a good deal of time working on it.
A bit slow paced, could've been shorter but overall I think everyone does a good job and it's entertaining. Best Spider-Man movie to date? Ehhhh.... Maybe.
The first two movies have their "charm" but also I don't think thematically fit with the tone of today's super-hero movies. I might say it is, because the Rami movies I don't think have held up well, but it's also a tough call.
If you're a Spider-Man fan, go see this movie you'll probably get a kick out of it. If you're not a Spider-Man fan or a comic-book fan then skip it and wait for the DVD/BD. You can also skip the 3D.
There is also a mid-credits sequence but not a post-credits sequence.