I finally got around to seeing The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s not for a lack of interest in the character; Spider-Man has been among my favorites for as long as I can remember. The unfortunate combination of being really busy and being fearful of what a post-Sam Raimi Spider-Man film series would be like made me put off seeing the latest film until this week.
The new movie rehashed the whole Peter Parker becomes the Spider-Man plot with a few modifications. Peter’s dad was a research scientist for Oscorp who mysteriously was killed, with the assumption that this happened at Norman Osborn’s bequest. Peter goes on to be raised by his aunt and uncle as an awkward teenager, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and becomes a vigilante after his actions indirectly lead to the murder of his Uncle Ben. This pretty much took up two-third of the film. From then on, it’s up to Peter and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy to stop an Oscorp scientist (who used to work with Peter’s father) that’s turned himself into a lizard monster from turning everyone in Manhattan into a lizard monster.
The plot was kinda flimsy but it worked. But the biggest problem was how unlikable Andrew Garfield was as Spider-Man. This I blame not so much on him, but no the writing and directing. One of the cornerstones of the whole Spider-Man mythos is how strong Peter’s relationship with Uncle Ben and Aunt May is. In the movie, they pretty much considered him a burden and Peter wanted nothing to do with them. Garfield’s take on
Peter wasn’t as much the shy, introspective type, but more so of a jerk. One of the reasons why that Peter is an enduring character is that he reminds us of how shy and insecure we are. But Garfield was just a too.There was way too much teenage angst in this film for my liking. I felt glad when Flash Thompson picked on him. Again, this isn’t to say that Garfield wasn’t an acceptable Peter Parker. There was just a lot of unfortunate dialogue and character development. If there’s anything to complain about Garfield is that he’s about ten years too old to be playing a character in high school.
The other thing that didn’t work for me was how they really geared this film to a generation to a generation of teenage girls who grew up reading Twilight books. They were really pushing the whole romance angle between Peter and Gwen, more-so than Peter overcoming everything to become a hero and dealing with the ever-increasing dilemmas of having a secret life.
That said, I’m not completely down on this movie. The fight sequences and special effects (although over-relied upon) were really well done. Emma Stone’s Gwen and Dennis Leary as her father, Detective Stacy, really carried the movie, especially Stone.
Ultimately, The Amazing Spider-Man was a decent film that needed some improvements, mostly making its protagonist someone you could actually connect with on some level. Hopefully they will get that resolved for the 2014 sequel. And if they want to completely reboot the series, I’m sure Donald Glover would be interested.