Canister X Movie Review #2: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves
Directed by Marc Webb
Runtime 136 min.
4 out of 5
After getting bitten by a genetically-modified spider, teenager Peter Parker discovers he has spider-like abilities. However, after looking into his past, he meets Dr. Conors and becomes the scientist’s pupil. When Peter’s uncle is murdered in cold blood, he uses his new spider abilities to try and track down the killer and ends up creating an alternate identity in the process. Meanwhile, Dr. Conors’s own limb-regeneration experiments goes haywire and the good doctor is transformed into a giant lizard. Peter, now under the identity of Spider-Man, takes it upon himself to stop the Lizard at all costs before others get hurt.
When I first heard they were rebooting Spider-Man, I was like, “Come on, really? You just did that in the movies, the cartoons, in the comics . . .” It seems Spider-Man has only one story to tell: his origin. They keep doing it, after all.
But I got something more than that in The Amazing Spider-Man and I was won over. While I enjoyed the Raimi films on the whole, this one seemed more comic book Spider-Man to me as they dialed back the clock all the way to his childhood and got a bit more into Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield’s) parents’ history, introduced Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and went with a villain that fans have been itching to see ever since his civilian identity was mentioned back in the 2002 Spider-Man movie: Dr. Conors aka the Lizard (Rhys Ifans). While Spidey’s origin stayed true to its main components—getting bitten by a spider, Peter Parker as a student, the tragic death of Uncle Ben—they modernized it a bit and seemed to suggest that, kind of like in the 2003 Hulk movie, our hero’s destiny was mapped out for him many years before. This part I wasn’t too keen on, to be honest, nor was I big on how the Peter Parker side of things was done: pretty cool dude, likeable, good looking, hot girlfriend, etc. Pretty much the opposite of nerdy Parker becoming a superhero.
However, on the Spider-Man side of things, we got one wicked webcrawler on our hands. We’ve got three movies prior to this one to learn how to make him move, swing around, climb walls, spin webs—everything that was showcased in this flick was like a comic book come to life. What made it work, too, was that it was believable and didn’t look like a 3D cartoon unlike some sequences in 2002’s Spider-Man. What made it even more special was that this Spider-Man actually cracked a lot of jokes, something that was missing for the most part from the other outings. And the Spider-Man-point-of-view wall crawling and swinging around scenes? Yes, please! Totally made you feel like you were there and reminded me a lot of the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios in Florida. Bring back the mechanical webshooters instead of the organic variety (I didn’t mind those, actually, as it makes more sense), and Spider-Man is back in business, baby!
The stakes were high in this movie, too, with the Lizard being a serious bad guy to contend with. He was strong, powerful, showed no mercy, and that sewer scene was spooky.
This movie was a lay-the-groundwork movie, setting things up for what is currently rumored to be three sequels and, according to director Marc Webb, aiming for the Sinister Six storyline, which was being mapped out even while they were making this Spider-Man movie. I can’t wait. A giant Spider-Man story is going to be awesome and I’m glad they started from scratch to make it happen as they can then link everything together, starting from scene one.
So what can I say? I’ve been pulled to the other side and am glad they rebooted Spider-Man. A part of me can’t help but wonder what might’ve been had Spider-Man 4 happened, but this new journey we’re on with our favorite webhead is off to a good start.