Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

There's a scene in the middle of the film where Aunt May tells a badly bruised Peter that secrets have a cost. The good news is people suck at keeping secrets in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Marc Webb's sophomore feature. 

I have respect for Sam Raimi's trilogy and he put the superhero genre back on the map, sketching a path for films which followed. But let's face it, Tobey Maguire's Spider Man is a wimpy cry-baby and his portrayal of nerdy Peter Parker was quite cliched. The movies became unbearably melodramatic at times. I think we all agree that Part 2 was the best, and Part 3 the worst. If there's one thing that's common in Raimi's trilogy, it is that people kept secrets from each other and entire scenes were built around the little reveals. That never happens in the new movie. 

Garfield's Spidey is shown to be very powerful and capable of doing wonderful things. But his lean body frame gives him this vulnerability which works in his favor. Unlike Maguire, he isn't a complete loser before being bitten. Yet, he oddly has no friends at all. The movie is more a character study about how he comes around to use his new found powers for the better of the people. Yikes, I feel like I am defending the movie even though it hasn't given me many reasons to. It is fairly predictable, but close to the end, the people of New York are shown helping Spider-Man and that was one scene which worked on an emotional level. I cannot recall having a moment like that in any of the Raimi movies. 

If you have seen the trailers or read articles about the film, one issue was often being highlighted: that Peter just couldn't keep the bloody mask on his face. Yes, that's true but it actually works better. One thing I learnt is that Andrew Garfield is the go-to guy for algorithms. There's a scene highly reminiscent of The Social Network where Parker produces an equation for Dr. Curt Connors, that will help replicate physical traits of a reptile. What doesn't work is how the guy who couldn't speak a sentence properly becomes this talkative punk when he puts his suit on. I know from cartoons that Spidey talks a lot, but I prefer the silent Maguire way of going about work. I mean, I wouldn't mind if he was being funny, but he is talking sweet nothings to a giant lizard. 

I didn't think much of the action scenes. I would disagree with anyone who says there's only as much you can do with Spider Man. Besides swinging, which does look pretty cool in 3D, there is nothing memorable about the action. Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is hip and a welcome respite from the slutty Mary Jane Watson who changed 8 hands in 3 movies. There's nothing about Bugle yet. 

It may be better written film, but don't believe the crap about this being an untold story. It takes a tiny detour and comes back to the same spot and the Raimi movies. A little bit of humor would have helped. If you haven't seen the previous trilogy, this will be highly entertaining. But since everyone has, they won't find it amazing in any way. Old wine in a new, better looking, three dimensional bottle is what this is.