REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man

"Easily the best SPIDER-MAN film to date."

By now we all know the story of Peter Parker--bitten by a radioactive spider and so on--so there's really no need to get into all of that.  Director Marc Webb takes a different route than Sam Raimi did (a wondrous step in the right direction if you ask me) and the result is a darker, grittier SPIDER-MAN who in turn lands closer to the comic books root of the character we all know and love.  I know, I know, it sucks that we get a rebooted origin story, but it's not as hard to sit through as you might think.  The real question is: does it work?  And yes folks, like the title boats, this SPIDER-MAN is quite amazing.

I grew up collecting Spider-Man comics, and coincidentally the first issue I ever bought was THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 313 which features the Lizard.  Truth be known, I never really cared much for Curt Connors and his one armed man whining, but that's mostly due to the fact that, in the comics, he's a mindless beast which really hurts the one-on-one time most people enjoy through hero/villain banter.  In this film however, the good news is that they take the Lizard back to his original cartoon roots (yes, that, terribly old cartoon).  Webb and company did their homework because a talking Lizard is far more engaging than a mute one.  Now in the area of CGI, well, sure he doesn't look one hundred percent real, but it's well done and although he does look like a Goomba from the atrocious SUPER MARIO movie, in his defense, he also looks very similar to his old-school cartoon counterpart which in my book earns him some points.

The heart and soul of this film goes to Andrew Garfield as he mastered the roles of both a troubled and angry Peter Parker as well as a duty bound and heroic Spider-Man.  Garfield's love of the character and source material makes him the perfect choice; you see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice and feel it in his actions.  This guy was destined to play this role.  Emma Stone rocks as Gwen Stacy, her personality and girl next door "wow factor" are enough to charm the pants off anyone.  I never liked the relationship between Tobey Maguire's Peter and Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane, it felt forced and cold at the best of times and it in no way was reminiscent of the comics.  There probably wasn't many people more stoked than me when the news of Maguire's SPIDER-MAN hitting the big screen came a calling (trust me, I watched that damn trailer a least a hundred times).  Hell, I still remember that false trailer from back in the day with Spider-Man and Doc Ock battling it out on the wing of an airplane.  I loved the fact that Spidey came to the big screen and Raimi's trilogy will always have a special place in my heart (granted part 3's special place is closer to my colon), but I was hopeful that this film would do things right and it did on so many levels.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is everything a summer superhero blockbuster should be and then some.  The tone is being labelled "Nolan-esque" and so what if it is, the man revolutionized the way we view comic book films and should be proud to have had the influence he has on the genre.  Some people think it's too dark for Spidey but I disagree.  Peter Parker's life is not sunshine and rainbows, he's getting kicked in the face at every turn and no matter how hard he tries his loved ones always get hurt because of it.  It's not easy being Spider-Man and sometimes it's downright gloomy.  I'm happy to see this acknowledged here, as well as, a more down to earth and practical venue when it comes to his gear.  Peter built his web shooters in the comics (a real sore spot for fan boys in regards to the Raimi films) and honestly, though it's not a huge deal, it's still nice to see them present it in the right fashion.  Also, Garfield's acrobatic skills pay off here as well, making Spidey's dexterity look phenomenal in every way possible.  I also loved the realism as far as web swinging was concerned; no more spinning web lines into "the sky" and swinging nonchalantly.  Here, he's actually swinging from tangible surfaces or not at all.  Physics 1, Ridiculousness 0.  I can't and won't compare this to THE AVENGERS or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES as they're all their own beasts, but I'll say this for sure, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a superb entry in this wondrous franchise and promises many a grand adventure to come.

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