Amazing Spider-Man is a Worthy Reboot
I was among the first to decry the reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise. The disappointing memory of Spider-Man 3 had yet to fade and already they were announcing a new direction. When the first photos of the actual suit, my disdain only deepened.
And then the previews started trickling out and my interest was piqued. What was this about Peter’s parents? That’s an angle that hasn’t been explored properly in any of the movies, the cartoons, the games, or even the comics. Could this new take on Spider-Man actually be something actually new? By the time I saw the first full trailer in a theater, I was ready to be amazed. My nerd rage was quelled and on July 3, there I was in a crowded theater waiting for that familiar MARVEL title crawl to fill my vision.
Before I drop into spoiler territory, I want to say now that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I think it’s more deep than the Raimi Spider Trilogy. However, I can’t deny that without the first Spider-Man flick, this one would not have been possible. I really believe that Raimi’s first Spider-Man helped usher in a new era of comic book flicks that has been, for the most part, quite awesome for us comic book nerds. So I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. That said, I preferred this new take on Spider-Man.
Andrew Garfield’s performance as Peter Parker is more believable and honest than Toby Maguire’s. Emma Stone is stunning as Gwen and the chemistry between her and Garfield is magical. They’re a stronger couple that Maguire or Dunst ever were through three films. I hope they continue with the franchise and diverge from the comics because I don’t think I could take seeing Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy die. Though I know it’s doomed from the start, I just want to see them make it so badly. I never felt this strongly about Pete and MJ from the previous trilogy. I would watch a romcom with Garfield and Stone. I wouldn’t with Maguire and Dunst.
I could go on and on and on about how Garfield and Stone and how perfect they are together, but I’ll save you the vomit inducing love letter. Instead, let’s discuss some of the more spoilery points of the film and my one big problem with it that prevents me from calling it the BEST SUPER HERO FLICK EVAR!
Spoilery discussion below:
Alright, this is for everyone who’s seen the film. Pretty fucking rad, right? Let’s dive in.
Peter’s parents were never really part of Spider-Man’s origin. It was the death of Uncle Ben that drove Pete to use his powers responsibly. Now the Wikipedia says that there was a mini series of some kind featuring Pete’s parents, buy by and large, they don’t feature in his life in the comics, the animated series, or the movies. Now we only get a handful of scenes featuring Richard Parker, but his presence haunts Peter throughout the film.
Richard Parker’s research makes the spider bite seem almost destined rather than an accident. It’s a new twist on Spider-Man’s origin that from the start, makes this movie a unique entity. It’s not just a retelling of a comic book. It may seem like a small detail, but I found that it added a lot of depth to Peter’s inner struggle.
Damsel With a Brain
Thank god for Emma Stone. I’m sick and tired of the “damsel in distress” trope. And even though Gwen needs a bit of saving now and then, she’s not one to sit back and let her web slinging boyfriend do all the work. She attacks Lizard with a trophy which probably isn’t the most effective weapon a science high school has to offer, but there she was ready to take the fight to Doc Connors. And she’s the one who mixes up the antigen that saves the day.
You don’t see Dunst as MJ do anything that awesome. In fact, MJ is constructed as the ultimate victim. She’s from an abusive household. She gets mugged in an alley. She gets kidnapped by everyone. She dates emotionally abusive jerkwads. Even Peter turns into an asshat. I guess in the third film, she finally strikes out on her own. But then she gets drawn back in to Peter’s orbit of bullshit. I just wanted her to kick him in the nuts and go out to Hollywood.
Gwen was a lady to root for, not feel sorry for.
Who Is Norman Osborn?
There are so many questions surrounding Osborn. Who is he? Why does he think his fatal illness can be cured with cross-species genetics? Why did he have the Parkers “disappeared?” Is there something special about Peter, other than the obvious, that makes him of interest to Osborn?
There’s a huge mystery that’s hinted at that leaves a lot of room for development. I’m hoping that if this is indeed planned as a trilogy, we get the final reveal in the third and not the second film. So many films these days blow their load and lay everyone out in one sploosh. I’d like to see this trilogy take its time and build something really cohesive.
Lot’s of questions that I hope don’t get answered too soon.
You Knew It Was Coming. I Complain About Ethnicity.
Once again, you have a movie set in one of the most diverse cities ON THE PLANET and yet the only minority character of note with any major speaking lines is Rajit Ratha played by Irrfan Khan. Irrfan Khan is awesome, by the way. He has a quiet menace to him that makes Rajit Ratha an awesome villain. He doesn’t have any powers that we can see, but you don’t ever want to fuck with him. Ever.
And don’t think you can placate me with a bunch of minority interns. Oh, the Asian kid gets to answer a question? Wrong? That doesn’t make things okay, not by a long shot. Are you seriously telling me that Gwen and Peter go to a SCIENCE HIGH SCHOOL in NEW YORK and don’t have any minority friends? Okay, granted, we don’t actually get to see them hanging out with anyone else but each other. But it would be nice to see minorities in roles other than as extras walking around the halls.
I don’t understand how movies and tv shows continue to be filmed in New York without minorities as major cast members. Boggles my fucking mind.
Sadly, the lack of minority representation is pretty reflective of the comic.
Totally Worth the Ticket Price
The minority thing still bugs me. But it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the film. I had a lot of fun and wouldn’t mind seeing it again and again and again. Emma and Andrew are perfect together and I want to see more of them. Osborn is a creepy fuck in the background and I want to know more about him. And there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding the Parkers. I want more and for once, can’t wait for the sequel.
So, for those who have seen this and the previous Spider flicks, how do you think it stands up? Worthy successor? Flashy money grab?