Jul 2, 2012

[Movies] The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

I've been a Spider-Man fan for most of my life - at least for Spider-Man up until the infamous Clone Saga that sort of ruined the comic for me. I could dedicate a whole blog post to talking about why I love him as a character so much, but that's not why we're all here, in a manner of speaking.

As a fan, the 2002 Spider-Man movie was an interesting one. Sure I had issues with changes they had made in terms of his origin story and his powers, but in the end I appreciated the effort and even got a little weepy at the very end of the movie. But it definitely wasn't a perfect endeavor and the rest of the movies in the Sam Raimi trilogy just got worse and worse. And there are some things so horrible from those movies that simply cannot be unseen.

So I wasn't quite sure about news of a new movie when I first heard about it. But after Raimi, I suppose you could argue that any new efforts would be an improvement. But I doubt any of us could have predicted how well this movie would have turned out.

Synopsis: The Amazing Spider-Man is the 2012 reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise. It was directed by Marc Webb using a screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves.

The movie first begins during Peter Parker's childhood where we have Peter as a boy playing hide-and-seek in their home. But then he finds his father's home office in disarray and when he calls out to his parents, they see the scene and quickly start packing. They entrust Peter to the care of his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) and then leave without further explanation. Fast-forward to the present day and we have a teenage Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) struggling to find his place in the world in high school. While he's smart enough to handle the schoolwork, he is constantly bullied and is a social outcast in many ways.

As he continues to look into the history of his parents, surprise clues eventually lead to one Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ilfans), who apparently worked together with his father at Oscorp. And when he goes to Oscorp in an effort to meet Dr. Connors, he ends up getting into an area of the building where he was not supposed to be. And there he has a special encounter with the now infamous spider that eventually changes his life forever.

Beyond the main drama, the movie also focuses on the budding romance between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who was his first girlfriend in terms of the comic books. Emma Stone did a masterful job of bringing her character to life with the interesting mix of intelligence, wit and class that we've seen in her other movies. So yes, I really enjoyed her performance and felt she made for a great counterpoint for Garfield.

And that's the main topic of discussion here, right? Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker is certainly something worth discussing at length, although I need to save space for the rest of the review. It's hard to capture in words just how well Garfield captured Peter Parker in how he portrayed him. It boils down to how he managed to be a brooding teenager, a loyal son to his aunt and uncle, a keen intellectual and a boy in love with a girl all at the same time. He's not exactly a drop-dead gorgeous guy nor does he have a body to die for, as compared to some other Hollywood actors.

But that's not what the role called for - instead we had a guy who can decently pass for a teenager in terms of his appearance but totally embraces the characterization in his acting. From the hunched shoulders to the half-smiles that flash only for a moment until he looks away from Gwen due to his shy nature is just adorable. And when he rambles on and on trying to make a date with her without setting a date or time or even an agenda? It was all unbelievably adorable and makes you just want to take him home and dote on him. And yet this is the same guy who carries the weight of his parent's legacy on his shoulders and thus holds a strong desire to figure out the mystery behind his parent's disappearance and apparent death no matter what the cost.

A lot of Marvel characters are fairly strong in terms of concept and thus that carries their stories. In this case, we still saw that in how rich Peter Parker's real life story was more so than his superhero side. And while Dr. Curt Connors as the Lizard made for an interesting enough villain, the fighting wasn't necessarily a strong point in the narrative. They were decently well done but just not as strong as his personal drama.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a movie that treats the original character with respect while still managing a relatively good adaptation of the comic book concepts to the movie world. The movie presents a new story with respectful nods to the original comic book while still presenting a relevant and logical story. And thus I happily rate this movie as 5 adorkable moments for Garfield out of a possible 5.

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  1. Wow! May naka-5 din sa mga na-review mo hehehe. I agree. I'll also give it a 5/5 rating :)

  2. Well it was certainly well-deserved, hehe