Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Amazing Spider-Man

Based on the comic by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, The Amazing Spider-Man is an origin story of how a teenage Peter Parker became Spider-Man as he searches for what happened to his parents while meeting a scientist who knew his father. Directed by Marc Webb and screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves from a screen story by Vanderbilt. The film is new interpretation into the Spider-Man saga by interpreting a new take on Spider-Man’s origin story as he is played by Andrew Garfield. Also starring Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Campbell Scott, Sally Field, and Martin Sheen. The Amazing Spider-Man is an enjoyable blockbuster from Marc Webb.

The film is essentially a re-telling of the origin story of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man as it relates to the disappearance of his parents and why he had to live with his uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and aunt May (Sally Field). The film also explores his relationship with his high school classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) whose father is the police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary) who is suspicious about Spider-Man’s vigilante antics. Yet, the story follows Parker trying to find answers into why his parents disappeared which leads him to meet Oscorps scientist Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) who had been trying to create a regeneration formula that can help restore limbs for humans where Parker helped out giving him an algorithm. Instead, things go wrong when Dr. Connors becomes the Lizard forcing Spider-Man to stop him unleash the formula all over New York City.

The screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves does allow the film to be both a superhero origin story as well as a bit of mystery where it relates to Peter Parker’s search for answers on not just about his parents but also some of the secrets his father had been hiding. Notably the algorithm in a folder that he had been hiding as he showed to Dr. Connors where Parker would unfortunately set off some things that he shouldn’t have. Along with other incidents that Peter Parker would have to endure, he realized the role he has to play along with the responsibility he would have to carry for all of his life. Still, the film is more about how Parker became Spider-Man and how he would have to bear the responsibility of his role though there are several things in the script like what really happened to Peter’s parents that remain unresolved.

While characters like Uncle Ben, Aunt May, Gwen, and Captain Stacy do get provide some key aspects to the story. It’s Dr. Connors who is the most interesting as he is a man who has good intentions for regeneration as he’s a man that had lost his right arm. Yet, there’s an ambiguity to Dr. Connors as he might know about what happened to Peter Parker’s parents or he doesn’t know what really happened as his superior Dr. Ratha (Irrfan Khan) makes a threat about revealing something that relates to Parker’s parents. Yet, Dr. Connors attempt to test his regeneration formula would have some dire consequences as he becomes this giant lizard that is wreaking havoc on New York City.

Marc Webb’s direction is pretty good as he does a lot of what is expected in a superhero blockbuster story while he also finds the time to make it standout a bit from the previous Spider-Man films that were helmed by Sam Raimi. Notably as he creates some engaging moments in the drama as well as some of the humor of the film that includes a hilarious scene of Spider-Man and the Lizard fighting in a library. While it is shot on location in New York City, there are some scenes where it’s a mix of real-life action and CGI where Webb creates moments that are engaging though there are some shortcomings which relates to the story. Overall, Webb creates a solid and entertaining blockbuster film that does what is needed to do though it doesn’t do enough to make it standout more against its predecessors.

Cinematographer John Schwartzman does nice work with the film‘s cinematography from the look of the day and nighttime exterior scenes to some stylish moments for some of the film‘s nighttime interiors with its lighting schemes. Editors Alan Edward Ball, Michael McCusker and Pierto Scalia do terrific work with the editing as it‘s stylized in a few montages as well as some rhythmic cuts for the film‘s action sequences. Production designer J. Michael Riva, with set decorator Leslie A. Pope and supervising art director David F. Klassen, does excellent work with the look of the Oscorp building and some of its labs inside the building.

Costume designer Kym Barrett does good work with the costumes as it is mostly casual. Visual effects supervisors Jerome Chen, Kevin Kolodinsky, and Jim Rygiel superb work with some of the visual effects of Spider-Man flinging his web from place to place as well as the look of the Lizard. Sound editor Shannon Mills and Addison Teague do wonderful work with the sound to create some nice sound effects as well as some moments in the film‘s action scenes. The film’s music by James Horner is brilliant as it is a mix of orchestral bombast as well as some somber piano pieces to play out some of the growing pains Peter Parker goes through. The soundtrack is decent as it features a few rock cuts by the Shins and Phantom Planet as well as a piece from Coldplay that is just terrible.

The casting by Francine Maisler is remarkable for the ensemble that is used for the film as it features some memorable small appearances from C. Thomas Howell as a father whose son was saved by Spider-Man as he would return the favor, Chris Zylka as school bully Flash Thompson, Hannah Marks as a classmate of Parker, Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz as Peter’s parents who appear early in the film, and a hilarious cameo from Stan Lee as a librarian who is oblivious to the fight Spider-Man and the Lizard. Irrfan Khan is OK as Dr. Connors’ superior Dr. Ratha where Khan doesn‘t really get much to do except be used as someone who would drive Dr. Connors into drastic situations. Sally Field is great as Aunt May who worries about Peter’s activities as she also has to remind him that she will always worry about him. Martin Sheen is superb as Uncle Ben Parker as a man who is concerned about Peter while instilling him the role that Peter would have to use as a person.

Denis Leary is excellent as Captain George Stacy as a man is trying to maintain his role as a man of law and order as he sees Spider-Man as a vigilante while trying to deal with the Lizard. Rhys Ifans is brilliant as Dr. Curt Connors as a man whose experiments on regeneration wants him to do good but has him becoming maniacal and ambitious as he nearly loses sight on himself. Emma Stone is very good as Gwen Stacy as a classmate of Peter who knows a lot about science as she also tries to deal with his role as Spider-Man as she would help him fight the Lizard. Finally, there’s Andrew Garfield in a marvelous performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man as Garfield infuses all of the anxiety of a teenage boy as well as someone who is troubled by what he’s dealing with as Garfield adds a lot of dramatic weight to his performance that makes him a major highlight of the film.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a very stellar film from Marc Webb that features an amazing performance from Andrew Garfield. Along with a strong supporting cast and a unique take on the origin story, it’s a film that is definitely enjoyable and engaging to watch though it does have a few flaws in the shortcomings to the screenplay. In the end, The Amazing Spider-Man is a pretty good film from Marc Webb.

Spider-Man Films: Spider-Man - Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man 3 - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Spider-Man: Homecoming - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - Spider-Man: Far from Home - Spider-Man: No Way Home - Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse - (Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse)

© thevoid99 2013


Dan O. said...

It was an unnecessary movie, but fun for what it was. Still, the Raimi version was a lot better than this. Good review.

thevoid99 said...

In some respects, it was unnecessary but I'll still take this over Spider-Man 3. said...

I enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I was going to.

Folks upset about the fast reboot must have forgotten the horror of Spiderman 3.

quality review as always

thevoid99 said... you. As long as I'm entertained and it has something to offer. I'm fine. Spider-Man 3 didn't do that and it tried everything to give the people what they wanted except in a good story.