The Amazing Spiderman (2012): A New Beginning


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Like many other fans of Sam Raimi‘s Spiderman films, I was not just outraged at the news of a re-make, but shocked. In my mind Raimi is the King. I’ve been a devoted fan since his Evil Dead days. I felt that his pairing of Toby McGuire (who I admit would not have been my choice to play Peter Parker) and Kirsten Dunst with the memorable villains of each film were the pinnacle of perfection in the Stan Lee verse.

Tonight I watched the Blu-ray copy of Mark Webb’s The Amazing Spiderman and amazingly (you see what I did there) I was entertained. I can’t say that I loved Webb’s casting choices over Raimi’s (although to be honest once you get Parker out-of-the-way, the film focuses on his romance with Gwen Stacy who was, of course, pre-Mary Jane) but the pairing of  Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone  worked brilliantly.

I can’t really complain about the change in the basic verse of Spiderman though. If Stan Lee can do a cameo in the film (and my goodness, it was brilliant) then he must not have thought too badly about the altering of Peter Parkers back story. I read the Spiderman comics almost religiously when I was a kid and I don’t remember any back story elements that included Pa Parker being a scientific genius. I may be wrong, but I don’t remember that at all.

Gwen and Peter in a "tender" moment.
Gwen and Peter in a “tender” moment.

Still the story works well for the film and apart from my being yanked completely out of the verse when I saw Sally Field  as Aunt May, I enjoyed the plots mechanisation’s. Martin Sheen  as Uncle Ben was an admirable choice as they obviously could not get Cliff Robertson. Sheen is as close to Hollywood royalty as you can get these days. It is probably my age that causes the Sally Field rift; I still remember her as Gidget and The Flying Nun, not to mention Frog in the Smokey and the Bandit pictures. She doesn’t look a whole lot older either.

It was really good to see actor  C. Thomas Howell in a “critical” cameo. The last film I saw him in was so far down the alphabet that it could not even be rated as a ‘B’ film. Great to see him back in a major motion picture where he belongs. Seeing the film on Blu-ray made me realise that I should have taken a chance and seen it in the theatre. The CGI looks brilliant and the stunts played very well, despite a little “ropey” wire work.

I was also pleased to see Denis Leary as Gwen’s dad. He’s looking older (aren’t we all) and still looks good on the big screen. All in all the cast was excellent and Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt “The Lizard” Connors rocked it. Again great CG on his ‘stump’ and his Lizard-man transformation. He managed to elicit sympathy as the man who so desperately wants to help mankind and regrow his missing limb.

Emma Stone doing what she does best.
Emma Stone doing what she does best.

Andrew Garfield as Peter “Spiderman” Parker does a great job. He has a sort of old-fashioned look to him. My daughter Meg at one point in the film said he made her think of Anthony Perkins. After a moment or two of watching him, I had to agree. Emma Stone continues to act her socks off and still look so damned beautiful it hurts. She’s making a career of playing the girl who is a Geek’s dream and she does it well.

I always count on how well a film has done if I feel euphoric or teary at the film’s end. In the case of The Amazing Spiderman, I felt euphoric. In fact I think that was my feeling about the film overall. It is well paced and damned funny in places. It kept me glued to the screen and my attention never wandered for one moment.

So I have decided that there is room for both Raimi’s Spiderman and Webb’s Spiderman. I’ll just think of Webb’s as a new beginning for the verse and set back, eat my popcorn and cheer for old ‘Spidey.’ Oh and continue to look for Stan “The Man” Lee’s future cameos.

Stan "The Man" Lee in his best cameo to date.
Stan “The Man” Lee in his best cameo to date.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

22 thoughts on “The Amazing Spiderman (2012): A New Beginning”

  1. In terms of directly comparing them to Raimi’s movies, which I watched in reverse order before seeing this one in theaters, I think this was a better origin story than Raimi’s. But I also think that it’s not as good as Spider-man 2. I’m looking forward to the sequel, but as many villains and other stuff I keep hearing that they’re adding in there, I’m a little worried that they’ll pull a Spider-man 3 one movie early.

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    1. It is funny the amount of people (me included) who find Raimi’s Spiderman 2 superior. I’m not sure I agree on the origin story except in the area of timelines, which Webber seems to be following a bit better than Raimi did. Still despite it being really too early for a new Spidey spin, it looked good and time will tell if these “new” Spiderman films hold up. Cheers mate! 😀

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  2. Good review Mike. No reason to exist whatsoever, but it’s still a fun, superhero flick that’s being released at a perfect time. However, I kept on being reminded of the original series every single time the film would touch on a plot-point. Too distracting for me at times, but I still had fun none the less.

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  3. I couldn’t disagree with you more here. I’ve never been so bored by an “action” movie. I actually dozed off during the climax. I was less bored by Ang Lee’s Hulk, and that’s really saying something.

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      1. The Lizard was a horrible villain. I still don’t understand his master plan. Turn everyone into lizard people for a while?

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  4. Denis Leary was the best thing in this. He managed more dramatic tension at a dinner table with his angry cop dad role than a giant rampaging lizard did, ripping apart a school.

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  5. Loved it. I am a Raimi fanboy but in think I prefer this more. Love the casting of Peter Parker. Rather than super dork he has more of a loner edge. Not that I disliked Maguire he was good, but Andrew Garfield owned.

    Love, love Emma Stone. She lit up the screen every scene she was in. As Gwen she blows away Dunst as MJ. Emma is just stunning and such a charasmatic actress.

    That’s mainly why I think I like this one more.

    4.5 from me

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  6. I rather enjoyed it too, though it did reuse far too many ideas from the original Raimi film. I know it’s Spider-Man and his origin story will always be a set way, but some of the other elements seemed to be borrowed wholesale from the ‘original’.

    By the way Mike, the scientific genius Parker is from the Ultimate line of comics, where Parker is still a high school student (as in this film). Confusingly though his relationship with Gwen is from the originals, so this film appears to a mishmash of influences.

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