A lot of you are probably wondering why Hollywood is rebooting Spider-Man when the last movie was only five years ago. Well, for one, director Sam Raimi kind of started to screw up the story, and people weren’t too happy about that. Also, Sony has to push out a new Spider-Man movie every few years, or they lose the franchise to Disney’s Marvel Studios (I believe). Hence, new Spider-Man.
But the other thing is that there was never just one version of Spider-Man’s story. There are multiple comic books surrounding his character, so there’s plenty of room for film interpretations on the classic character. Basically, don’t get preachy unless you’re a hardcore Spider-Man comic book fanatic.
Let’s start with the big comparison: Andrew Garfield vs. Tobey Maguire. Spider-Man is generally characterized as a nerdy, high school genius who is socially awkward (especially around women) and has some serious paternal figure issues. Both actors were able to pull off “socially awkward nerd” fairly well. But when it came to looking like Spider-Man, I feel Garfield was more suited. He’s taller, lankier, and has more of a youthful face than Maguire, which is strange considering that Maguire was 27 when he first filmed Spider-Man and Garfield was 29. Don’t misunderstand—I like Maguire as Spider-Man (not counting the awful, emo Spider-Man 3), but something about the way Garfield presents the character seemed so much more dimensional and charming.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the characterizations of Spider-Man is that all of the paternal figures in his life keep dying (as part of the “puberty” theme from the comic books). The Amazing Spider-Man did so much more to convey this with both Peter’s father’s death and Uncle Ben’s death than Spider-Man, which only showed Uncle Ben’s death. By adding the bit about Peter’s father, you really got to see a disconnected boy who has difficulty becoming a man because he doesn’t have a paternal figure there to guide him. Hell, even Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who is the closest tie Peter has to who his father was, is imprisoned after he lizards out on everybody; and even Captain Stacy (Dennis Leary), who is Gwen’s dad, dies while helping Spider-Man fight Connors. I’m serious. The men drop like flies in the Spider-Man universe.
This movie also made Spider-Man seem much more vulnerable. Like when he got hurt, he REALLY got hurt, as we saw when Gwen was trying to patch him up after his first encounter with the Lizard. It was almost to the point where you weren’t sure if he was going to make it in time to save the city during the movie’s climax (Psh, I know! It’s just a movie!). And it also made the scene where the construction workers swing their cranes out, making it easier for an injured Spider-Man to swing to Oscorp tower that much better. If I hadn’t been wearing my big girl pants, I might have teared up at that moment because it was like “LET’S DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO HELP SPIDER-MAN!” God, I love when people in movies work together. It kind of restores my faith in humanity, even though it’s entirely fictional.
Buuuuuut once again, Hollywood pretends that they understand the high school experience. Seriously, how many times have you actually seen a jock hold a kid up by his ankles during lunch without a teacher busting in to stop that shit? I couldn’t sneeze in my goddamn high school cafeteria without school staff telling me to keep it down.
Where does Hollywood come up with this load of crap? Yes, high school kids get bullied all the time. I’m not denying that. But I think Hollywood is still stuck in a time when kids actually punched each other in school…you know, like the 1970s. Today, bullying is more talking shit and starting rumors, and less about physical violence (though there will always be a little of that, too). Sometimes, I have to wonder—does Hollywood send people out to observe the high school experience so that they can accurately depict it, or are they trying to subliminally push these fictional high school experiences onto us so that we think they’re the norm?
Oh, and look! MORE RAMPING. God, I’m so tired of ramping. Why does The Amazing Spider-Man need ramping? If he’s so amazing, he wouldn’t need to do things in slow-mo. For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember what ramping is, I direct you to this review.
Let’s end on a good note: The chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone is breathtakingly good. No doubt it helps that they started dating (in real life) during the filming of this movie, or shortly thereafter. Still, every time Peter and Gwen looked at each other, you could almost feel the high-schooler within jumping up and down, wanting to squeal. And the first kiss after he pulls her back to him with his web and she realizes he’s Spider-Man, just…yeah. Is it creepy that I’d love to be a fly on a wall in their bedroom?
Overall, don’t let the previous Spider-Man movies leave a bad taste in your mouth if you didn’t like them because The Amazing Spider-Man feels like they brought Spider-Man back to life. People who religiously follow the comic books might not like it as much because the writers did take liberties to the storyline, as they usually do; but at least they really focused this movie on getting Peter Parker/Spider-Man’s personality to be more dimensional. Also, I anxiously await to hear if this Spider-Man will make an appearance in The Avengers 2, since he did show up from time-to-time in the comics. Just think about the dialogues they could make between Tony Stark and Peter Parker—especially since they’re both scientific geniuses. God, that sounds amazing! Oh, my nerd is so showing right now.