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The Amazing Spider-Man movie review

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

Movie Name: The Amazing Spider-Man
Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifaans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, Irrfan Khan, Chris Zylka
Director(s): Marc Webb
Producer(s): Columbia Pictures, Laura Ziskin Productions, Marvel Enterprises, Marvel Studios

Editor Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (3D) Review
A most welcome reboot which feels much more personal and relatable than the previous Spidey films, and though the script has its flaws, the movie comes through thanks in no small part to the merits of its lead actors and director. RATING: ***1/2 out of 5.
Read Full Editor Review...

In case you are surprised to see the review of The Amazing Spider-Man on Hindi Reviews, a site solely dedicated to desi-cooked, typical Bollywood masala potboilers, except for a couple of exceptions, the reason is this- The Amazing Spider-Man has managed to web (pun intended) the record for the highest opening for a Hollywood movie in India, a whooping 6+ million dollars (that is roughly around 34.5 crore rupees people, in just three days!). Astounded beyond words? So am I!

But when you actually think about it, it is hardly a shocker, for come on! Spider-Man is every Bollywood action hero under the sun! Seriously, think about it! A regular guy (Peter Parker), is motivated to take on the baddies after the loss of a loved one (Uncle Ben). On the personal front, he lives with a wise, fragile, elderly maternal figure (Aunt May) and is as involved in having an epic romance with a gorgeous, compassionate girl (Mary Jane, though in this particular movie, she is replaced by the character of Gwen Stacy, Peter' s first true love from the comics), as he is in engaging in out of this world action sequences with various evil-doers. Remove all the names of the characters mentioned in parenthesis, and you are left with the plot of every Bollywood action/romance/drama film ever filmed! Except for the songs and choreographed dances, though the last movie in the franchise, Spider-Man 3, even had a singing Kirsten Dunst, and a dancing Tobey Maguire sequence! The character of Spider-Man was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for Marvel Comics in 1962 (which incidentally makes this year Spider-Man' s golden jubilee! Happy 50th, Spidey!) so it may not be purely coincidental that our Bollywood movies throughout the decades bear such a striking resemblance to the story mechanics of Spider-Man. I guess Stan Lee' s web-headed superhero is an "inspiration" for most of our mainstream movie-makers as well. It only makes sense that Spider-Man movies are the ones which keep breaking box offices records for foreign movies in India, time and again (Spider-Man 3 did it as well in 2007!).

With that out of the way, let us get down to the review of the actual movie. As you should be aware by now, The Amazing Spider-Man is a complete reboot of the movie franchise, starring an all new star cast led by real-life "it" couple Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, Never Let Me Go) and Emma Stone (The Help, Crazy Stupid Love). The director is the aptly named Marc Webb, who, interestingly, has helmed only one major motion picture before- (500)Days of Summer, having directed mostly music videos previously (videos for Green Day' s "21 Guns", All-American Rejects' "Move Along", Maroon 5' s "Harder to Breathe" and Jesse McCartney' s "Beautiful Soul" being some of the highlights on Webb' s repertoire). Hiring Webb to direct a billion dollar movie franchise is a big risk for the studio behind the Spidey movies, Sony Pictures, especially when you take into consideration that this is a reboot movie, basically retelling the same old origin story, last seen not that long ago in Sam Raimi' s 2002 film Spider-Man, with the absence of stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. So did rebooting the franchise with a fresh new cast and director so soon after the last movie (five years) pay off in the end? Read on to find on.

THE STORY: As I have mentioned before, the story once again chronicles that point in time when Peter Parker (Garfield), orphaned and bullied high school science geek, gets bitten by a radioactive spider, gets spider related super powers, initially is reluctant to use his powers for good, until he makes a major slip-up which takes the life of his beloved Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). Most of us know this tale as it is as ingrained in pop culture consciousness, as much as a fairy tale like "Cinderella", or our very own "Ramayana". However, this movie puts a fresh spin on the origin tale as, in order to differentiate the movie from the first Spider-Man(2002), included is a sub plot of Peter' s mysterious parents who leave him in the care of Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben, when he is but a wee little kid. Also, instead of supermodel/struggling actress Mary Jane Watson, we have Gwen Stacy (Stone) as the love interest, herself a star pupil just like Peter at Midtown High, the high school they attend together. And it is not billionaire megalomaniac Norman Osborn who plays the primary antagonist (though he is greatly hinted at as playing a behind-the-scenes puppet master role throughout the film), but Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifaans), Peter' s father' s former science partner in genetic modification, who happens to be an amputee with just one arm, until he performs an experiment on himself to turn into the monstrous Lizard. Connors initially performs the self experiment under the pressure of his employer, an unseen, unheard Norman Osborn through middleman Ranjit Ratha (Irrfan Khan), but later on slowly loses his sanity and humanity, and keeps transforming himself into the monster, becoming a lethal threat to the citizens of New York, until it is up to our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man to put a stop to the rowdy reptile!

THE ACTING: For all those fearful of how Andrew Garfield takes over Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, rest easy, for Garfield is a Peter Parker incarnate. Easily, Garfield plays a far, far superior representation of the character. His Peter is less "dorky" and more "self-respecting punk/introvert", making him an underdog I actually wanted to cheer for, which I just couldn' t for Maguire' s whiny crybaby. Go ahead, abuse me, Tobey fans. Garfield knows how to pull off emotional gravitas essential to the character of Peter, by focusing on his pent up rage, frustration, guilt and pain, instead of just breaking down like Maguire did throughout the three movies he was the lead of. And Garfield' s mannerisms and comic timing are way more charming than Maguire' s. Equally good is Emma Stone, who plays a spunky, likable, smart and funny Gwen. The chemistry between Stone and Garfield is natural and engaging, reflecting the easygoing charisma of the two actors in question. They are also helped by a strong supporting cast. Sheen is an absolute standout as a principled, sympathetic Uncle Ben and his death scene is sure to break hearts all around. Sally Field plays an Aunt May who is overprotective of her nephew, and who just cannot comprehend what it is that he is hiding from her when he returns home late every night, all beaten up. The stress and helplessness she conveys in her scenes are palpable. Ifaans is competent at tackling a Jekyll and Hyde kind of villainous role as Connors/Lizard, though his role is nothing to write home about. Denis Leary, as Captain Stacy, the Chief of New York Police, who also happens to be Gwen' s dad, is enjoyable, especially in scenes where he is interacting with Stone and Garfield. Irfaan Khan' s part in the movie, however, is not much more than a cameo.

THE DIRECTION: If you have watched Webb' s previous film (500) Days of Summer, you would know that his forte lies in building excellent character relationships, so it comes as no surprise that the biggest strength of TASM is the personal drama and interplay between the various characters, especially those between Peter and Gwen, and Peter and Uncle Ben, respectively. Working on big budget music videos has also given Webb the confidence in taking on some of the heavy duty action scenes, though it is unknown how much of the action scenes were actually overseen by him or his action director. All in all, Webb does a pretty good job on the film, proving himself to be an actor' s director, capable of handling even big budget movies.

THE SCREENPLAY: Now this is where the weakest part of the film lies. The screenplay was jointly written by three writers- James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves, working off Vanderbilt' s story. While there are some solid dialogues, and some very witty liners (Spidey is more faithful to his comics version here, than he was in Raimi' s movies, as he makes wisecracks at the expense of his foes mid-fight), the screenplay could have been a lot more energetic and fun while still retaining the emotional depth of the Spidey mythos. The mystery of Peter' s parents goes nowhere, as it is still left unresolved by the end of the film, and it is not even all that interesting a story aspect in the first place. The Lizard could have been given stronger characterization but the script fails the character to a certain extent. What keeps the film from attaining true greatness is its script, unfortunately. While the Spider-Man comics use the character and his world as a platform for relevant social commentary, and for exploring and celebrating the undying resilience of the human spirit, the movies insist on focusing on over the top melodrama, which range from bland to boring at times. The pacing of the movie suffers the most as a result. If had that not been for Webb and his cast' s ability to handle drama, and make it effective and moving instead of annoying, the movie would have been as big a mess as Sam Raimi' s critically panned Spider-Man 3.

OTHER TECHNICALITIES: I watched the 3D version of the film, which uses Real 3D technology and approved by 3D god James Cameron himself. Is it worth it? Kind of, as it adds a whole new dimension to enjoying Spidey swing from the high tops of New York skyscrapers. However, even if you give the 3D version a miss, you would not be suffering much. Some of the action sequences are stylish and beautiful to behold- especially one where Spidey spins a giant web in the middle of the sewer system, a web connected to a camera- his mission being to trap the Lizard and have photographs taken of Spider-Man fighting the mutant reptile to sell to the newspapers. Other sequences, like one in the climax where Spidey has to swing from crane to crane, fall slightly short when in comes to visual impact. The special effects are top notch as expected. As is the art direction. The background score though, does not stand out and is pretty forgettable and generic.

RATING: ***1/2 out of 5

VERDICT: A much needed reboot for a franchise which was getting stale. The brightest lights of the movie are the lead stars Garfield and Stone, while director Webb' s work is commendable as well. The movie could have been much better with a more dynamic screenplay which better respects the immense talents of its cast and director, but considering most of the fun, layered characters from the comics are yet to be introduced(newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson, Mary Jane Watson, Norman and Harry Osborn, Doctor Octopus, to name a few), this can be viewed as more of a "setup" movie for the new franchise, promising bigger and better things for its sequels.

Reviewed by: Vikshant Shetty

Hide Editor Review.

Columbia Pictures, Laura Ziskin Productions, Marvel Enterprises, Marvel Studios

The Amazing Spider-Man Reviews by Twitter Users:

Katherine H reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:34:39Z

The amazing spider man is sooo much better than the first 3!

Jimmy Kennedy reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:34:35Z

Absolutely LOVED The Amazing Spider-Man!

Anderson Zumbo reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:31:55Z

Just saw The Amazing Spider-Man!!!!!! OMG, it was SICK!!!!!!

Krista Schmidt reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:28:53Z

The amazing Spider Man is probs the best movie I' ve seen all year. Just saying.

Parker Schmidt reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:28:36Z

WOW! THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN IS ACTUALLY AMAZING!!!

Pussy Cat Magnet reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:25:51Z

The amazing spider man was really good, the guy looked mighty fine in 3D

Sheldon Jeans reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:25:17Z

Just saw Amazing Spider-man, not too bad, really liked the costume.

Pamela Martinez reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:25:11Z

The Amazing Spider Man: watched it, loved it, REPEAt

jeѕѕιca reғerenтe reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:22:07Z

The Amazing Spider-Man was amazing! Couldn' t keep my eyes off of Andrew Garfield though. He can really pull off an American accent.

Taylor Griggs reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:21:36Z

The Amazing Spider Man was pretty good..but really looking forward to The Dark Knight Rises

Hansel M. Paz reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:20:28Z

The Amazing Spider-Man for the second equals as good as the first time.

Brianna Riccardo reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:17:24Z

So the amazing spider man was pretty goodd

Tyler Jackson reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:17:19Z

the amazing spider-man was really good

Trish Parish reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:14:36Z

The Amazing Spider-Man... Not so amazing.

Tyler Nelson reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:13:14Z

The Amazing Spider-Man was not so amazing.

nick litton reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:12:21Z

the amazing spider-man was really good

hesmine reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:12:17Z

omg the amazing spider-man was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

❥Dana =3 reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:11:17Z

The most unrealistic scene in " The Amazing Spider-Man" is the scene that depicts Bing as Peter Parker' s search engine of choice.

Mikey Westfall reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:11:13Z

The Amazing Spider man was awesome!

Mordecai Blue Jay reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:10:35Z

The Amazing Spider-Man was so great! Better than the original.

Kristin Sloat reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:10:14Z

the amazing spider-man was so good . ahhhh ! Andrew Garfield, marry me .

emma and ariana reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:10:01Z

Ill choose emma if i were you! In the amazing spider man She ROCKED!

Kadeem K. King reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:09:41Z

" The amazing spider man" is truly amazing

Abbey and Lauren reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:08:01Z

I saw The Amazing Spider-Man today, and damn Andrew Garfield is sexy.

Nadia Gonzaga reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:05:03Z

saw the amazing spider-man for the second time todayyy :D

Ethan Matisa reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:04:42Z

TBH Amazing Spider-Man' s theme sounds like that generic hero music we' ve all had in our heads - but in the movie, it works well.

Steffy ☮ reviewed on 2012-07-18 at 04:03:45Z

Just saw The Amazing Spider-man for the third time <3

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