I just saw this movie today (can't believe how "late" it feels for a Saturday, due to the movie's extra early Tuesday release), and I have to say that I enjoyed it very, very much.
It's hard to separate this movie from the still fairly recent Raimi version that came out "way back" in the year 2002. That was one of the greatest movie experiences I've ever had, since it came out at EXACTLY the right time for me. I was the same exact age as Peter was in that movie, and the idea of him learning to be a man as he, Harry, and MJ went into the big city to strike their own path spoke directly to me. That movie, the first HUGE hit in the recent superhero blockbuster genre, basically codified my beliefs about what a superhero movie should be like. So when I heard that they would be rebooting this project just 5 years after Spider-Man 3
, I also had the feeling that it was "too soon." The trailers, and the marketing of this movie as a darker and edgier take on the character, also made me wary. I considered rewatching the 2002 Spider-Man
movie before going to the theater to see Amazing
, so that I could compare all the differences. But I eventually resisted that urge so that I could judge this film on its own merits as best I can.
To be honest, even with all the differences this almost feels like the same movie as the 2002 version. The "darker and edgier" stuff was practically false advertising, and unnecessary false advertising at that. All the classic beats are there: Peter being a nerd who's picked on at school, him getting his powers and having fun testing them out, Uncle Ben's death, the kindly mentor who becomes a crazed villain, Spider-Man turning away his love interest out of a feeling of responsibility, etc. This movie had a surprising light and fun tone, and was in some ways LESS melancholy than the 2002 version. This was a straight Spider-Man adaptation, right down to his portrayal as a bright superhero who wisecracks and inspires people. There really isn't that much of a difference between Amazing
and its predecessor, and the movie doesn't do a whole lot to refute the feeling that it's "too soon." In its defense, I will say that I don't consider that to be a horrible thing either. I think I would have been far more displeased if this movie actually was a lot darker, doing too much to change things just to justify its existence.
So what was different this time? For one, Peter Parker was somewhat of an admirable hero in high school even before he got his powers. He was someone who stood up for the little person, even if all he could do was get himself beat up instead. Peter seemed like a well-adjusted and friendly guy, not the brooding loner portrayed in the trailers or the cripplingly shy nerd that Tobey Maguire played.
In a way he was a bit too
well-adjusted; his confrontation with Flash Thompson in this version was far less violent or objectionable than the 2002 fight. So was his argument with Uncle Ben, shortly before Ben's death. The robbery victim that Peter chooses not to help was also just some jerk cashier who was rude to him, and not a money grabbing wrestling promoter who stiffed him out of thousands of dollars. In the 2002 movie, I could really see Peter getting too selfish and full of himself. In this one, he only made a couple brief bad decisions, that didn't sell me as much on the idea of Peter going down the wrong path, shortly before Ben's death sets him straight.
The romance with Gwen Stacy here was more well done than the 2002 romance with Mary Jane. Here, Gwen and Peter actually have a personal connection and relationship throughout most of the movie. They banter, and Peter even confides in her. On the other hand, the MJ romance was mostly him pining after her from a distance, or charming her while hiding behind the mask of Spider-Man. I liked the way that Gwen came across here, as someone who worried about him but was always supportive.
Curt Conners finally got to be the Lizard after a decade of teasing. I thought that he was a pretty effective villain. All of the movie's additions to the Lizard here really made him seem like a much more formidable foe than I can remember ever thinking of him as. This guy was a hulking beast who made Spider-Man look like a weak little kid. The healing factor that they gave him was a nice touch, as was his portrayal as some kind of biological terrorist. One thing that I didn't like was his humanlike face, and the old man voice that they gave him. It seems like they strangely wanted to give Rhys Ifans some pseudo "face time" or something even when he was the lizard, by modeling the creature's appearance after him (it didn't work with the Rock way back in The Mummy Returns
, and I don't think it was needed here). I would've preferred a more traditional reptilian snout, and a more frightening voice for him. Strange how they get so many things right in the portrayal, but fall short on a few cosmetic things like that. Reminds me of the way that Raimi's Green Goblin, with his goofy looking armored mask, came across.
Overall, I thought this was a great movie that was faithful to the source material, exciting, and emotionally moving. It didn't really tread any new ground, but that's no serious crime to me. It did quite a few things better than the Raimi version did, and nailed the character and his world just as much. Out there, there are lots of kids seeing this as their first Spider-Man movie. I have no problem with that.
And one last thing, the post-credits scene:
I was absolutely SURE that they would show Norman Osborn injecting himself with a modified version of Dr. Conners's formula, setting him up as the Green Goblin. But that's not what happened. Who the hell was that guy who visited Conners in jail? The credits only call him "Man in the Shadows."
"They're not triangular, but they are more or less blade-shaped"
- Thrawn McEwok on the shape of Bakura
"Lovely. It's known as impugning character regarding statement of professional qualifications' in the legal world"
- Karen Traviss, crying libel because I said that no soldier she interviewed would claim that he can take on billion-to-one odds
"I've already laid out rules for this thread that we're not going to make these evidential demands"
- Dark Moose on supporting your claims