Directed by Mark Webb; Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field; story by James Vanderbilt
I’d like to share a revelation I’ve had with you. It was when I was watching The Amazing Spider-Man at midnight with a scattering of people (sadly Spidey isn’t selling out midnight openers anymore) and it was the scene where Peter Parker awkwardly tries to ask out Gwen Stacey, who in equal awkwardness tries to say yes… The Sam Raimi Spider-Man films are not that great. It took Raimi 2 movies to get us to feel for Peter Parker; while Webb and Garfield do in about 40 minutes. In a brief breakdown, here are my thoughts for Marvel’s latest reboot…
The Hero: Spider-Man is entering Batman/James Bond territory, in the sense we can start comparing different Spider-Man renditions. Andrew Garfield is in every conceivable way better than Tobey Maguire. Did they change some things about the character? Yes. To the purist, giving Peter a skateboard is like saying Peter kissed Paul, but if you can let go of the continuity reigns, you’ll see that this is still Peter Parker—awkward high school kid, but also realistic. Garfield sells this partly by attending the Mark Ruffalo school of acting. He talks a little awkwardly, fidgets a bit, stumbles over his words. It works very well for Peter Parker. Now, I do have to admit that it was actually my good friend Vonia I Peng (VIP wherever she goes) who spotted that out—also remarking that Garfield is hot like Ruffalo, so for any female readers out there who thought the best scene in Avengers was Ruffalo naked on the floor of an abandoned warehouse, you should totally see The Amazing Spider-Man. Still, while Ruffalo-esque, Garfield isn’t simply trying to be like his peer—it’s what works for the character. He brings something to Spider-Man that Maguire didn’t; kind of like what Downey Jr. did for Iron Man when the mask is on– you’re still watching Peter Parker. With Maguire, when the mask was on, you were watching Spider-Man, the Peter Parker was gone. Not this time. Same persona in and out of the mask. This movie is about Peter Parker, and we have an actor who can give us that.
The Villain: The Lizard was a good choice for this film. One, it took a cue from Batman Begins and didn’t start with one of Spidey’s core villains. I don’t want to say that the Lizard is expendable, but trying to get into the BIG big bad when we still need to learn about Parker would have been unfair to both characters… Yes, I realize that is exactly what Spider-Man did, and yes, it was a mistake. This model sets up for sequel goodness. We went into The Dark Knight with a fully developed Bruce Wayne/Batman. It allowed for the Joker to be fleshed out in a way he couldn’t be if he had been in Begins. Now, with the excessive amount of hints in the movie that OSBORNE IS COMING, we should see what really happens to Peter when a villain like this is introduced. That was reason one. Two, Dr. Connors is an easy character to develop in a short amount of time. Guy lost his arm and wants it back. You’d have to be a dick not to feel for him. Hell, the first time he “lizards out,” he’s going to stop one of Osborne’s minions from testing the serum on war vets. Of course, he kind of loses his mind after that. Turning into a giant lizard might do that to you, I suppose. Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Connors well. Another lesson from Batman Begins, even for a small part; get actors that know what they’re doing. What Ifans struggles with though, is playing the Lizard; which is of course all CGI, but when the Lizard spoke and it sounded like Ifans, the creature lost its menace. It kind of made you wonder why Spider-Man would struggle against this thing at all. Changing his voice might have been a good idea.
Filed under: Marvel Comics, Other | Tagged: Andrew Garfield, Avengers, Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Denis Leary, Emma Stone, Gwen Stacy, Iron Man, James Vanderbilt, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Webb, Martin Sheen, Nornam Osborne, Oscorp, Peter Parker, Rhys Ifans, Robert Downey Jr., Sally Field, Sam Raimi, Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man movie, The Lizard, Toby Maguire | 1 Comment »