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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

REVIEW: Andrew Garfield Gets Tangled Up In the Disappointingly Flat "The Amazing Spider-Man"

"I've got to stop him, because I created him."

Seven years ago, writer/director Christopher Nolan successfully re-launched the Batman series, redefining the caped crusader, and subsequently re-engineered our expectations of a comic book adaptation. And even with the newly re-born The Amazing Spider-Man, it's clear that we are still scratching our heads wondering how he did it.

In director Marc Webb's attempt to reboot the story of the webbed hero, the audience is treated to a fun film exploring the the backstory of Peter Parker, part-time high school dweeb/part-time vigilante, who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and takes on its otherworldly capabilities. And, if you've ever seen a Spider-Man movie you know exactly what that entails--spewing sticky webs around The Big Apple and using them as Tarzan-like travel devices (and weapons), heightened sense of hearing, and remarkable fighting instincts.

In fact, The Amazing Spider-Man is exactly the same movie we've seen before, back when Tobey Maguire donned the red and blue unitard, except this time we have The Social Network's Andrew Garfield in the title role. Admittedly, Garfield's natural awkwardness and and accessibility really work for Parker, but the movie as a whole doesn't really add anything new to what we've already seen and know.

Even Emma Stone as Parker's love interest Gwen Stacy doesn't give the movie the boost it needs to set the bar higher than the original films (presuming that's what it's trying to do).While Stone brings the right amount of quirkiness to the role, her and Garfield's undeniable chemistry comes off a bit stale.

But where the screenplay lacks, the performances try to make up for it. That includes Sally Field as Parker's untimely widowed Aunt May and Martin Sheen as her husband and Parker's beloved Uncle Ben. In addition, Rhys Ifans as the duplicitous villain Dr. Curt Connors and Denis Leary as Gwen's dad help make the film more than what it ultimately is--a redo, but not a redesign of a cult franchise, which is what is needed.

Unfortunately the dmise of the movie lies with the diappoiting screenplay, written by James Vanderbilt (The Losers, Zodiac), Alvin Sargent (who wrote the last two Spider-Man movies, as well as Unfaithful), and Steven Kloves (most notably of the Harry Potter movies). The trio just didn't get it together to breathe new life into an old story.

But, again, after Nolan's Batman reboot enteresd the game, every other reimaginign paled into comparison. So it's possible we are judging The Amazing Spider-Man under marred pretenses, but why can't it even stand in line with the aforementioned franchise? It has the talent, the already endearing subject, but fails to deliver on the promise it had before. Alas, at this point, the audience deserves more than an entertainining, high-flying teenage love story. We deserve an epic adventure, a peek into the soul of a real hero.

Rating: C+


Lesya said...

That's what I expected to hear.

Brittani Burnham said...

Steven Kloves writing a shitty screenplay? *gasp* That NEVER happens! Seriously, I hate that guy.

Daniel said...

I agree with, didn't mix up the formula or bring anything new to the table to make it worth the redux. Garfield is a better fit in the role but that's about it.

Dan O. said...

Totally not needed at all, but it was still very fun and entertaining. Also, Garfield was a nice choice for Peter Parker even if I do miss Tobey Maguire just a tad bit. Just a tad, though. Good review Candice.

Raghav said...

Great review and I like that you go into the screenplay aspect, something I don't do in my reviews. Loved reading it and as you know we are on the same page when it comes to the review of the film.

Dankwa Brooks said...

I'll join the consensus, great review! Some cool action sequences, but I saw it in 3D and shrug, you can wait for the DVD.

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