I stand corrected
I am not going to use any puns in this post. As a Journalism student, I am forced to read nauseating headlines in newspapers every week, but the British take it to a whole other level of irritating. So no, I will not write, “Marc Webb weaves a whole new adaptation” or “Spiderman’s Webb” or even “Webb Spiderman Charlotte’s Web”. Are we clear?
After two years of anticipating a disappointing, unnecessary remake of the 2002 Spiderman movie, The Amazing Spider-Man blew the competition out of the water with a whopping $65 million in its opening weekend. I stand corrected.
My sister had an appointment in London last week and had time to watch The Amazing Spider-Man on one of the biggest screens in the UK. In 3D (*grumbles). My sister, by nature, is an obsessive person. If she likes something, she doesn’t just like it. She LOVES it. When we watched Priceless, I was forced to watch it a hundred more times (we are watching it right now). Andrew Garfield in spandex was all she could talk about until we watched it together. And now I love it too. Um, the movie.
For naysayers that already liked the first Spiderman, this one ups the ante. 3D lets viewers see the world through Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield)’s eyes. When he’s swinging from a skyscraper or jumping through a window, you feel as if you’re taking the ride with him. This kind of technology has opened up a whole new facet to experiencing movies. 3D is becoming a turning point in the movie industry that Technicolor was in the last millennium. I have a feeling it will become the norm in the next ten years or so. Although the rise in ticket prices might hold it back from completely dominating film.
This version also digs deeper than the first one. We get more into Peter’s psyche, and find out how he makes the transition from awkward teenager into a crime fighting superhero. Martin Sheen really did Peter’s Uncle Ben justice, who I think is one of the most important characters in the whole story. I kept waiting for the “With great power comes great responsibility” quote, but the dialogue of that key scene was so poignant that I think it was even more heartbreaking than the original. (Just as a side note, I rarely cry during movies, so my sister was delighted to see me bawling in 3D glasses.)
One complaint: The “monster” was a bit gimmicky. I mean… Was it supposed to be? If it was supposed to be close to the comic book, I guess Marvel succeeded. It builds up as much suspense as a cartoon villain should, but it’s not scary. I mean, I thought the three-headed monster from Hercules was more terrifying. But I guess “scary” wasn’t the goal so much as “threatening”.
I didn’t think anyone could play Peter after Tobey Maguire, but Garfield actually pulled it off. He’s more convincing as a gangly, self-conscious high school student than Maguire was ten years ago.
Garfield has definitely proven his “leading man” status after this movie. He played memorable supporting roles in Never Let Me Go and The Social Network but this one has confirmed his ability to carry a movie. Not to mention his likable off-screen persona. When The Amazing Spider-Man held a press conference at last year’s Comic Con, he gave an incredibly humble introduction wearing a fanboy Spiderman costume and a fanny pack (watch video right) I have watched interviews with several young actors and some give off a nauseatingly media friendly demeanor (*cough Taylor Lautner). Garfield, however seems sincere.
The biggest difference between 2002’s Spiderman and this year’s reboot was the inclusion of Gwen Stacy, Peter’s first love before Mary Jane. I’m not sure why she wasn’t in the movie ten years ago, but I think I prefer her to MJ. She’s smart and gutsy, as opposed to MJ, who spends the whole series dating every douchebag except Peter.
I loved Emma Stone as Gwen. Seriously, that girl is on my top list of actresses I would want to hang out with. Her chemistry with Garfield was so much more natural than with Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love, which I felt was blown out of proportion. She and Garfield are both endearingly awkward together. God, I love puppy love.
Gwen’s story was one of the most controversial in the comic book world, and I’ll get into that later. I’ll just say, I read the comic last night and was actually moved.
Marc Webb has made a huge jump from cult indie movie (500) Days of Summer to an international franchise. And he handles it well. Webb wrestled a film that was already well accepted the first time and upgraded it, giving it better visual quality while maintaining a solid story. Dude, I’m tipping my hat off to you.
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