August 1, 2012

Film Review: Spider-Man (2012)

In this entry, I will review the new Spider-Man movie, titled The Amazing Spider-Man.

Superhero movies, Love 'me or hate 'em. I love them when they are done right (there are so many but look to X-Men 2, X-Men First Class, Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy, and most of Marvel's movies; such as Iron Man and The Avengers for some other dishes on the platter) 

They first began getting good with the release of the first X-Men film in 2000. Patrick Stewart as Prof. X. Ian McKellen (yes, Gandalf) as Magneto and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine are classic. Then came the first Spider-Man movie. While not perfect, it was pretty good and entertaining. 

Now, ten years later, we have the beginning of another Spider-Man series. Or 'reboot' rather. It was done with Batman and OO7. Those series needed a restart though, as die another Dayi and Batman and Robin strayed very far off the path. Even after the failure of Spider-Man 3, the series was redeemable. Comic book fans and movie goers believe that a do-over was not needed; especially so soon. Initially I was one of them.

Then I saw a preview, a few pictures, and even a clip. A film I'm excited for I generally avoid these types of things. For The Amazing Spider-Man, I was skeptical. "Enh, if I see it in theatres, it'll be about a month after it comes out, and on Tues, which has cheaper admission, or DVD or movie network or something." Well, by the time I saw it, I was gradually getting excited.

Anyway! On to review the film itself. Sam Raimi's trilogy, as good as the first two were, they were basically the comic book come to life in live action form. This film is a decent Spider-Man movie

It is similar to Batman Begins in that we do not see the hero in the costume for the first hour or so of the film. Get get a more dramatic look into the character before, and dealing with change. It's a bit more gritty and real in tone. Sam Raimi's films were more lighthearted nd comic book-esque (not campy, for the most part). I actually had a few tears in my eyes, or close to it, at three separate part sin the film due to the strength of the storytelling. 

Once Peter gets bitten by the spider, he gets his powers. However, unlike the other Spider-Man films, he is learning about them. i don't think we got to see a lot of fight action in Raimi's series before the wrestling match - all of a sudden, in those, Spider-Man is a great fighter. In this film, since it's an origin and Peter is still learning, we get a....clumsier and more reactive fighting style.  Oh and by the way, they finally got the costume right.

How can I forget. Peter. Andre Garflied is a far more superior Peter Parker than Tobey was. Better yet, he is a far better Spider-Man. He is more witty and quipy while fighting and doing his thing in the suit. And as 'Peter' he shows his smarts by helping Dr. Curt Connors, or fixing a leak. As a comic book fan, he is more the Peter I think of.

Of course, every hero needs a villain. This time, we get the Lizard. If you've been following Spidey on the screen since Raimi's first film, we've gotten teases that the original Connors (Dylan Baker) was to become the Lizard. Since it never happened, we got him straight away in this franchise. The CGI is a little off (perhaps in general but I was drawn in the story, it did not distract me nor stick out like a sore thumb), making him look like a bit like Voldemort in the face. 

And what of the damsel in distress? Well, what I liked, is that the damsel (this time Gwen Stacy instead of Mary Jane Watson) is never actually in distress...such as 'kidnapped' by the villain. Kirsten Dunst isn't me she'll always be MJ when I think of her name, but it's how her character was used in the film - basically 'fight scene fodder' for Spidey. Oh, they have my woman so I have to go fight. In this film, Gwen holds her own. Is it the writing? Is it because it's Gwen rather than MJ? Is it Emma Stone? Either, way, I think she only screams once.

So, bottom line? Despite some good parts of Sam Raimi's films, this one is the best *Spider-Man* movie. I was surprised by it, much the same way that X-Men First Class surprised me. I recommend seeing it, if you have interest. Maybe don't rush out too see it. Maybe wait for the blu-ray or for it to air on PPV or something. I would see more of these films, if they make them and if they keep them 'right'. 

Oh, and keep an eye out for the traditional Stan Lee cameo.

Score: 8/10

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