The Pretty Good Spider-Man

Source: Wikipedia

I gotta tell ya, I don’t really think this movie was necessary. I just don’t. And you can’t convince me that it needed to be made. But, this is 2012, comic book movies make billions of dollars (literally), and the entertainment powers that be love them some reboot-age, so here we are. A new Spider-man franchise is born, exactly 10 years after the last one.

Does anyone remember the other ones? I must be getting a brain disorder, because my memories are limited to knowing that I loved Spider-man 2 enough to purchase the DVD, Spider-man 3 sucked balls, Kirsten Dunst was kind of annoying, and I used to love love love “Hero” by Nickelback, and during the summer of 2002 my fellow compadres in road crew flagging and I used to belt it out, whenever it came on the radio (which was always). FX kindly showed them all this past weekend, and I caught some snippets here and there. Bryce Dallas Howard was freaking Gwen Stacy in 3 and Curt Connors was in 2 and 3, played by Dylan Baker. I really don’t get the timeline – this story shows Gwen Stacy being his big crush around the time he gets bitten, and in the Tobey classic, “MJ” was. According to my in-depth research, Gwen was Spidey’s first love, so why the hell did the 2002 film use Mary Jane Watson? Ugh. I guess I don’t care but I just had to get all of that out.

So now that we’re past my verbal defecation, on to current Spidey! It’s good, okay? Not amazing, not life-changing, not as good (or funny) as The Avengers, but fairly well-done and was beautifully slick and vibrant. The problem is that we’ve seen it before, so the whole origin story, I found difficult to sit through. It’s like, I get it, with the spider-bite! Been there, done that. I’m tired of it (I really should try to be unbiased and talk about this film without the previous ones coming into it; that’s proving too difficult a task).

Actor Andrew Garfield at the 2011 San Diego Co...

Actor Andrew Garfield at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But boy is Andrew Garfield a great Peter Parker. Really earnest, conflicted, thrilled with his abilities – he puts it all out there and he made me realize how sort of lame Tobey Maguire was. Garfield’s (who is British – can you BELIEVE THAT?! Dude is ACES at the American accent) Parker is an average kid, sort of an outcast, but above all – CONVINCING. Garfield has stated that he was a massive Spidey fan growing up, and to land this part was beyond a dream come true; he plays it like that – like he freaking IS Peter Parker. The guy is adorable.

Speaking of things that make people well up in a ball and go AWWWWW!!!, Emma Stone is here, freaking radiating light and joy just by opening her eyes. She and Garfield (real-life couple alert, swoon), do have marvelous chemistry – check your blood pressure during the scene where they don’t kiss, but spend a whole minute with their mouths just close enough to – and it IS precious to watch them fall for each other, I guess for realsies as well. Although, I don’t get why, as a high schooler, she was in F-Me boots for the whole movie. #I’mOld.

The side characters were great as well, much less “one-note” than in previous incarnations. Rhys Ifans was fantastic as Dr. Curt Connors, or The Lizard. Another Brit, giving it his all, and he’s so good because he’s sympathetic; those are the best villains. Poor Curt, trying to help sick people and perhaps regenerate his own lost arm, too bad there weren’t more human trials. Denis Leary, solid as Gwen’s dad, Captain Stacy. Martin Sheen and Sally Field were so much less cloying and stupid-cute as Parker’s aunt May and uncle Ben than Cliff Robertson and Rosemary Harris in the Tobey films. I don’t know though, if you don’t like Martin Sheen, something is wrong with you. PS: If that’s your dad, how do you turn into Charlie with your tiger blood and harem?!! But I digress…

One reason I was so pumped for this was the 3D. I LOVE POV 3D FLYING. I thought there would be loads of it. There isn’t. So, prepare yourself for that. The Amazing Spider-Man cares more about its characters and stories than blowing shit up, and I’m not demonizing it for that. BUT. This is SPIDER-MAN, dude!!! I want to feel like I’m FLYING THROUGH THE AIR! I didn’t really notice much 3D until the last act, when they do sort of pull out all the stops. The crane scene (while cheesy), was also thrilling, and from there on out, you get a decent amount of Spidey, soaring through the glimmering cityscapes of NYC. When the film goes into CGI mode, it looked magnificent; the effects are beautiful and seamless. I guess you can’t have too much of a good thing. It’ll lose it’s lustre, and a buddy pointed out that if you have too many 3D shots, the 2D film looks weird. *stomps feet*

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention the score – it was lovely. I kept thinking.. this reminds me of Titanic… BOOM James Horner composed it, biatches! (He scored Titanic too, in case you live in a cave) Annie knows her composers. #nerd. One thing blessedly absent from this film is a ridiculous “music from and inspired by” soundtrack full of alt-rock douches like Sum 41 and Alien Ant Farm, constipatedly whining about love and responsibility and bugs and shit. (Yeah, I own them all) This film only boasts one actual modern song – and it made my jaw drop. One cute moment between Gwen and Peter kicks off with an old, forgotten, I’m-sure-nobody-knows-about Coldplay track that is almost my all-time favorite Coldplay song ever, from the widely hated X&Y, it’s called “‘Til Kingdom Come“, and I’ve long thought I’d like to dance at my (imaginary) wedding to this song, it’s so sad and beautiful and amazing. And here we get these two adorable kids, meeting cute, and then Peter practicing flying, to THIS SONG FROM 2005. WHO CHOSE THIS?!! HOW DOES THIS STUFF HAPPEN SOMETIMES?!! I do not know, but am grateful, nonetheless, for moments of serendipitous awesomeness in my otherwise regular, non-serendipitous life.

Spiderman (Madame Tussauds London).

Spiderman (Madame Tussauds London). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think you should see this. It’s fun, less cartoonish than the Tobey Spidey flicks, and with a lot more heart – one that actually feels like it’s beating. Lower your 3D expectations and gear up to watch the origin of Spidey YET AGAIN, and you’ll be good to go. Even though it isn’t perfect, the final moment had me thinking, well hot-damn, I’d like to see a sequel to this.

~Annie

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7 thoughts on “The Pretty Good Spider-Man

  1. “#I’mOld” ha, ha! I totally agree, (NOT that you’re old, but that the F-Me boots would have totally distracted me, as well). True story: my friend and I randomly saw Andrew Garfield at brunch during the winter, and I’m not gonna lie, he made us both want to dry-hump right there on Stone Street.

    Love y’all’s reviews!

  2. So…I don’t feel the need to write a review…cause it’s all RIGHT. HERE. Seriously, I just see all my thoughts spilled out on the screen. It’s quite amazing.

    The one thing I disagree about is the score – it was a bit too much for me. I would have preferred less music during some moments, just to let the actors make me feel it, rather than the music.

    Needless to say, though, great review! 🙂

    • Your comments always make me feel so wonderful, just to let you know, so thank you!!! It cracks me up that you and Nikki both disliked the score, I guess I’m a Horner girl (that sounds nasty).
      But I’m glad we so agree so fiercely on everything else!!!!!!!!!
      ~Annie

  3. I agree with almost everything you said here. This flick is not necessary. I think they should have skipped this and started with the sequel. I was actually a little bored through a lot of it – just because we have seen it all before.

    Both leads were well-acted and completely adorable, though. But the previews made it seem (to me) like more history about Parker’s parents and his dad’s research would be revealed, and that somehow his dad had something to do with Peter eventually becoming Spiderman, like it was designed or something. That’s the plot line I wanted to see! Not just the same one from the first Tobey Spidey flick (substitute Emma Stone for Kirsten Dunst, obvs)!

    Oh, and I didn’t like the score. More than once, I felt like it took away from the emotion of the scene, made it too cartoon-y. 😦

    Yeah, it wasn’t bad, just unnecessary. For me, it brought nothing new to the story. Great review!
    ~N.

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