Friday, July 6, 2012
Review: The Amazing Spider-Man
I love Sam Raimi (especially because he puts Bruce Campbell somewhere in everything he does) and the first two Spider-Man movies he made were entertaining, but the characters were a far cry from the characters in the comic books. Peter Parker was nerdy without any intelligence to back it up. Mary Jane was not in those movies at all, just some whiny damsel-in-distress redhead. And I'm not even going to talk about the atrocity that was "Venom". The new movie, on the other hand, got things much more spot on. Well before Peter Parker was ever bitten by anything, there were various examples of his obvious intelligence. Not only could he instantly diagnose a broken refrigerator just by looking at it, he had a remote-controlled mechanical door lock on his room, he talked shop (i.e. science!) with Curt Conners as if it was second nature to him. He studied textbooks. So it made a heck of a lot more sense when he made his web shooters (instead of having webbing come out of his arms just like spiders do...wait...) and he figured out how to stop the Lizard with brain power instead of brute force.
Ultimately, that's what makes Spider-Man what he is. Sure he has the agility and strength of a mutant spider and he can shoot webs, but he almost never wins his battles merely by fighting. He always out thinks his opponents. He quips all the time to get his opponents angry so they stop thinking clearly (that and because it's hilarious).
On top of getting Peter Parker right, they also had a lot of little things that made the movie more believable. After every single time Spider-Man went out and fought, Peter Parker would come home bruised. Sure, he's strong enough to get sideswiped by a bus and survive, but he's still going to show the impact on him somehow. When he was swinging around as Spider-Man, he'd wear a backpack to hold (among other things) his phone and his camera because there was no room in his unitard for it. Along with his spider powers, he also showed subtle signs of acting more like a spider. He was twitchier, he liked sitting in corners, etc. Curt Connors also displayed subtle hints that the lizard DNA was affecting his personality as well. Both a sign of great acting and direction in my opinion. It was a little strange he never ran out of webbing mid-battle/patrol, but the rest of the movie was logical enough that I can just assume he carried extra cartridges with him and swapped them when we weren't looking.
So all in all, this was an amazing movie all on its own. It respected its source material and brought those characters to life while changing things enough to clearly indicate this is its own story line and universe. I very much look forward to seeing more Spider-Man movies along these lines and hopefully someday I'll get to see Venom done right. And then see him fight Carnage. And then see both of them fight Toxin. Symbiotes are awesome.