Before entering Festival Mall’s Cinema 8 last night, I made Lance promise me one thing. “Try to watch the film without any prejudices.” I said it in Tagalog, of course. He brushed me off by saying, “Alright, alright!” in Tagalog again, of course. He’s a big Spider-Man fan having watched the animated TV series to the frequent use of the character in his God-knows-how-many computer/video games up to the Sam Raimi movie franchise. I, on the other hand, have only seen a few episodes of the TV series and I can’t even remember them! But I do remember having seen the X-Men in one of the episodes. Most of my Spider-Man experience and knowledge primarily relied on the movie franchise, so expect my findings to be limited to the extent of Sam Raimi’s version.
When I heard they will be doing a reboot of the franchise, I was one of those people who cried “Too soon!” and I was a bit sad that Tobey, Kirsten, and Sam won’t be back in each other’s arms making Spider-Man 4. And then I heard about the new cast…
Amazing Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
Two years ago, the news broke out that Andrew Garfield is the new Peter Parker. I haven’t seen The Social Network yet; so, no, I’m not going to say that’s where I drooled over him. He had me in the unfortunately underrated movies, Never Let Me Go and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus first before he became the on-screen Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin. I think he did great as the new Spider-Man. At first, I was a bit doubtful he could pull it off. A bit unconvinced he could be Tobey. And man, did he pull it off! He didn’t become Tobey’s Peter Parker. He became his own Peter Parker. I actually think he acted more geeky than Tobey. Tobey looks geeky but when he becomes Spider-Man, his posture sort of changed or something unlike Garfield’s Peter who slouched at all times.
Peter Parker: Ahem, you know, if you’re going to steal cars, don’t dress like a car thief.
Car Thief: You a cop?
Peter Parker: You seriously think I’m a cop in a skintight red and blue suit?
I love how he talks so much while web-swinging or shutting up a thief with his webs. That’s Spider-Man! That part where he pulled a “coward” stunt kneeling in front of the car thief saying his greatest fear is that of small knives cracked me up. Yeah, yeah, I’m so easy to please.
Amazing Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
I have always been a vocal fan of Emma Stone having first seen her in Easy A. I started tracking her movies backwards and I couldn’t believe she was one of the ghosts from that McConaughey sucky rom-com. She’s like the only funny thing there! Anyway, I adore her portrayal and the writers characterization of Gwen Stacy here. The Peter Parker-Gwen Stacy arc may be a bit different from the animated series and comic books, but damn, do I prefer the film version better! Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is not the damsel in distress Mary Jane Watson have been the whole time in Raimi’s version. The love story was something that I was not expecting. I was like, “Please, Emma Stone, don’t do anything MJ-ish!” Actually, I was quite confident she wouldn’t, considering her choice of movie roles in the past, but I was a bit skeptical knowing it is after all, Hollywood. I think it’s great that her character played a major role in saving the people from the Lizard’s ominous threat to create a reptilean New York and that she was always aware of what was happening around her. She wasn’t melodramatic and when I was so sure that she was about to be when she came up to Peter’s house after the funeral scene, she composed herself and realized the truth behind Peter’s actions.
Amazing Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy
Also, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield’s chemistry is just insane! (Yes, I’ll say that again). The last time I was tickled by an on-screen pair’s chemisty was during the romantic scenes of Zachary Levi’s Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski’s Sarah Walker in the TV series, Chuck — mostly in seasons 1 through 3. Alright, I’ll single out one scene from season 4 during Chuck’s attempt to propose to Sarah. Argh, enough about Chuck! Sorry, I’ve just finished the series finale last night. Not over it yet. Anyway, back to Spider-Man. I like the love story. It’s not corny for me, the lines are funny especially that part in the hallway when Peter was trying to ask her out. They were talking nonsense, but they were able to comprehend each other amidst the filler words and awkward laughs. Yeah, I found that really funny or maybe I’m just a sucker for romance; so, sue me.
Amazing Rhys Ifans as The Lizard
The Lizard character is very similar to Spider-Man 2’s Doc Ock, but I think the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde conflict was more evident in Rhys’ portrayal. He was good then he was bad, but you always know that he was simply fighting for what he thought was right. He thought he was helping people. I enjoyed looking at him especially because I can’t believe he was that eccentric almost naked man posing for the paparazzi in Notting Hill.
The Amazing Clarity of Peter Parker’s Heroic Motivation
Yes, I think it’s much clearer in this version. Peter never intended to become a hero at first. He was not even a vigilante. He was a vengeful guy who lost his Uncle Ben to a long-haired thief he could’ve stopped earlier at the convenient store, but didn’t and felt guilty about it. So, he runs around looking for that thief to finally avenge his uncle’s death. Then came the dinner with Gwen Stacy’s family when he provoked an argument with Gwen’s father, George Stacy, trying to defend Spider-Man did he realize he’s not helping anyone but himself. It was right after the dinner and his confession to Gwen when he finally recognized that his new powers goes hand in hand with greater responsibilities as well.
I just love the improvised web shooter in his wrist! In addition to that is the initial face mask and shades that Peter used to conceal his identity. He reminded me of Watchmen’s Rorschach without the inkblots. Director Marc Webb was able to establish in his detailed version that Peter is indeed a man of science who thinks and experiments a lot just like his father.
Amazing First Person POV Camera Shots
Making me feel like I am Spider-Man swinging through the streets of Manhattan is enough to make me enjoy this movie. I appreciated how many shots were placed strategically behind Spider-Man as if the audience were following his every move. Where he jumps, we jump. Where he swings, we swing. Haha!
Not so Amazing: Been There! Done That!
Anyway, despite enjoying this film so much (Lance included), I thought there were lots of parts that were very similar to the first two Spider-Man movies which subtracts from the amazing part. It’s like a combination of the first two actually.The bullying scene with Flash was damn too familiar and redone so many times before in other films. I thought maybe they could have shown us a new way of bullying or I don’t know. I’m such a know-it-all. The part when Uncle Ben was about to get shot was just heartbreakingly familiar. I thought, “Oh right, Uncle Ben is going to die and Martin Sheen is sooo 80 years old! Apocalypse Now! Apocalypse now!” Then I realized, how are they supposed to make it unfamiliar, anyway. It is the story. Oh, and Sally Field… the award-winning actress who should’ve gotten more screen time and lines.
Well, you can’t blame them, though, they practically have the same material to start with. I also agree with Lance when he said many superb action scenes happened at night to which RJ, another geeky friend of mine, argued that it’s because Peter was still in high school and still an amateur. Still, it would’ve been great to see more of Spidey in the daylight doing his thing.
Not so Amazing: Marc Webb
I’m still a bit unsure about Marc Webb. Don’t get me wrong. I love his (500) Days of Summer. I think it is a very well-executed film. However, like Gary Ross who directed my dearest Hunger Games, they are brilliant with executing storylines, but doing action movies are not their forte. It’s like the late Nora Ephron directing a new Catwoman or Elektra. (Now, those two need a super mega major reboot!) I’m not saying I prefer the more CGI-based Raimi movies, but I was more attracted to them visually. But credits for Mr. Webb because I think his version has more depth than any of the other Spider-Man films.
Not so Amazing: Too Soon to Reboot
No matter how much I think the people behind this movie did a great job, I still think it’s too soon to reboot the franchise. The reason I can’t get Tobey out of my Spider-Man mind is because it has only been five years since the last film. Many haters argue that there’s no need to reboot and Hollywood is all about the money. But then again, stories are not made to be interpreted by the limited few and Hollywood is always about the money, so feel lucky when it’s the story AND the money.
It’s okay to reboot. It’s okay to remake. As long as it has something new to say. The thing about the new version is it has new great actors who undeniably did great new portrayals, but the message is sort of the same. They may have changed some plotlines to differentiate it from the original, but what I’m actually looking for is something extremely new. Something I’ve never seen before that the new version could offer. The impeccable casting and the emotional depth of the story make up for the lack of wow factor. Nonetheless, The Amazing Spider-Man is still a good film on its own despite having similarities from the first two installments (which are two great movies). I just wish the next one won’t end up like Spider-Man 3.
Now before I sign off, I think it’s important to note that I believe this has the best Stan Lee cameo appearance ever!