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Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Amazing Spiderman was amazing indeed!

When I saw the first trailer for The Amazing Spiderman, I was disappointed. It looked thrown together, and the opening sequence which showed Spiderman's first person perspective looked similar to Mirror's Edge but just fake enough for me to hate it. I was also disappointed because I thought it was too recent since the last set of Spiderman movies and I wasn't looking forward to another Hollywood flop. Here is that first trailer.

But then the second trailer came out, and I had hope! Peter Parker looked to be a spunky, funny, peculiar teenager with a hidden past and issues to sort out. The question of Parker's mysterious past was new to me; I've read a lot of Spiderman comics, but all over the place and not recently. I wondered what it could mean, who his parents were, and the fact that I saw that they were going to explore this, combined with seeing Spiderman joke around while busting car-thieves, well, I became really excited to see it!

I was going to see it opening week, but I got busy and then someone I know said they saw it and didn't like it. I was back on the fence. But, after talking with some friends of mine, they reassured me that it was worth a shot. A close friend in particular referred to it as, "a Peter Parker story" and told me I'd enjoy it.

And enjoy it I did! The movie was fantastic and was both fresh and true concerning the character. Once again, I will do my best to avoid spoilers.

The origin was more or less the same, except they stress his parents' mysterious past, working with Dr. Connors on some secretive and revolutionary biological research. Parker gets his powers from a mutated spider's bite, but unlike the previous rendition, does NOT get the ability to make webs on his own. Just like the comics, Peter must invent little wrist launchers which can generate and shoot the webbing he needs, which he conveniently steals/buys/acquires from Oscorp.  This little detail is so loaded because it gives us the chance to see some of Parker's intellect in action, and makes us respect him a little more.

Other details from Spiderman's origins and from the last rendition in film (a la Tobey Maguire) are explored and expressed in a refreshing way. The fight with the jock at school was Parker's doing this time, and the underground wrestling bit came up briefly but was simply and brilliantly used to give Parker the idea of wearing a mask.

The action was incredible! I am not really a 3D guy, but if you are, I would highly recommend it for this movie because the action seems worthy of that amount of dimensions. The cinematographer did a fantastic job of making Spiderman feel real, and kept the audience connected and refreshingly excited by Spiderman's movement and actions throughout the city. His movements are fast, fluid, graceful, and extraordinary, just as they should be. When he runs from thugs as he begins to understand his powers, Spidey moves like someone who has done parkour, which is always one of my favourite parts of seeing Spiderman in action. Added to that, the movement switched between first and third person perspective for some of the swinging and it was used sparingly enough to be exciting, as opposed to forced, tedious or repetitive. Concerning his fighting and movement, I was very impressed with one particular scene where Spiderman really does look like a spider. While wrapping up the Lizard at one point, Spidey swirls around and around him, crawling all over him so quickly that it really does look like a spider wrapping something in a webbed cocoon. The movie did a really great job of making Spiderman unique and not just super.

Another thing, which a friend pointed out to me, was how Parker moved as Spiderman. In one scene, you see the worlds of Peter Parker and Spiderman merge when he gets a phone call from his aunt, asking him to bring home some groceries. During this time, he is wearing the suit, but he is acting like a teenager. Exaggerated body language, weird idiosyncrasies, here we see that he isn't someone else when donning the suit, and we see that under that mask lies a teenager who doesn't want to be on the phone with his loving, but nagging aunt. It's a nice touch, and just like so many others in the movie, just adds to the overall impression.

The Stan Lee cameo, which by now is a staple of Marvel comicbook movies, was quite hilarious and very well done, just thought I would mention it.

There was even the power of the people moment, as I call it, where some people of New York stand together to help Spiderman. It was delivered well, and was a nice, feel-good moment.

Andrew Garfield's performance as Spiderman was impressive. I had never heard of him before this movie (having not seen The Social Network), but he did a truly wonderful job of portraying this character. I am no expert, but I pay close attention to what makes a character who they are in comic books and movies, and Garfield's Parker was top-notch. He combined quirky with confident, shy with spunky, angry yet morose, all the traits which make Peter Parker, Garfield exuded and built upon them in a way which was astonishingly similar to the character I had only read about before.

Above all else, this is a Peter Parker story, as promised by my friend. It is the story of a teenager who not only lost his parents, but does not know how or why. It is the story of a boy trying to become a man, who's life has taken on a crazy turn. It is also a hero's journey, from denial, through vengeance, to sacrifice. All of this, all of the struggle, and all of the man behind the mask, is what I love about this genre, and this movie pulled it off whilst culminating in a heroic, well deserved resolution. The movie seemed to hold something back though, as you'll see in the after-movie-after-some-credits extra scene as I'm calling it, and The Amazing Spiderman 2 is scheduled for 2014. It seems that the secret of Parker's parents is still out there, and while I would normally be upset with this lack of closure, I appreciated how it was done and look forward to the next one.

-Thanks for reading!

P.S. If they even think about casting anyone other than J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson in the next one, I will lead the protest!

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