Dave's Review of The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man(2012)
This is an average outing for the webbed wonder. Andrew Garfield makes a brilliant Spider-man and there's some really great stuff in here. Generally the origin story is handled really well, staying faithful to the comics while being quite unique. But the film gradually loses its originality, re-treading plot-points from Raimi's original film and the villain fails to pack the kind of punch that Defoe's Goblin or Molina's Doc Ock did.
In this movie the vigilante aspect of the character is really explored and the police play a much larger role than they did in the original trilogy. This is due largely to Denis Leary's well realised Captain Stacey, the police chief dedicated to cleaning up the streets. He views Spidey's actions as dangerous and destructive and we really get a sense that the police have good reason to consider this kid who goes around in a costume beating up random criminals as a public menace.
In this movie Peter Parker is a much more complex character than what we've seen before and Andrew Garfield plays him brilliantly. He is a tormented and emotional orphan haunted by his parents leaving him as a child with no explanation. When tragedy strikes again for Peter he is thrown into a storm. The first crime fighting outings for this Spider-man are not the simple heroic exploits courtesy of your friendly neighborhood Spider-man we saw in Raimi's original. They are the desperate actions of a grief stricken teenager who has the proportional strength of a spider. There is a sense that if unchecked, Peter could easily become a thug or a criminal himself. This is explored in an early scene in the film, When Peter goes to attack the school bully, Flash Thompson, Flash says to Pete,'Go ahead. It feels better doesn't it?' There's an excellent mini study of the typical school bully, exercising his personal demons in destructive ways. Uncle Ben's famous message is not spoken by the man himself in this movie, but it is explored in these scenes brilliantly. With great power there must indeed come great responsibility.
You really get the idea that Peter's behaviour coupled with his new found Spider powers may indeed turn him into a monster unless something shakes him out of it. Enter the movie's real monster, and appropriate villain for our new Spider-man, the Lizard. And its here where the film's short comings begin. The Lizard just isn't that great a villain. He's a giant Lizard and he's rendered almost entirely in CGI. It really doesn't fit with what has come before in the film. The film tries so hard to create a realistic and complex character in Spider-man and even makes his acrobatics realistic, Garfield does many of his own stunts, and there's even some real physical stunt web-slinging. So it's pretty frustrating that the film turns into a typical CGI riddled monster movie. And then the film just unnecessarily repeats a bunch of plot points from Raimi's original movie. It's as if they'd started off with some great ideas and then ran out of steam so just finished off the movie by borrowing from everything else that has come before. It makes for awkwardly familiar viewing. It's like when you ask someone to tell you you something, they say they've told you it already but you're sure they haven't, so they start telling you and then you remember and find what they're telling you intensely boring, but its now too awkward to tell them that they did tell you this thing, so you just have to sit there and wait for them to finish telling you this thing again. That's what the second half of this movie feels like.
The acting in the film from all the cast is great and there's some real winning moments, but with a weak villain and plot lines that are too familiar the film ends up being very disappointing and average outing for our friendly neighborhood Spider-man.