Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Amazing Amazing Spider-Man

Yesterday, to escape the heat and boredom, Kriss and I went to see "The Amazing Spider-Man", along with many, many other people. In fact, I think the matinee we attended was completely sold out. I'm very thankful for online ticketed seating at the Megaplex. One day I should write up a comparison of various local theaters' pros and cons. The Megaplex has many good things going for it, but I was disappointed once again, to have ads pop up after the coming-soon trailers. Oh well.

I went into this movie with pretty high expectations. My three teenage sons saw it the day before and came home raving about it, so I knew it would at least be good, if not great. I also read a couple of reviews online that prepared me for a very enjoyable afternoon at the movies. I was not disappointed.

Andrew Garfield is Spiderman. He's so good, I feel sorry for Toby McGuire. The inevitable comparisons won't come out in Toby's favor, and I'm sure he gave it his all, but Garfield is just better. Maybe some of that has to do with the writing, as well as directing, but Garfield has a more accurate look, more believable emotion, and at 29, he may be too old to be playing a teenager, but he is built small enough to pull it off, especially since he seems to remember very well what it feels like to be the sulky, moody, funny, goofy teenage boy. There were moments in the movie when he reminded me so much of my two older sons, who are close to the age Peter Parker is in this movie. He's cute, he's funny, he's brave and stupid and emotional and angry and resistant to anyone's help or comfort-- just like a teenage boy. It was very believable. I forgot I was watching Andrew Garfield, which is the hallmark of great acting. I loved seeing Spidey in full costume, talking on his cell phone and carrying a backpack-- excellent, subtle visual tidbits that enhance the realism of the story.

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey does a fine job, she has an onscreen radiance, and she's cute in a normal girl kind of way. I think, though, that they overdid the short skirt and long socks look, personally. Whoever designed her costumes must have thought she was a very fashionable nerd-girl, which was a tad distracting. I doubt she could wear something bearing any of her legs in the laboratory atmosphere of Oscorp (where the character works) in the real world-- even with the lab coat. She is very good, though, and their chemistry works. And she's much better than Kirsten Dunst was as Mary Jane in the first three movies. (I apologize for continually bringing those up, but it's hard not to...)

I loved Dennis Leary as Gwen's father and the police captain, too. He's always solid. And The Lizard is a great "first" nemesis for Spidey, and I appreciated that the bulk of the film was spent with Peter's story, and the fights and drama with The Lizard neither took too long nor took over the movie.

The best scene stealing moment had to be Stan Lee's cameo-- easily the best one he's ever done. I laughed aloud, and normally I roll my eyes a bit when he does his thing. Hilarious and underplayed. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how perfect Martin Sheen was as Uncle Ben and Sally Field is always good, and her Aunt Mae was loving, stern and spot-on. I enjoyed C. Thomas Howell in a bit part, as well.

The special effects are truly AMAZING! I got lost in the movie as much because of the seamless CGI as for the story and acting. It really is nothing short of astounding that movies have come this far in just 10 years since the release of the first "Spider-Man"

It's a very clean film, which is great-- it makes it so much more accessible to people with standards. There's some kissing, and Garfield has his shirt off here and there, but it isn't gratuitous or sexual. There's no language and even the violence is comic-book style and at a level such that I think even my 10-year-old daughter could see the movie. (Not that that should set the standard for other parents, but in my mind, it's all good, clean fun.) It may feel too soon for this "reboot", but I'm glad the filmmakers didn't listen to detractors, and went ahead with the project. It's well worth your summer spending money to go check it out.

For some really fantastic photos from both the set and the film, as well as some of the publicity stuff, click this link to go to a blog with a whole bunch all in one place. Enjoy!

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