Posted by Miranda June 19, 2012

If you are hoping for a blow by blow Nick style review then you will be disappointed. I'm not about spoilers and a movie synopsis. What I can tell you is that 'The Amazing Spiderman' is AWESOME, and I'm going to tell you why.

I never really bought into Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, he somehow manged to convey a sense of insincere innocence and sinister undertones all at the same time. The genius casting of Andrew Garfield is what makes this film. The things you need to know about Garfield:he's bashfully humble and awestruck, as well as sooooo beautifully British. In this film Peter Parker has been crafted as the average kid on the fringes of social school circles, who loves photography, skateboarding and gadgets. He's the guy we either were or knew someone like. The one with family issues that bring turmoil to his sense of self and place in the world. Marc Webb presents us a teenager and not an uber unrealistic science geek like Raimi. Garfield embodies Peter Parker and Spiderman not just in the delivery of dialogue but through his body language and mannerisms. Maybe his love of Spiderman and donning the suit at age 3 set him in good stead for the role. The turmoil, vengence, confusion, awe and passion that Garfield conveys makes him both endearing and the latest Hollywood Heart throb.

The brave decision of the studios to hand this money making monster over to Marc Webb, director of only one other film (the captivating '500 days of Summer'), should be applauded whole heartedly. In his hands we are given the story of how an everyday teenager, struggling with his sense of self, falling in love, and Daddy issues then has to deal with the burden and challenges of going from awkward and clumsy to spidey senses galore. He literally delivers us the 'with great power comes great responsibility' transition in Spiderman that we have never seen believably before. We get this and the humour of the cartoons and comics in one package.

Webb does a comendable job of balancing a commitment to character development with meangingful affect against the need for the child demanding Spiderman action movie. Some may argue that the super hero action is all about the comic book fans but personally I feel it's about keeping that balance for the little kids who want to see Spiderman flying through the sky and kicking Lizard butt so that the studios can sell lots of merchandise. I know it has to be in there but at times it did remind me of a Sega Mega CD helicopter game from the 80's. What saved this movie from the datable CGI of the the first Spiderman is the use of actual stuntmen flying down the streets of Manhatten. When you watch the film you'll know exactly when you are getting a real person and how much more effective this is.

Forget the movies that have gone before, they only had one decent scene and that was when Peter is channeling his bad ass Venom confidence as he goes about everyday life. Webb gives us a million more of these moments in just the one film as well as brilliant touches from the Gonz poster on Peter's wall, the Cabellero wrestling banner, the teen wolf homage and a My Chemical Romance nod. Of course there is the obligatory Stan Lee cameo, which we would all be dissapointed if it wasn't included. This cameo is given the time it deserves. There are no throw away lines, just blissful ignorance of what's going on around him. If you think the Hulk has scene stealer moments in The Avengers then you'll love how the floor is given over to Stan graciously at a crucial moment of butt kicking.

I suppose I should mention Hollywood's favourite young actress and the reason all the boys really want to see Spiderman. Emma Stone is perfect for Gwen Stacey, and the decision to pick up the Gwen/Peter romance instead of MJ is a huge relief. The role she plays in influencing and loving Peter at this juncture in his life has more weight than the flighty romance that MJ has with Spiderman. I say this because Gwen falls for Peter first, whereas Dunst's superficial MJ falls for Spiderman. Emma Stone does what she does with great aplomb. More worringly if you see her promoting Spiderman I fear she is disappearing before our very eyes with Lollipop Head Syndrome. Aside from this you will undoubtedly love her geeky school girl knee high socks wardrobe.

If you are a huge Spiderman comic fan then you may be worried about the look of the Lizard. Rhys Ifans was well cast in this role but I fear the full on CGI lizard evolution may be a bit too Hulk looking just with the addition of scales and a Joker smile. Then again once you get used to the presentation, and the straying from the comic book version, you understand the need for this amendment in order to convey the changes in temprement to Connors due to the Lizard DNA.

I've waffled for longer than intended but feel tthat here are a couple more things worth noting before I sign off. You will not find J. Jonah Jameson in this film. One thing Raimi got right was the casting of this role in J.K. Simmons and so we can only hope he will appear in the next installment. Some see the lack of this feature role as a big omission but with the focus on Peter and Gwen, and with the overbearing male authority figure to be found in Dennis Leary's Captain Stacey, I really feel that the less is more works. Jameson isn't needed and shouldn't be expected at this point in the story, so bear with the franchise on this one. Now I know Dennis Leary is a man's man that many men love and think he can't do no wrong. Dennis is a god, yadda yadda. On this one he's just alright, delivers what he needs to, no more or no less. I only question what the ever opinionated and outposken Leary is doing finding his way onto this big budget studio train but the casting fits.

In short, just go see it but balance seeing this mega money making beast in your movie soul by checking out something like Moonrise Kingdom for the independent, smaller budget alternative love story with just as much action.

Best Spiderman movie yet.



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