Carl the Critic: Reviews "The Amazing Spider-Man" [Caution: May Contain Plot Spoilers]
The Amazing Spider-Man" poster
"The Amazing Spider-Man" Trailer
Before we begin, I would first like to say that I have made a series of "Mini-reviews" for some of the summer movies that I have seen this summer on my official Facebook page. If you would like to read a brief summary of my thoughts on these movies please click here to read it on my official Facebook. If you do not have a Facebook, find a friend of yours who does and convince them to like my page because it is awesome. Right now that's done on with the review.
Have you ever seen a movie that gets all kinds of great reviews, everyone seems to love it and enjoy it, your best friends go "Oh wow this is the greatest movie EVER!" But then you watch it and go "I guess it's okay," or "I don't get why people like this?" Well, this is one of mine. Granted "The Amazing Spider-Man" is a good movie, there are a lot of reasons to love this movie, and there are things about this version of Spider-Man that are better than the original Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" film. However in my opinion, there was a lot more things that seemed to be the same as the Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" film that people seem to not notice. So let's begin.
Our story begins with Peter as a young boy playing "Hide and Go Seek" with... I think his father, when he discovers that someone broke into his father's office. Before I continue let me just say that seeing Peter Parker, as a child is actually a cool idea because his parents are barely mentioned in the Sam Raimi films. He calls his father who comes in and takes out a file hidden in a secret compartment in desk, which then I ask myself "why? If the criminal didn't find it why take it out?" Anyway little Peter is dropped off at his Aunt and Uncle's house because... I guess this is to protect Peter from who ever was after his father but why does the mother leave with his father? How is she involved with all of this? I already have quite a few questions.
We then cut to years later and little Peter Parker has grown up into Andrew Garfield. Now I love Andrew Garfield, he has done a lot of films that I like, but honestly I think he wasn't as good as Tobey Maguire because he just doesn't look like a nerd, and Garfield's idea of acting like a nerd is to speak in broken English, sometimes not even saying words just "er", "um", "ah", etc. Peter is constantly harassed at school (despite looking like Andrew Garfield) and... Well that's it really, we don't see that he is particularly smart, he is asked by some girl to take pictures of her boyfriend's car for a birthday present (that's a pretty lame gift to give to someone, a picture of something they already have) and we also meet love interest Gwen Stacy.
Now let's be 100% clear here, I might like the Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" more, but Gwen Stacy is far superior than Mary Jane Watson. In fact most of the supporting cast in this film is much better than in the original "Spider-Man" movies. Gwen Stacy, Uncle Ben, and Gwen’s Father are all great characters, and each one brings a little bit of something to the film. The only supporting character who I thought wasn’t as good in this version, was Sally Field as Aunt May she was just so bland in my opinion. Oh well back to the story.
So Peter and goes home from school meeting his Aunt and Uncle, and notices that Uncle Ben is having trouble. He goes to help him and finds that the basement is flooding and so Uncle Ben is clearing out the basement of all of the valuable stuff. It is here that Peter finds a leather bag that belonged to his father. This makes him cry (sort of, he has one tear in his eye) and he finds a newspaper clipping of his father with another man who has one arm. Instead of reading the caption under the picture of the newspaper clipping, or using the Internet to look up his father’s past, he immediately asks his Aunt and Uncle about the guy in the photo. Eventually we discover that the man is Dr. Curt Connors, and he use to work with Peter’s father at Oscorp Industries. He finds out that his father and mother had “died in a plane crash” and is only mildly upset. Then Peter also discovers that his father had written a plot device on the folder. It’s called the “decay rate algorithm” and though it doesn’t make sense at the time, Peter later finds out its purpose.
Peter then goes to Oscorp, poses as an intern, and steals someone’s nametag, and there’s a funny moment where the actual person who was suppose to be the intern is escorted out by security. Wow Peter you’re a dick. Anyway we meet Curt Connors who wants to help people like himself who have handicaps (in his case, people with missing limbs) and other issues like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease using cross-species genetics. Oh yeah before I forget, Gwen Stacy also works here and when she finds out that Peter is here, it is kind of awkward. Peter then follows a man to a door with what has got to be one of the silliest door locks in the world. Peter was somehow able to see what the combination was and then sneaks in and sees some experiments being done on spiders, and silk, and… stuff. He then goes into one of the most confusing rooms ever constructed where these spiders are on two layers of rotating walls. Peter, being a dumbass, touches one of the strings the spider’s strings and the spiders… stop doing what they are doing and fall off the spinning walls… No security, no one comes in to stop Peter, no one seems to be in this lab besides Peter and when Peter sees the spiders falling on him he doesn’t leave the room immediately. He waits till 50 spiders land on his dumb head and wipes some of them off. He then leaves the room, meets up with Gwen, she tells him to leave, and a spider bites him. Now in Sam Raimi’s first film, it was not Peter’s fault that he was bitten by the spider, it just landed on him without him knowing that the spider was ever there, but in this film, it was pretty clearly Peter’s fault, he went into the room, he touched the silk, he let spiders land on him, he didn’t check to see if they were still on him, it was his own damn fault for being bitten.
Oh and this "dark-edgy" Spider-Man movie has one of the stupidest fight scenes in any action movie, when Peter is asleep on the ride home in a subway (you know the best place to take a nap in NYC is on one of their luxurious subway trains), and an old asshole puts a beer on his forehead... Um okay... But then a droplet from the beer bottle trickles downward on to Peter's forehead and NOW his spider-senses kick in to gear (but NOT when the guy put the beer bottle on his forehead in the first place). He then gets into a bit of trouble with the people in his subway car as he has his hand stuck to the shirt of some woman, and in a "humorous” fashion accidentally rips off this girl's shirt. One of the other problems with the film is this damn gag that Peter gets stuck to everything he touches, and he underestimates his own strength, and this happened way too much for my taste (there is one time where Peter is typing on his computer, and the keys got stuck to his fingers which I thought was actually pretty funny but other than that it gets a little old). He then makes it home and is so hungry he eats Aunt May's Meatloaf, and takes a ton of food to his room including a frozen Mac And Cheese dinner that I assume he cooks in his room, I'm not sure how because there wasn't a microwave in there or anything, but oh well I guess this was another "Hilarious" scene.
Later we learn that Dr. Connors is having problems with his experiments, and needs to find out a solution to help, not only himself, but also his boss Norman Osborn, who is terminally ill with the plot convenience disease. I'm not sure how ill Norman Osborn is but this is implying that he lost a limb because that is what Dr. Connor is finding a cure for.
Meanwhile at Parker's school, he decides to use his newfound power to get revenge on a bully who beat him up the other day named Flash. He ends up breaking a basketball hoop (and I'll admit, Peter breaking the hoop was a little funny, especially how it was edited). Peter is then scolded by his Uncle Ben for embarrassing the kid who kicked his ass, and tells him that because of his stupidity, Uncle Ben had to take a different shift at work so Peter needed to pick up his Aunt May after school. But screw that we have a pointless skateboarding video to do, and then meet Dr. Connors to give him the decay rate algorithm. (I think I skipped the part when Parker meets Connors at his house, but your just going to have to take my word for it that not too much happens except for some exposition, Peter giving him the decay rate algorithm for the first time, and Peter trying to act smart.) At the lab, Peter's father's decay rate algorithm works, and I am sure that nothing bad will happen, because when has a science experiment ever gone wrong in a superhero movie?
Peter then goes home and realizes what a bastard he is, as Uncle Ben scolds him in a scene that I find to be one of the best scenes in the movie. But then when Peter leaves he slams the glass door so hard that it shatters (which was a dumb “I don’t know my own strength” joke) and Uncle Ben follows, leaving Aunt May at home, with her glass door broken so any psychopathic killer could just walk right in and kill Aunt May... Unfortunately no one does, which is a shame because Aunt May in this film is just pointless. Unlike Uncle Ben who is the real heart and soul of the movie.
Later Peter Parker tries to buy chocolate milk (... I don't know why but it's kind of a random item) but is only 2 pennies short, and the clerk is an asshole. Standing behind Peter is the most generic criminal in history, who steals the money from the cash register, steals & gives Peter his chocolate milk, and then runs away at the exact moment Peter's Uncle was walking down the street. The criminal trips, his gun falls out, Uncle Ben tries to get the gun, gets shot, and dies right before Peter's eyes. Peter then shouts for someone to call an ambulance, to that I replied, "Why aren't you calling an ambulance? Or the police? You clearly have your cell phone, and Uncle Ben might have had a chance had you have done so." I would compare this to the Sam Raimi film, where I do think this was handled better, where Peter couldn't do anything, the police and ambulance were already there, and Peter then kills the guy who shot his Uncle (or at least he "thinks shot his Uncle" according to the third film, which is worse than "The Amazing Spider-Man" but that's a whole different movie and it's not fair comparing it to this one because it is like comparing "The Dark Knight" to "Batman and Robin"). My point is that in this Spider-Man, instead of doing something of use like call the police, or the ambulance he just tries stop the bleeding in the most retarded way possible (yeah you are suppose to apply pressure, but what he was doing is not what you learn at Basic Aid Training). The police do eventually come and interview Aunt May, and to give a sketch of the guy who killed Uncle Ben. It turns out that it was the guy who helped him out, go figure. And instead of using his new powers to actually stop crime because it is the right thing to do, he uses his powers to try to find the man who killed his Uncle. Now yes, Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker used his powers to seek revenge on the man who murdered his Uncle as well, but I think that is was better to actually get him killed off and out of the way, so that Peter can actually use his powers for good rather than just a dumb revenge plot that is never resolved. I understand that some people actually like this dumb revenge plot that never gets resolved, but for me this just makes me not like this Spider-Man because now he isn't using his powers to help others, he's using them for his own personal vendetta, and WE NEVER SEE THIS CRIMINAL EVER AGAIN (in this movie). I guess he'll come back in the sequels or something but now Peter is fighting criminals, but stops as soon as he sees that the criminal he's fighting doesn't have a star tattoo on his left wrist.
Also, Peter slowly develops his crime fighting costume, and makes the web-shooting thing that the original Spider-Man had in the comic books. He also slowly becomes a hero, while Captain Stacy becomes the new J. K. Simmons (but not as over the top, or unreasonable).
Oh yeah, Dr. Connors is still in this movie, what is he up to? Getting fired because he refused to test his formula on a human subject (even though he discovered it about less than a week ago). Later he does test the formula on himself, and it is successful. Well that is a relief and hopefully he doesn't become a giant Lizard or something... I actually read some of the Spider-Man comics when I was younger and know a bit about "The Lizard". He was one of my favorite Spider-Man villains and so I was going to have high hopes that this film will do that which Sam Raimi could never do... Instead they did exactly what Sam Raimi did with The Green Goblin, and just made him silly (in my opinion).
Oh I almost forgot, how stupid of me, Peter goes to Gwen's house for dinner where it turns out that her father is Captain Stacy. The dinner scene in this movie is so awkward, and it's all Peter's fault. The problem arises when Captain Stacy starts ranting about Spider-Man being evil, and then Peter buts in and says "I don't think he's evil, I saw a video on the Internet, and it is my opinion as a viewer of online videos that he was actually saving people." I know he can't just say to Captain Stacy “I'm Spider-Man, and I was actually saving people" but anyone who uses the argument "I SAW A VIDEO ON THE INTERNET THEREFORE IT MUST BE RIGHT" is a complete dumb ass, and the way Peter kept talking to Captain Stacy was so disrespectful, that any minute Captain Stacy was going to pull out his gun and start shooting Peter in the face!
After that extremely awkward dinner Peter and Gwen leave the dinning room to go outside where we get an interesting scene, where Peter reveals to her that he is Spider-man, while simultaneously part-takes in the most awkward kiss scene ever, where it look like Peter is raping Gwen's mouth. Peter then hears a distress call and goes to investigate and Gwen is then like "I'm in so much trouble" (for dating the man my father thinks is a criminal) which was hilarious in my opinion.
There is a really great moment when Spider-Man saves a boy from a burning car, it was very suspenseful, and I was almost afraid that Spider-Man might not have been able to save this kid, but when he does I almost had a heart-attack it was that good. And Spider-Man drops the kid off with his dad, and then Spider-Man just sits there like "uh, I just saved your son, I believe I deserve an award!" Actually Spider-man is beginning to become less selfish with his powers, and he is actually making an emotional connection with another character who will eventually help him stop Lizard’s evil scheme.
Speaking of which, Peter then goes to Oscorp where no one seems to be, so how did he get in? Are the doors unlocked? Did he just walk pass security? Is there security? If no one is here, and he's able to walk into the building and make it to Dr. Connor's office then that means that OSCORP SUCKS AT SECURITY!!! Actually this has been true ever since the other scene where Peter enters the room with the spiders from earlier but I digress. It turns out that Dr. Connors is there, looking just as well as you'd expect a lizard man to look, and it doesn't take long for Peter to figure out that he is the Lizard. We even get a shot of a mutated mouse eating... Something. Now If I was Peter, I would have found a box to put that monster in before I go to the police, but instead Peter just goes to the Police without the proof to back up his crazy story and tells Captain Stacy "Dr. Connors is a part lizard, part man, arrest him officer!" Of course Officer Stacy doesn't believe him, and so it is up to Peter to stop the Lizard from his evil plan. And what is this evil plan you ask? What evil scheme is the Lizard planning to do? Lizard plans to make all humans in New York City part lizard… I will repeat that, Lizard plans to make all humans in New York City part lizard… Not trying to take control of New York City, not try to rule the world, not even trying to rob a bank, or to seek murderous revenge of the man who made him a lizard-man, but he plans to make all humans in New York City part lizard… You know, the Green Goblin at least had the goal to kill Spider-Man so that he can eventually control the city, but the Lizard’s motivations for doing this are not that well developed.
Also Peter tracks Lizard into the sewers and plans to get a picture of Lizard for the Daily Bugle newspaper, but instead gets his ass handed to him and unwittingly informs the Lizard who he is by leaving his camera behind and for having the camera have the “Property of Peter Parker” written on it which I have no problems with that because it lets the Lizard know who Spider-Man really is… And so he goes after Peter when he’s at school, and we get an average fight scene.
You also have got to love that Captain Stacy goes Captain Ahab on Spider-Man so much that when he gets reports on the Lizard, he just completely ignores them and keeps asking "What about Spider-Man?" Eventually he comes to realize Peter Parker is Spider-Man, and that his daughter is helping him fight off the Lizard so they both go to Oscorp tower, fight off Lizard, Captain Stacy saves Peter's life while sacrificing his own, Peter gets the antidote to revers Lizard's "Lizard gas" and everyone is saved from... being turned into Lizard-people... That sounds more and more stupid every time I say that out loud to myself.
Captain Stacy lies dying and makes Peter promise that he stays away from Gwen. We then get a funeral scene, then a break up scene (which unlike the Sam Raimi films is less of a cock tease romance, and is handled a little more serious), and Aunt May gives a sappy speech not entirely sure of the situation.
Also I have forgotten to mention something about the relationship between Peter and Aunt May, and I'll come back to the film when I finish. Through out the film Peter comes home to Aunt May all beat up, bloody, and bruised and I found this to be hilarious because you would think that after the third time Aunt May might suspect that her nephew is up to something. However it gets to the point where he comes home looking like he got the ass-kicking of a life time and she's just not surprised anymore. Another thing that I need to mention about the relationship between Aunt May and Peter is eggs. Aunt May has to depend on Peter you see, after her husband left she has no friends and is Sally Field therefore no lovers either. Their relationship is portrayed through the motif of eggs, where she asks Peter to buy eggs and he frequently forgets. Aunt May's character from the start of the film is very passive towards Peter's short term memory (say what you want about it, you try to remember picking up eggs after getting your ass constantly handed to you). Still Peter constantly treats Aunt May less like a person and more of a pet, not always taking what she says to heart. By the end of the film in an almost apologetic way, Peter arrives home with cuts bruises, and blood that may or may not be his and hands her, you guessed it, MILK (just kidding, he hands her the eggs). I am so glad such a minor subplot that is practically forgettable was eventually resolved.
Back to the ending of the film, arrives late to a class. The teacher at first scolds him but Peter then says "I'm sorry it wont happen again I promise" (something like that, he basically promises that he won't arrive late to class ever again) but the Professor then says, "don't make promises you can't keep" while Peter sits behind Gwen. Peter then whispers to Gwen "but they're the best kind," to which Gwen gives a smile that hints that they might get back together again.
That's basically the end of the film, except the post-credit scene where we see Dr. Connors in jail and a man in shadow asks if Peter knows what really happen to his father? Dr. Connors say "No he doesn't," and the man in shadow is set up to be the villain in the sequel, and you can tell he's bad because he's in shadow and Dr. Connors tells him to leave Peter alone. Thus we conclude "The Amazing Spider-Man", which I did not find to be all that amazing.
In short I didn't find this film to be that dark, funny, or enjoyable as most people did. I feel like this movie does have few things better than the Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" but just not enough. If you really enjoy it, that is fine because this is a descent film, but I just didn't enjoy it the same as most people. I found the story to be boring, Andrew Garfield was less nerdy (more of a "skater-boy" if anything) and was too awkward for me to like him as Spider-man (Toby Maguire was nerdy, and awkward too, however he wasn't over the top with either of those qualities EXCEPT in the third film but again that doesn't apply here), or to find any of his jokes funny. Lizard as a bad guy is less rational than "The Green Goblin" ever was with his logic, and as a villain he just didn't do as much as I hoped he would do, and his portrayal in the film was not as good as in the comic books where he is misunderstood antagonist rather than just a silly villain with a nonsensical scheme. However, having said all of this the film has a few good parts too it like the supporting cast, it does have some funny moments in it, it has scenes that are well edited, cinematography was well composed at times, and there were moments that just simply worked. It really is best if you go into this film without thinking about the details too much, your brain will hurt, trust me I know.
I give "The Amazing Spider-Man" a 7.4 out of 10.