It’s the dawning of a new day and so…it must be time to make a NEW Spider-Man movie…right?!?! A little over 6 years have passed since we last saw our wallcrawling friend on the big screen and in that time, he’s managed to make it on Broadway, NOT appear in any of The Avenger member flicks and has been licking his wounds since getting his butt kicked by Sandman, the Goblin and Venom. So what has happened since 2007’s “Spider-Man 3”? Well…PLENTY! There’s a whole new cast, a new director, a new production company and a cool new villain that was HINTED at making a run at the Spidey franchise but never quite made it until now. And so…without further adieu…I give you…
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!!!! (In IMAX 3D wherever it’s available)
And so now…the reboot. Basically what happened was this…director Sam Raimi (who had directed the first 3 films) had disagreements with Sony over the script for Spider-Man 4. He apparently didn’t like any of the options given to him and he had major concerns over the initial release date (May 2011) so he stepped aside. It was then that Sony decided to simply restart the franchise. So they hired a new Spidey (Andrew Garfield), a new love interest (Emma Stone), got themselves a new director (Marc Webb) and put themselves together a hipper, faster Spider-Man that, in MY opinion, kicks the earlier versions’ butts!
Andrew Garfield IS Spider-Man. He’s the perfect physical type (tall & lanky) compared to the earlier version played by Tobey Maguire. He also plays Peter Parker as having a bit more confidence as a teenager, despite the fact that he gets roughed up by the school jock, Flash Thompson. I liked this subtle change in the character. Where Maguire’s Parker was kind of a mope, Garfield’s is more of an everyday teen. He’s smart but not “nerdy” and has morals that he stands by despite the possibility of getting beat down. SO THIS Parker has that going for him before he even gets his Spidey powers.
The supporting cast in this film is top notch also. Emma Stone and Garfield definitely have chemistry, unlike the Maguire/Kirsten Dunst love affair from the first 3 movies. Despite the famous “hanging upside down kiss” from the first Spider-Man movie, I never really felt like Dunst was the right actress to play Mary Jane. Stone is everything that Dunst wasn’t and I really enjoyed watching her play up the role that was originally played by Bryce Dallas Howard in Spider-Man 3.
The villain this time is The Lizard and initially, after seeing the trailers, I was thinking it could have been another CGI mishap like Venom. After seeing the movie, I can say that the Lizard is everything Venom was not. Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Connors, a scientist who has lost his arm and is looking to create a anecdote that will regenerate lost limbs like a lizard that can grow another tail. When Peter Parker actually helps him come up with a scientific coding that works, he ends up taking the serum himself and turns into a real, gigantic lizard. For the record, as much as I usually despise CGI, I really thought the Lizard looked great in this movie! Ifans is excellent as Connors and steals more than one scene from Spiderman.
The storyline works for this film even though they have to rehash how Spidey gets his powers. Everyone knows the back story at this point which includes Parker getting bitten by a radioactive spider and the death of his Uncle Ben (played nicely by Martin Sheen). Then there is the relationship between he and his Aunt May (Sally Fields). Fields does a good job as May and brings an understated performance to her role. One person completely lacking though is J. Jonah Jameson but Parker IS only in high school so his role will probably make an appearance in the next film (I would imagine).
Everything about this film is top notch and next to The Avengers, there hasn’t been a more entertaining popcorn flick this summer. Considering I really had zero interest in seeing it, I think that is the ultimate compliment that I can make!
Overall Rating: A-