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Not amazing, but still a good time
The Amazing Spider-Man is no masterpiece, but it's fun film to watch with friends while munching on popcorn. A good time without much depth or theme.

Pros:
  • The cinematography was nicely done.
  • It was good to see Spider-Man wisecracking.
  • The scenes with the police had the right amount of tension.
  • Seeing civilians who appreciated Spidey instead of reacting with hostility was refreshing.
  • Flash's character development was a nice touch.
  • The conclusion was largely satisfactory.
  • The fight involving Connors's biochemical weapon (Nothing like the Scarecrow's fear gas or the Joker venom, BTW) was fairly captivating.

Cons:
  • Garfield's acting was as schizophrenic as the movie's overall mood: neither appeared able to decide on a definite tone.
  • Peter's academic talents are downplayed in favor of his skateboarding skills, perhaps to play to the “sports are cooler than school” mentality.
  • Stone appears with a horribly bottle-blonde dye job that doesn't match her eyebrows, made distractingly obvious by her awful haircut. At first she just walks through her part without doing much acting. The majority of her charm is lacking here as she tries and fails to be Adorkable, but she's firmly in her role by the movie's midpoint.

My issue with this film is the sheer amount of patriarchy. Here's another white male Marvel superhero, while no superpowered Marvel woman has been on the big screen since 2006's X3. Black Widow's great, but are legitimate superpowers reserved for the guys?

It's naive to pretend that a teenage boy doesn't need a father figure, but Peter didn't seem to give a damn about his mother. The importance of fathers was emphasized throughout, with barely a glint of any mothers: Aunt May only exists to be a concerned caretaker.

Gwen Stacy is capable despite being a civilian and the hero's love interest, but her effectiveness has limits. The movie neutralizes her just when she's getting into her stride. Instead of Gwen, it's Captain Stacy who's allowed to help Peter in the final battle, while Gwen is protected by males. Her future is also decided by males: she doesn't have a say. Also, apparently there isn't a single female cop in all of NYC.

While there isn't deep meaning or inspiration to be found here, the action scenes make it worth viewing in theaters.
I sort of feel like this is a case of "you find what you look for."

Peter's academic talents are put up pretty much front and center—Gwen states that he is #2 in the class (after herself), we watch Peter develop his own webshooters, he diagnoses the problem with the broken heater, he reads and presumably understands Dr. Connors research in transgenesis. The only thing he doesn't do is overtly display his science-oriented mind at school.

As far as super-powered Marvel women: while there is certainly a shortage of them, let's not overlook X-Men: First Class, that awful Fantastic Four sequel, and Thor (though whether the Asgardian Goddess Sif counts is, I suppose, up for debate.)

Gwen Stacy was shown to be capable in many areas, but what exactly does she have to offer against a huge lizard monster? Her effectiveness has limits because that is the reality of the situation; barring some sort of Deus Ex gadget, she lacks anything to offer in a straight up fight aside from a momentary distraction (which she did do, when the Lizard showed up at the school.) Her father wasn't especially more effective—he was essentially a longer distraction, and paid for it by being impaled.
comment #15376 ceen 14th Jul 12
Aw, I thought Gwen's haircut was pretty cute. I don't think Emma Stone was trying to go for Adorkable, though. She was going more for Levelheaded Nice Girl, in contrast to the Adorkable Peter Parker.
comment #15384 Tuckerscreator 14th Jul 12
@ ceen:

I took that "2nd in the class" thing as an Informed Ability right off the bat, and I might be mistaken, but I thought that the formula was directly from his father's research rather than his own creation. As for the radiator and the webshooters, I consider that to be more shop class and technology/engineering stuff. Both are certainly class available at high school, but they're more electives, not so much traditional academic skills.

Good point about those other movies. I'd forgotten that Fantastic Four movie out of wishful thinking, and First Class slipped my mind as well, though the portrayal of women there was far from positive.

I debated with myself while writing the review if Sif could count as a superhero as well. On one hand, she's abnormal to humans, but her abilities are normal to her race. On the other hand, mutants are a race of people with abilities abnormal to humans, but each mutant had a unique, separate ability.

My ideal superheroine who will never see the screen: someone who stands on her own in her origin without being surrounded by a team of guys, who gets by being intelligent and badass without ever having to stoop to using her "feminine wiles" to get information. *Cough*Natasha*Cough*

You make a good point about Gwen, but irrational as it is, I would've liked to see her continue to prove that she's more than a love interest instead of running off to hide. I'd rather have her decide on her own to make a Heroic Sacrifice here, rather than inevitably dying in a sequel for the sake of Peter's character development.

@ Tuckerscreator

To be fair, there's not many women out there who can pull off that particular haircut: most need strong cheekbones in order for it to work. Zooey Deschanel would be one of the few who can rock it. Sometimes, with the bangs cut in that style, it helps if the overall length is above the shoulders, but like I said, most need a specific facial structure.

I will concede that the haircut would've worked better if the eyebrows hadn't been so dark. My friends were nudging each other and me, giggling about the "anime eyebrows" (Many animes feature characters' whose eyebrows show through their hair). I understand that you can't exactly bleach your eyebrows as you would your hair, but with all the poitions, products, and cosmetics available to Hollywood, was there seriously nothing they could do?

Of course, it's quite likely that I'm the only who cares about this.

Part of my problem with Stone was that I had no idea what she was trying to do with her performance for the first hour. I liked her in Easy A, but I felt that she was playing her character in the same manner with no thought to the differences between the roles.
comment #15431 CasualBanshee 18th Jul 12
You're complaining about a movie about Spider-MAN being male centric? Even ignoring that, Gwen was certainly not portrayed as anything but a capable, strong young woman. Why should a movie be forced to have a woman with super powers anyway?
comment #15448 azraelfinalstar 19th Jul 12
Wow, I thought I was the only one who found Emma Stone's Gwen overrated. The character's nice and handles herself capably in distress, but other than those traits, she's no Kirsten Dunst MJ for me.
comment #15471 ManwiththePlan 21st Jul 12
@ azraelfinalstar

You're complaining about a movie about Spider-MAN being male centric? That's not what I said; you're twisting my words.

I said that the amount of patriarchy was annoying to me, not that the very presence of male characters bothered me. I'm annoyed because this movie offered a variant of three types of female characters:

1) Gwen Stacy, the semi-competent love interest, 2) Aunt May, the maternal figure 3) That one girl with the glasses whose spirit poster was ruined by Flash Thompson whom Peter helped: a victim.

Where were the other awesome female characters? I suppose Silver Sable and Black Cat might be saved for sequels, but what about Jean De Wolff? In several of the non-616 comics adaptions, she's been written as a Spider-Man skeptic. Why couldn't she have been a member of the police force, other than time constraints?

And furthermore, as far as male-centric goes in the comics, while Peter is unquestionably the star, Aunt May has always had bigger impact on Peter's life than Uncle Ben. Ben inspired him to become a superhero, true, and Peter's memories of Ben have helped him through some rough times. But Ben died in the very issue in which he was introduced. And now, thanks to a certain editor, Peter sold his marriage to Satan and destroyed his future child to save May's life.

Women shouldn't have to undermined just because a male hero is the star.

Even ignoring that, Gwen was certainly not portrayed as anything but a capable, strong young woman.

Oh, yes, Gwen. She was so strong to stand up for that one freshman kid whom Flash was bullying- oh, wait, no, she didn't.

She was so capable when she stood up for Peter when Flash was beating him up- oh, that's right, she just made some stupid remark about Flash not having a work ethic for schoolwork or something insipid like that.

As discussed earlier in these very comments, Gwen was okay, but they could've done more with her. I thought that they may have been building up to something really cool and badass:

1) She attacks the Lizard with a trophy, 2) She continues to Os Corp for the antidote despite the risk to herself, and makes an impromptu blowtorch to fend off the Lizard, 3) She runs away to hide.

I wasn't so impressed with that last one, there. Is it unrealistic to expect her to do something more? Somewhat. Is it unrealistic for a guy to get spider-powers from a genetically-engineered spider bite? Yeah, a lot.

So, no, I don't think it's asking for to much for Gwen to have done something else.

Why should a movie be forced to have a woman with super powers anyway?

Because of equality. There's no reason for only Marvel men to have superpowers (I'm referring to the Marvel Cinematic Universe here). It's time Hollywood started putting their money where there mouth is. Equality between the sexes? Great. Put it on the screen. Whedon's a feminist? Great, maybe we'll get a better male to female ratio than five to one in the next Avengers movie.

Because there's no reason for a half dozen Marvel movies featuring solo male heroes, while female heroes have to be side lusted-after side characters, like in Iron Man 2, or wait till collective movies, like The Avengers or ensemble pieces like Fantastic Four or X-Men: First Class to get their shot. I think there's only been one mainstream Marvel movie with a solo female hero protagonist: Elektra (which I heard was terrible, so don't go out to spend money on it).

Honestly? I don't think we'll ever see a Marvel movie starring Black Widow or a female solo hero (without gratuitous Fanservice, that is). Society has too much internalized misogyny to accept that women can be just as heroic and daring as men, and Marvel won't want to take a risk on the movie.

comment #15561 CasualBanshee 28th Jul 12
@Casual Banshee

I think you aren't giving Peter's smarts enough credit. Either that or you come from some sort of advanced program in your high school, lol.

I might be mistaken, but I thought that the formula was directly from his father's research rather than his own creation. As for the radiator and the webshooters, I consider that to be more shop class and technology/engineering stuff. Both are certainly class available at high school, but they're more electives, not so much traditional academic skills.

He did use his father's research but he built upon it to help Dr. Connor's research. The fact that he even understood his father's work enough to do anything with it is impressive for a high school student. The radiator thing could be a handy-man/shop class type knowledge but it shows that he has some understanding of machines. The webshooters aren't a small feat by any means, considering their compact nature relative to the amount of webbing he uses. We never see him need to "refill" throughout the film.

Most notable female characters have pretty convoluted stories. I can't female characters that could've been added to the avengers that wouldn't have caused problems:

Wasp: Should have been in there as an original avenger but would have included another male (Hank Pym) as a package deal.

Ms. Marvel (now Captain Marvel): They would have to work in the Mar-Vell character and/or the Kree.

She-hulk: Either Betty or introduce Jennifer but I think she would be a premature addition.

Scarlet Witch: Too many ties to the X-men

Vision (based on the ultimate comics): She's a robot, I'm people would have an issue with that.

Photon (Monica Rambeau): Black AND female, but also the issue of pandering.
comment #15606 son 31st Jul 12
"So, no, I don't think it's asking for to much for Gwen to have done something else. "

What should have she done exactly? She wasn't bitten by a genetically manipulated spider, unlike Peter Parker, so in that context it's unrealistic to expect for her to do anything more than she did. And no, I wouldn't have wanted her to sacrifice herself in this film. Daredevil film already killed Elektra too soon, before proper build up.

"Because of equality."

This is Spider-Man movie, not Spider-Woman or Spider-Girl film. Spider-Man had neither male nor female side kicks in any earlier films either and even in the comics the tean ups are always cameo driven and temporary.
comment #15630 harkko 2nd Aug 12
@son

Wasp: Should have been in there as an original avenger but would have included another male (Hank Pym) as a package deal.
Yes tehy both should have been, hopefully the Ant-Man movie allows for that.

Ms. Marvel (now Captain Marvel): They would have to work in the Mar-Vell character and/or the Kree.
Easy, just give her a solo movie first.

She-hulk: Either Betty or introduce Jennifer but I think she would be a premature addition.
Again, just put her in The Incredible Hulk 2 first.

Scarlet Witch: Too many ties to the X-men
And with the franchise as a whole by a different company, none of the X-men(or mutants as a whole) will be showing up anyway.

Vision (based on the ultimate comics): She's a robot, I'm people would have an issue with that.

Photon (Monica Rambeau): Black AND female, but also the issue of pandering.

These last 2 don't have any real basis.

comment #15634 VeryMelon 2nd Aug 12
@ son

Huh, I was under the impression that his father's research already had the formula. Maybe I missed something.

Regarding Monica Rambeau and "pandering", as pointed out on various other sites, The Avengers stars a team of heroes that is mostly male and all caucasian in appearance. I can't help but wonder if the film would have done as well if it had been Monica instead of Natasha.

@ harrko Perhaps I should clarify.

There is no obligation to write female superheroes into movies about male superheroes. It's fine if they have their solo movies all about them.

But shouldn't superpowered females also have a chance in the spotlight?

When a movie is a reboot for a trilogy that is less than a decade old and consisted of a superpowered male fighting other superpowered/enahanced males with nary a superpowered woman in sight, and the reboot shows no superpowered woman either, and the company last released a movie about a solo female hero seven years ago, I begin to think that maybe formula should change an a superpowered female, hero or villain, should be included, say, maybe, every five movies about a male superhero.

I really like what the Batman trilogy did with Catwoman. She was kickass.

As for Gwen Stacy, I still believe they could've built up to something better for her. It wouldn't have been stretching disbelief; I mean, she's already a teenager with an internship at one of Oscorp's advanced scientific research facilities, which a high schooler probably couldn't attain unless she attended a gifted school that was very highly regarded, was the top science student of her entire grade, not just her class, had very good connections, and showed that she was extremely talented with creating her own labs scenarios. Gwen definitely has one of those attributes, possibly two, from what we were shown.

That said, if we're going to have a teenager working with highly-regarded scientific specialists, we might as well have her involved in the final battle somehow as well. I'm just saying, I wouldn't mind if she had been more of an Action Girl. Her characterization seemed anti-climatic.

I wouldn't care about this so much if we offered another Action Girl to compensate, but it annoys me that the love interest has to have her effectiveness limited. She could've gone out to seek medical aid to bring to Peter, and I would've been happy, if she didn't have to so suddenly disappear from the action.

@Very Melon Great points.
comment #15748 CasualBanshee 10th Aug 12
Stone appears with a horribly bottle-blonde dye job that doesn't match her eyebrows

Tom Felton. Stone is actually a natural blonde, and given other photos of her I've looked up, that actually is the color of her eyebrows even when naturally blonde. Reality Is Unrealistic.
comment #15825 Tuckerscreator 15th Aug 12
Scratch that, Tom Felton's a dyer. Whups.
comment #15826 Tuckerscreator 15th Aug 12
I'm fairly certain the amount of 'patriarchy' in this film was accidental. They're working with things that have already been created. Granted, it'll be a lot more noticeable if the second film has such a gender skew, but I think using the word "patriarchy" to describe the abundance of male characters in this film is jumping the gun a bit.

As for Gwen's effectiveness in the final battle? Well, to me, that was justified when she put together a flamethrower in the closet, and watched the Lizard totally ignore it while he worked. Unless she had a high-powered weapon and knew how to use it, there wasn't really anything she *could* have done in the battle.
comment #23010 GREGOLE 24th Jan 14
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