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Good but lacking
Let me start off by saying I loved the film. It's more grounded in reality -although how that applies to a superhero universe should be taken with a grain of salt- and the actors all brought their A-Game

One thing I was disappointed in was how the disappearance of Peter's parents was never really explored. It kept promising to be a huge plot point but we were only ever left with questions.

The other was how little was done. Spidey's universe is HUGE and he's always been part of the mainstream Marvel verse -Avengers, X-Men, SHIELD, all those guys- what was the point of cutting him off from all these plots and characters? So many stories to be told here people! All we got done was establish Spidey, and set up for Gwen's -inevitable really- death. Where are all the other villains? The sequel hooks? Where is Kingpin? Daredevil? Black Cat? The Sinister Six? There was so much potential and they went with a bland Lizard origin?

Other than that I've got to give this film nothing but praise. Spidey is true to form, a joke cracking wise-ass, and an unmatched sense of humor.

Gwen is kick ass, -she used a flamethrower! Against the Lizard!... granted not her brightest move but still!

And Spidey gets the respect he deserves.

All in all, I give it a solid 8/10
  # comments: 1
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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.
  # comments: 14
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Unnecessary Reboot of Spidey's origin
This could have been so much better... if only they'd taken a page out of The Incredible Hulk's book and skipped retelling the Origin Story. But they didn't, and that shows.

Fans who saw this film without having seen the first one probably have a better opinion of it, I don't know; but, having seen both movies, I can't help but think that Sam Raimi told his story much, much better. Maybe because Raimi had more pre-established characters (Harry, Norman, Jonah, Robertson, Betty Brant) or because Osborn was a much more fleshed-out villain (by IMO a much better actor) with more screentime, but whatever the reason, Webb's tale limps a bit, whereas Raimi had the action flowing smoothly from scene-to-scene. Some might argue Garfield pulls off a better Peter than Maguire did, but Webb can't get out of Raimi's influence as he follows almost exactly the same story for the first half; when we're Just Here For Godzilla. Bring on the action already!

Unfortunately, when the spectacle finally arrives, it's too little, too late. We don't even see Pete in costume until the end of the first half; the phrase "Spiderman" doesn't pop up until even later than that, and he only web-swings at the climax scene. Hell, spider-sense didn't even show up at all. Toby's Peter was doing much bigger stunts way earlier and way better.

It was a good film, and it stands on its own; it just wasn't great; and it doesn't hold up to the original. Lousy 3D, and a not-upto-par Aunt May. Hate the costume, too. What was wrong with the classic?

Some good things I'd like to mention, though:

A) Peter/Gwen: Believable romance, good chemistry between the actors, great performance by Emma Stone.

B) More "spider" in spiderman: Pete makes a web to feel for vibrations (which real spiders use to locate trapped prey) in the sewers; he spins the lizard into a web-cocoon, and moves more like a spider.

C) Banter: One thing this movie did better: Spidey is the wise-cracking, deadpan-snarking snide hero from the comics.

D) Web-swinging: Obviously better with the newer visual effects. Pity there was so little of it.

E) Capt. Stacy: "He's not alone!" Badass. Bonus Points for actually reloading the gun after the right number of shots.

Overall 6/10.
  # comments: 19
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An improved, streamlined, and grounded foundation
The Amazing Spider-Man reminds of when I got my new laptop. First I complained it wasn't needed, then saw the flaws coating the old one, & when the new one came found it not too different, but appreciated the little touches & improved interface. It was about the same thing, but streamlined.

The best fix is throwing out the convoluted romance tangle that bogged down the previous trilogy. Here, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy just have a mutual crush, find each other cute, share mutual interests, try dating, and have fun together! There's no melodrama or forced "deep love" theme, just a relationship where two teenagers like each other. Also improved is that Gwen knows Peter's identity, the prime emotions-wringer last time. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry, and the subtext that they're dating in real life certainly assists. This new couple beats the banal "Pete-MJ" by a mile.

But Dr Connors is mixed. As soon as he gives "a world without weakness" speeches, you know the guy could fall to the dark side in his sleep. The sudden drop of the Parental Abandonment angle also cut him from more development, leaving just a mad scientist with a lizard motif. But the Lizard itself is better than I expected. I was unsure how creative fights with a lizard foe would be versus, say, a man with mechanical limbs, but Lizard's hook is that he can burst out to attack whenever he wants, making him a credible threat throughout. He also can still talk, which may spice up the fights, except it's always the same rhetoric, so still not much to it. Better than the goofy Goblin, though. Rhys Ifans does give Connors a certain regality.

Webb's grounded world is much better than Raimi's often cornball setting, and the funny now blends better with the serious. There's no character I can fault except Rajit Ratha, who sadly is just "evil Indian guy" and in the words of Rifftrax, who put "crucial lines of exposition in the mouth of an actor with an accent so thick"? But Uncle Ben wasn't one note like I expected, and I hoped he'd get to stick around for the whole film.

The webflight feels more acrobatic now, and injuries are now believable and cut Spidey's ability. Oscorp's a cool mysterious building I hope the sequels explore. And I love how New York pitches in to help Spidey at the climax. You'll see how.
  # comments: 12
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I can't go back to the old ones now
First off, I want to say I love(d) Spiderman2, I've said elsewhere in this review section that I believe that 2 is the best 'superhero' superhero film ever. And in a sense it still is, this is a different sort of film, but it's convinced me that actually really basic formula superhero films aren't good enough anymore.

This film has flaws, lots of them. Plotholes, they were missing 15 minutes of character progress for Spiderman, a whole half hours worth was needed to turn the Lizard into a villain that made sense. Effects were a bit off, tone yo-yoed etc

But this is a glimpse into just how much better a superhero film is when you actually care about the superhero. It's not a jab at comics, from what I've heard, Peter Parker does have a character in comics that fans love, but in the previous films there was less a character and more a trope we were expected to understand. He is the hero => he is good, she is female => she falls in love

This film is much more intelligent than that. Peter Parker is a person, he has multiple moods and motives that can't be summed up as 'nerdy'. More importantly Gwen is a person and an awesome proactive person with her own virtues to be admired as much as Peters. She'll do the right thing and she won't just scream. Their relationship comes together in pieces. When you spend time on the person who is the hero it's more fun to be with them as a hero.

Normally origins were a checklist. In the first, we understood why the Uncle Ben thing was powerful, but it was flat. Included because heroes have origins. Here it's clear Peter is just a kid, how could he be good? How could he take on all this responsibility when a month ago he wasn't even thinking about a career? We understand why he needs an origin.

The difference in the films is best shown with Aunt May. Aunt May was great in 1, but she wasn't a person, she was this all-wise fortune cookie whose job it was to spout the heroic lines. In this one Aunt May is a widow, a wife and a mother.

There are things from the old films we could have done with, there's a weird sci-fi tone here, the action is more thoughtful and still fun (particularly a lovely bit with a young boy) but the oldies were more clear and colourful. We needed the plotting of 2, but if I had to choose between that stuff and Peter Parker, I'll choose Peter Parker every time
  # comments: 12
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The Start of Something Good.
A new retelling of the Spider-Man mythos? Well colour me intrigued. I was a fan of the original trilogy when they first came out, but looking back my god they were campy and Tobey really wasn't that good as Spider-Man. Here though, things feel more serious but there's still plenty of humour to be found, as should be the case with Spider-Man. And Andrew Garfield's portrayal of the character? Great, real solid performance. He's a social outcast, but still has an air of nerdiness about him, most notable in his interactions with Gwen. His scientific skills are also shown, and the fact that he build his own web-shooters is fairly believable.

The action is much more fluid and Spider-man fights with more agility and web-play, and is never short on snark. When he starts fighting with Lizard it's pretty awesome, watching the two move around each other with great speed and ferocity. As for the lizard himself...Eh, very tragic villain and well acted, but his design really isn't great. He looks like a scaley ape, not a lizard. And he is rather different than his comics counterpart, forming grand schemes. Then again, it's probably be hard to run the plot of Spider-Man hunting down a snarly monster.

Supporting cast is also awesome. Captain Stacey is a pro-badass, with a great sense of humour. Gwen? Also awesome, better chemistry in the romance, and she proves to be more than some Damsel In Distress. Sadly though, going by Gwen's fate in the comics...It probably won't end well.

The film does have problems though. The sub-plot with the mugger is never resolved, nor is the issue with Peter's parents and what killed them. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt though and say these are things to be covered in the inevitable sequel.

My biggest gripe with this reboot though? No J.Jonah Jameson! He was easily the best thing about the old trilogy!
  # comments: 3
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Had potential but ended up lacking
It's no secret that Sony rushed this film into production to meet its copyright deadline, using an inexperienced director and making it a reboot of a franchise that was very popular and still recent enough to be in the collective minds of the audience. It was a reciepe for disaster.

What follows is a "been there, done that" rehash of the first films. Similarities were inevitable since they come from the same source material but this movie still followed the same beats as the first movie to the letter and even included aspects that only existed in Raimi's films. For instance, Curt Conners talks to himself a la Willem DaFoe in the first movie, a trait that neither of the villains had in the comics. At the end, Peter has to make a promise to a dying man and push his love interest away after a tragic funeral. If they took a cue from the original comics, they could have easily avoided this but they seemed afraid to stray too far form the "Raimi-formula". There's also the very tired supervillain plot of the bad guy wanting to use a gas/energy/whatever to turn the population of a city crazy/monstrous/whatever.

There are differences, however. While Uncle Ben's death in the comics and the first movie was a direct result result of Peter Parker's hubris and newfound powers, in this movie, Ben dies because Peter was simply being selfish while buying chocolate milk. One gets the impression that events would have transpired exactly whether or not Peter had powers, completely destroying the "Great power comes great responsibility" aesop. Peter then becomes your typical hero driven by revenge as opposed to a hero driven by guilt (something that is still original to this day). The fun and classic feel of the original movie has also been replaced by an uneven tone that did not know if it wanted to be lighthearted or dark, grounded or epic.

That said, there are great performances by Garfield, Sheen, and Leary. Leary is a good replacement for the loudmouthed J. Johnah Jameson (even though Captain Stacey never acted that way). Garfield is charming and likeable as Peter Parker and Sheen is a wise, fatherly, and very enjoyable Uncle Ben. It's a shame this movie could not have been better.
  # comments: 8
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Amazing Spiderman, flawed but overall good
SPOILERS:

Let me just say this, this movie really tried to be different from the other three, different Big Bad, different Love interest, no J Jonah, no wrestling, mechanical web-shooters, and the slingshot method of web is used more (I don't like most of these changes, but I don't hate any of them, they're just different). While I do miss the dynamic swinging through the city, this movie is still good. Lizard is a very good sympathetic villain, his actor played him well. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, was an excellent choice. The relationship with Uncle Ben and Aunt May was handled well (if expedient, again, probably to make the movie stand out from the original). Connors saving peter with his new hand was especially poignant, as it was the last time he used it. The movie's humor rang true most of the time

What I didn't like: Spiderman discovering his powers and accidentally ripping off a woman's shirt, that was unnecessary, the rest of the scene was still good. Captain Stacy showing up to save peter was cool, but, why just him, as the captain, he should either organizing the evacuation (as per protocol), or bringing a squad with him to stop the more eminent threat (either way, he should be with more people). The thing I disliked the most was when the captain, in his dying moments requests Peter not see his daughter anymore, Peter honors the last request, and breaks it almost 5 minutes later (at Gwen's prompting). I disliked this scene, because he just ignored a dying man's last request, for his daughter's safety, and this was pretty easy to write around, he could have asked Peter to keep his daughter safe by protecting her, that would make both of them happy. Also, that officer shooting Spiderman in the leg just seemed to add more padding.

Neutral: Gwen Stacy, an intern, knowing how to use all of the complex machinery (Which College educated scientists use). I found that unconvincing (no matter how smart she is), but that was mitigated by Peter giving her the key instructions that his father gave him, and the love interest being more active than in the original movie(s).

Crane scene, stupid and cool, nothing else to say.

This movie has several flaws, but it is a good movie, and Spiderman fans should see it. I enjoyed the movie, I won't compare it to the originals, because I believe that it can stand on its own, origin story and all.
  # comments: 0
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Bad blocks make a good wall.
This movie makes use of all that is already known and seen about Spiderman and puts it a 2 hour + movie, in a true display of lazy. And I Have to ask, why is it so good????? Let's start with the bad: Dr. Big Bad is making a breakthrough in something that has existed for 15 years. Do you know why lab coats are for? So chemicals don't burn your flesh to the bone. But miss Stacy can show her hotty hot legs in one. The scientists must be pedofiles, as the audience the directors have presumed. The how do i shot web part was so whacky i was thinking that when Peter was rubbing his eyes he wold rip his eyelids of. And it was lifted from the Spiderman parody "Superhero!". All the nods to the Ultimate comics were not needed and got booring. Apparently Ozcorp has a billboard in 3D you can see without glasses. The goodies: This Peter acts like a believable teen, the first we have ever seen is such movies. The romance was at least better and adorable to watch than the first movies. And the return of the oneliners and comedy from the comics and cartoons was all everybody was asking for. Bottom line is it's a good movie for everybody. Worth watching. Even if this is not your kind of movie you should give it a try, i think you will enjoy it.
  # comments: 1
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Definitely worth watching
It's been five years since I saw Spiderman 3 and I haven't really watched any films in the previous trilogy since then, so I was able to approach the film with relatively fresh eyes. I feel that this film is superior to the previous trilogy. It felt more grounded than the Raimi trilogy, which embraced spectacle and character archetypes at the expense of character development.

Pros:
  • Andrew Garfield strikes me as a believable Spider-man and Peter Parker. Going from the awkward stuttering to the deadpan snarking seemed more seamless. Tobey Maguire was a great Peter Parker, but he never really sold me as Spider-man.
  • Martin Sheen as Ben Parker was really great, and I'm glad that they made him seem like a father figure in all its aspects — fair-minded disciplinarian, included — rather than just a sage old man who spouts out words of wisdom to be quoted later during an epiphany.
  • Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was very good. I'm glad she was shown to be just as nerdy and intelligent as Peter, and that she is a Badass Damsel. Throughout the entire film, she needs rescuing zero times. After a string of films where Mary Jane is the Distressed Damsel du jour, having Gwen hold her own was very refreshing. In fact, this film's Gwen makes MJ pale so much in comparison so much that I'd be willing to see her eventual fate be postponed one whole film.
  • Police are portrayed as reasonable people and not bumbling strawmen that superheroes step over to get the job done. The fact that Peter actually goes to Capt. Stacy with info on the Lizard was an excellent inclusion, and the captain himself is a Badass.
  • Web-slinging scenes look a lot better.
  • Peter taking longer to understand the responsibilities tied to his powers. It makes him show actual growth. And face it, no teenager would immediately understand the responsibilities of power and anonymity.

Cons:
  • Aunt May is underutilized.
  • The subplot about Peter's parents seemed unnecessary.
  • It seems like Connors' plotline was rushed. I heard scenes of him were excised. He was still a better villain than most in the Raimi trilogy, but a little more development into his relationship with Peter would have helped. Also, the world without weakness speech just screams "Mad Scientist."
  • The crane scene was narmy, but not cripplingly so.

8/10.
  # comments: 8
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Great Film
Personally, I thought the film was fantastic. And I also thought the film was better than Raimi's, which were good, but didn't have characters that reached out and grabbed me.

This film, because it has less going on, especially with villains, allowed time for a more nuanced characterization of Peter in particular. I liked the way that he didn't automatically start using his powers selflessly after Uncle Ben died, because he's human; of course he wants revenge. In fact, he gets a little scary at some points as he goes too far. But that works, because he has that potential, even as a vigilante hero. Peter is grieving and angry, so it's much more realistic, and it also adds depth to his character. Also, I like that he's not such a Hollywood Nerd, because as a nerd myself, that's stereotypical, and distracting. But Garfield did a great job of seeming geeky, especially with body language, smart, and awkward; it's a more modern and normal geeky. I also loved the quips.

I especially loved the Gwen/Peter relationship. I went in worried I wouldn't like Gwen Stacey, but the film sold me on her entirely. She is very smart, possibly smarter than Peter, witty, and capable. She isn't just a damsel in distress, which I love, especially at Oscorp near the climax. And her relationship with Peter is adorable, because they're both sweet, nerdy, and a bit awkward with each other. And that's realistic. I also like that unlike in the Raimi films, she wasn't the popular girl in the "in" group who ended up falling for the very nerdy Peter, because that's done a lot, and it's trite. This resounded a lot better. (They also managed to keep Peter's behavior from reaching into creepy with Gwen).

Dr. Conners is a more dynamic villain than I expected for a giant lizard. He's a good man, who wants to do great things, but his desires are also selfish, and while he goes insane, he's still driven by some of his own desires and it's interesting. Also, the motion-capture and special effects here are amazing.

The rest of the supporting cast was great, too, especially Aunt May and Uncle Ben.

This film has a lot of tragedy, but also a lot of moments that just make you smile (Peter experimenting with his abilities, scenes with Gwen). Great emotional ambiance and poignancy. See it.
  # comments: 2
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Reconstructing Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man is effectively both a Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Spider-Man. The first part of the movie effectively tears apart the story of Spider-Man by subjecting it to reality. A heavier emphasis is placed on elements like Parker's feelings of parental abandonment over his parents' death. Uncle Ben is a simple, uneducated man instead of a fountain of instant wisdom, Parker is a loser who is so terrible at talking to the girl he likes that she has to ask him out, Flash Thompson is just a kid seeking the approval of his friends and lashing out at the world by picking on those weaker than him, etc.

Uncle Ben dies a pointless death that Parker fails to learn anything from, and Peter sets out on a reckless vendetta to hunt down a murderer that he probably won't ever find in a city of over a million people, becoming more of an angry thug than a superhero, while being hunted by police for being little more than an angry vigilante, a claim that rings very true in the film when it's put into words.

End result is: Spider-Man is a petty Jerkass who expects the world to revolve around him, can't control his powers, stole all his best technology, and uses superheroism as an excuse to lash out and hurt people to make himself feel better.

But about halfway through, something changes. Peter does something truly noble, learns to stop chasing petty vengeance and starts to actually learn the true meaning of responsibility in a way that echoes deeper than a few well-placed words and a guilty conscience. In taking responsibility for his mistakes, Parker learns to become the hero he was meant to be, and for the first time, actually becomes Spider-Man.

From there, we see his relationship with Gwen grow into something real, watch him make amends with his Aunt May, and finally get to hear the wisdom of a simple man in Ben's last message. The entire tone grows with him.

The first part of the film is all about reality tearing down the core elements of Spider-Man and telling a story of what would actually happen in the situation described in Spider-Man’s origins. The second half is about taking those elements of reality and weaving them into the story to breathe new life into those core elements, resulting in a Spider-Man that is simultaneously more believable AND more true to the character than ever before.
  # comments: 2
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