Last night after some fairly soulgasm delicious sushi at Wasabi, I treated my wife to a viewing of the newly released The Amazing Spider-man. I went in at least half expecting it to make Tobey Maguire sit in a dark corner and weep with his head in his hands. Comic book films in general have grown in leaps and bounds since the original X-Men trilogy, Spider-man trilogy, and the ever infamous and slightly aneurysm inducing Batman & Robin. Where once we were treated with campy, comic-like plots and cheesy fan easter eggs to get the occasional “ohhhh” from the uber-nerd, we are now treated with thoughtful, plot driven, and extremely well selected cast ensembles. The Amazing Spider-man was no exception.
((SPOILER ALERT)) You’ve been warned.
The film starts off with a young Robert Parker, Peter’s father, playing a game of hide-and-seek with his young, still innocent son. We quickly learn that Peter’s father is a mega-genius-alter-genetics-and-ultimately-destroy-the-world-by-accident kind of guy. His parents mysteriously vanish and Peter is left to be raised by his iconic Uncle Ben and melodramatic Aunt May. First off, the cast for high-school Peter Parker, flawless. The casting of Uncle Ben, flawless. Although I was originally skeptical from the previews, Martin Sheen gave a very subtle yet powerful performance as the pivotal character death that drove Peter Parker do become his sticky alter ego. We see the usual Spider-man storyline: alot of suck, bullied at school, nerdy and socially awkward. But since Andrew Garfield can actually act, we see something on screen that has never happened before.
Peter’s infatuation with fellow high-schooler Gwen Stacey (the beautiful Emma Stone) sets the perfect portrait of how daunting talking to a girl in high-school can be. Peter discovers a briefcase left by his father that includes an algorithm and a photo of Robert Parker working alongside Dr. Curt Connors. Peter sneaks into Oscorp to meet with Dr. Connors and wanders around to meet his destiny. He is then bitten by a genetically altered spider and, well, you know the rest. He then manages to wrap Gwen around his finger, save Dr. Connors job by assisting with the algorithm, and lives happily ever after. Wait, that’s not what happened.
Instead, Dr. Connors uses the animal cross-DNA on himself to grow back his missing right arm. It goes brilliantly! He grows his arm back and they all live happily ever after. Wait, again I got that wrong. Instead Connors continues mutating until he grows into a super fast, super strong, super intelligent lizard who proceeds to wreak general mayhem and squeal with glee at the amount of destruction he can cause. Eventually Gwen Stacey finds out that Peter is Spider-man, the Lizard finds out Peter is Spider-man, and Gwen’s father the chief of police finds out that Peter is Spider-man. Okay, he’s not very good at keeping a secret.
Peter, a senior in high-school that lives in the city learns how to sew spandex and makes a really cool blue and red outfit with a giant spider logo and sunglasses for eye pieces. No really. Then he Google’s “Oscorp super rope” and creates webshooters that don’t really shoot web but instead a ridiculously strong piece of metal. This is not explained in detail or very believable. But it looked cool and I can’t really complain about it. We are left with “well Peter is really smart so he can make all this stuff in his basement.” So Peter battles the Lizard several times, clearly outmatched and loses badly each time. Connors decides that the human race is weak and stupid and pointless and wants everyone to be evolved super animals. He makes a serum to spread the toxin throughout the city. Gwen Stacey makes an antidote. Spidey and Lizard fight and again Peter is outclassed, but just like in the comic books he uses his wit and cunning intelligence to undo vastly superior enemies. The antidote is released instead of the toxin and everybody goes off happily.
Oh except Gwen because the Lizard killed her father. And Peter because he has to break up with Gwen after promising her father to stay away. And Aunt May cause Uncle Ben was murdered. So Sally Field is forced to carry scenes by herself and completely fudges it up. Hopefully they recast for the sequel. In the end we are treated with a slow motion John Woo like scene where Spider-man web-slings in slow motion with pigeons flying behind him. No really. The end. But wait, just before the scrolling credits, we see Dr. Connors escorted into a jail cell. A mysterious man appears and gets hostile and then vanishes. It’s very cryptic and I don’t think even diehard Spider-man fans would understand. After a Google search, no straight answer is given. Director Mark Webber left it intentionally mysterious. My vote is for Mysterio. A lot of folks think it was Norman Osbourne himself. Interesting thought, but the man literally vanishes in a shadowy corner that is only wall.Soooo who knows? Not this guy.
All in all, Spider-man was a breath of fresh air in the series. It was a well done reboot. But they left us with a lot of unanswered questions. It could have been more, they could have cut certain scenes, hell they could have not fucking killed Dennis Leary; but overall I think it was a great film. Andrew Garfield is a legitimate Spider-man. My biggest complaint is Sally Field. She acted like shit and did not, at all, fit the part of Aunt May. I’m glad they didn’t kill off the Lizard and I’m also glad they didn’t have Peter kill or beat up the guy who shot Uncle Ben. They left it open for a sequel and I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait long to see more on this classic red and blue character. Needed for the next film: Gwen Stacey’s death, spider trackers, Peter’s photography gig for taking pictures of Spider-man, and JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jamison. I repeat JK FUCKING SIMMONS AS J. JONAH JAMISON. That is all.