Friday, July 6, 2012

A Film Review of the Amazing Spider-Man

Director Marc Webb puts the "ZING" in "Ahhhhhh-ma-ZING".  Indeed, the newly released Spider-Man movie is the best by far.  I really didn't pay much attention to the "spider poses" of our friendly neighborhood "bug-buddy" until this movie.  The agile and bendy acrobatic poses when Spider-man swings from building to building are magnificent!  You'd think that "cross-species genetics" even in its callow state would be so damn good!

The start of the movie was disappointing.  The good news is, this is the only part of the movie that did not make a good impression.  The rest I can assure you is a BLAST!!!   It started with a boy, young "spidey", playing hide-and-seek with his father.  He is on the staircase, a few feet away from the study where apparently a commotion took place.  From the disarray of  furnitures, and paper all over the room, you would of course think that the perpetrators are looking for something.  So, I wondered how this boy did not hear anything of what went down in that room.  Anyway, this is just a few minutes of the movie that told us how Peter Parker ended up with Aunt May and Uncle Ben, what seemed to have happened to his parents, and set the plot with his father's work on "cross-species genetics" and "decay rate algorithm".  This important part of the movie however, could have done in a more "cinematic" way.   After all, it's the movies, right?  Check it out - separation from parents, mysterious death, and an important and enigmatic scientific breakthrough.  These are ingredients for what could have been a few minutes of "shock and awe" with a dash of "melodrama".  The indelible imprints to a small child's memory are taken to adulthood that explains behavior and way of thinking.  LOL.  Sounds more like psycho-gobbledygook!

This version of Spiderman is "environmentally friendly".  Okay, that's just my pathetic attempt to introduce to you the three R's of solid waste management.  Hold it.  I am not saying that the movie is a "solid waste".  The 3 R's of solid waste management are REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.  I'll use these to provide you a good fourth R - REVIEW.

REDUCE.  What the heck?  Spiderman does not produce his own web anymore!  Oscorp is producing high tensile strength rope-like material from actual web of some species of genetically engineered spiders.  Peter Parker is shown to have invented a device that catapults the web from pellets where the product of those spiders were stored.  For me, this is way more logical than Spiderman producing the web from his wrists.  Why, you ask?  Because if indeed, the cross-species genetics has succeeded (with the spider biting Peter Parker on the neck), and that Spiderman produces the web just like any other spider, the web should come out from his ass and not from his wrists.  If anything, Peter Parker should have died when bitten especially by a genetically mutated or engineered spider.  Instead, what happened is that the traits of the super spider were infused with the human being.  Okay, we will forgive this since the original story of Spider-Man was written in an era where not much is known about genetics, let alone "cross-species genetics".

So, his super powers were REDUCED.  But, the film was able to show that Peter Parker is an able, cunning, and intelligent person.  I am just afraid of what could happen if the web pellets are no longer being produced by Oscorp.  Well, Peter Parker can always breed those spiders and eventually design his own pellets, or web holders, so to speak.   Did this ever cross your mind?

REUSE.  There's no need to tell you that some parts of the story are from the original version (if not at least in most versions) unaltered.  Aunt May and Uncle Ben, the doting and loving "parents", will always be there.  "With great power comes great responsibility", that illustrious tag line, will always be there, for sure.  The bullying at school is there.  The infamous spider bite, creation of the "unitard" costume, the death of Uncle Ben, and the desire for revenge are all there.  If you examine closely, some of these are perhaps the parts of the story where we all can relate to - reasons why Spider-Man no matter how many times it has been retold and remade in film keeps drawing fans, admirers, even devotees.  Spider-Man is a superhero who has quite a normal human alter-ego.  (Or is that the other way around? LOL.)

RECYCLE.  The movie has given life, and a new take on several of the elements of the story.  Mary Jane Watson is nowhere to be found, but there is Gwen Stacy.  I like Gwen Stacy.  Her character resounded strength, and intelligence, which is a world apart from Mary Jane's low-key and meek disposition.  I was told that Gwen Stacy is based on a much older version of Spider-Man in the 50's.  Gwen Stacy being the daughter of the Chief of Police suits very well the plot of the Amazing Spider-Man.  Her crucial role in obtaining the antidote to counter the villain's attempt to mutate the populace of the whole city into lizards fits like a glove to her character.  This is good recycling!

Another recycled element is the mutation of the antagonist - from a well-mannered scientist to a giant killing-lizard.  The way the scientist, Dr. Curt Connors, transformed into a beast, by subjecting himself to an unready serum is nothing new.  But the way Peter Parker got involved with the scientist's experimentation through his father's research; and the way the film showed the scientist's desire and intentions behind the experiments (so he can grown back an arm), to me are inventive.  I find it clever that these elements are intertwined because there is a larger field for the actors to play around with emotions especially with guilt and incertitude.  Also, there is an escape hatch for the villain's character redemption.

So, there you go.  Those were the 3 R's of the Amazing Spider-Man.  I feel however, that this review is incomplete without discussing the technical stuff.  As I said, the movie is amazing.  The cinematography is dark, brooding, and very New York (if that could be used to describe a high level of cinematographic sophistication).  I like the way the film is shot.   Scoring is okay.  Maybe I'm a little bit lukewarm on the score because whenever I see a movie with an outstanding score, it's really the first thing I always remember about the movie.  For this film it's a bit of a so-so.  Sorry!  ACTING?  Oh, there's really nothing bad I can say with Sally Fields and Martin Sheen.  They are great!  I like Emma Stone.  She was able to deliver the right sentiments for the character of Gwen Stacy.  Andrew Garfield is a great Peter Parker and Spider-Man.   His dramatic moments  with Sally Fields, Martin Sheen and Emma Watson are superb!  (I am a little bit distracted by his mouth… sorry, I have to say it.)  But he is a terrific actor.

I must say, if you haven't watched the Amazing Spider-Man, please do make the time to watch it.  It's worth your time and money.

P.S.  I watched the Amazing Spider-Man last June 29 here in Manila.   See my ticket below.   I was surprised to learn that it was shown in the States only in July 3.  Also, I booked for the tickets a week in advance so I can get seats in the 3D show and a cool poster.  I thought the poster was cool.  But it isn't.  Poor quality.  And I didn't get seats in 3D.  :-(  It was fully booked a week in advance.  Anyway, what are you doing still reading this post script?  Go…  go now and see the Amazing Spider-Man!


  1. Totally unnecessary re-boot, but it was still very fun and entertaining. Also, Garfield was a nice choice for Peter Parker even if I do miss Tobey Maguire just a tad bit. Just a tad, though. Good review Emohr.

    1. Hey, Dan O.. Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the fifth 'R' - "re-boot". LOL. You actually summed up the film in one sentence - "Totally unnecessary re-boot, but it was still very fun and entertaining.". Thanks again!