Friday, July 20, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

It's been some time since I've seen this movie and much of it has already slipped away from me.  I know I won't be the first to say the movie was unnecessary, and even its great cast did not make it rise above that level.  The film had significant pacing issues, though I'll admit it's hard to find a superhero origin story film that doesn't.  That's one thing that made The Avengers click so nicely--we already knew most of the characters and where they came from.  The previous Avengers series films weren't required viewing in order to understand the film, but they did enhance the experience.

Spider-Man did not have that advantage, though it's been only ten years since that origin was told the last time.  I suppose nearly the same could be said of Christopher Nolan's Batman series, but at least his films had something new to say about the iconic superhero.  The Amazing Spider-Man feels like ground retrod with new actors and not much more.

Don't get me wrong, though, I liked those new actors.  Emma Stone has blossomed into one of my favorite young actresses in the last few years and Andrew Garfield is always likeable.  Other old standbys like Martin Sheen, Sally Field, and Rhys Ifans gave enjoyable, emotional performances as well.  The problem is, a good cast can only elevate a mediocre script so much--they did what they could, but what they could didn't end up being that much.  The Perfect Girlfriend was given no character development.  The Tortured Scientist walked predictable, well-worn ground.  The Police Chief went through the same old steps. 

I didn't really read comic books when I was a kid, but I did watch a lot of superhero cartoons.  I loved the X-Men, but when it came down to an individual hero, Spider-man was always my favorite.  He had really cool powers, but he was still very human.  I loved him for the same reason most kids loved him.  We weren't billionaires with a chip on our shoulders and an endless supply of toys.  We weren't near-invincible aliens who could do anything and everything.  We were kids who were out to have some fun in the world, and even if serious things came along with superpowers, we would have fun with them.  Sure, we'd do good things and save people, but we'd enjoy it, like Spider-man enjoyed it.

I'm sure this film will get its cast a sequel, and I don't mind that.  I really enjoyed this Spider-Man's new fighting/webbing/moving style and the sarcastic undercurrent to his snappy remarks.  I like Andrew Garfield in the role quite a bit.  I'm sure there is more to explore in his story, and I just hope they find a way to do it that doesn't feel so familiar.

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