Jul 4, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

I am so glad that I decided to read every issue of Ultimate Spider-Man before my Marvel Digital Comics subscription lapsed. Even though the film borrows the name from the 616 continuity (that is the standard brick and mortar Marvel Universe for you non-comic folk), the film reeks of the retooled version of Spider-Man penned by Brian Michael Bendis.

The smartest move the producers and writers made was get rid of Mary Jane Watson. Gwen Stacy was the absolute right choice for the coming of age high school centric story the film pursues. The early days of Peter Parker are deeply called upon and translate really well on screen. The dynamic between Flash Thompson and Peter Parker is great, even if it does hit a little too close to home, and the first love awkward romance between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy plays off perfectly, no thanks to the acting chops of both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

Rhys Ifans was a great choice for Dr. Curtis Conners, but I was very disappointed in the CG monster that was the Lizard. I am just more of a fan of the snout version instead of the humanoid looking one. The split lip going up to the ears worked well, but it looked a little half done to me. One thing I did love though was that they kept the intelligence of Dr. Conners inside the Lizard, as the writers could have taken a simple turn down easy street and made him a bumbling monstrosity that just liked to destroy things. The intelligence gave the monster an actual story arc. During a battle in the high school, the Lizard really shows his mental powers in a way that parallels the dichotomy of Spider-Man/Peter Parker very well.

The more cock-sure version of
Spider-Man from the Ultimate Universe
Denis Leary stole the show with every scene he was in, which is no surprise as Captain Stacy isn't exactly a far stretch from his character in Rescue Me. This time instead of playing a NYC Firefighter he just plays the chief of police. He bickers really well with Garfield and plays over protective father of Gwen Stacy with much ease.

One thing that is odd about the film though is that it manages to balance that fine line of humor and seriousness. I have read some complaints that Spider-Man takes off his mask too much, but he only does it willingly once, and that was to help give courage to a kid who could have had fate end his life then and there. When Spider-Man hands his mask off to the kid he simply says "Put it on, the mask, it's gonna make you strong". And honestly, that is exactly how super heroes should work. They should encourage people to push themselves forward. Not only does this movie push the mythos of Spider-Man further into the public eye, but it does so with heart and purpose.