The Most Pleasant Surprise of the Year
JLFM - wrote on 07/29/12
Typically, when one walks into a film, they have pre-conceived notions and opinions about it. This was true for me when I walked into The Amazing Spider-Man. I had doubts that this reboot would be as good as the original 2002 film, and I was pretty sure it would just cover the same plot points as the original. This is why I was so surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. It's not the greatest film to grace the silver screen, and it is basically the same film we saw 10 years ago, but it's a lot of fun, and sometimes that's all I need.
Peter Parker (who was separated from his parents at the age of four) is a typical science nerd. That is, until he gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider, and begins to develop spider-like abilities. Now, he must learn to control his new found power in order to stop a monster called The Lizard.
One thing that surprised me about The Amazing Spider-Man was how different it felt from the original. Yes, it's mostly the same as the 2002 version (but with improved CGI and a new villain), but the feel is so much more different. It's more light and more comedic. Which, based on how you look at it, isn't a bad thing. An overly serious super hero film can quickly become disastrous.
There's significantly more action in The Amazing Spider-Man then there was in the original. And although the action is less inventive, the improved visual effects and the greater intensity overcomes the lack of originality.
Emotionally, The Amazing Spider-Man can't touch the original. The characters are less developed, the plot is less complex, and the romance (though there's less of it) feels forced. The Amazing Spider-Man isn't as touching or intelligent as the original.
But that's okay, that isn't the focus of The Amazing Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man only tries to be fun and exciting entertainment, and it does this splendidly. By eliminating most of the emotional aspects of the original, The Amazing Spider-Man makes more room for comedy. This won't appeal to everyone, but it makes it feel more fun.
J. Jonah Jameson, the publisher of The Daily Bugle was one of the best parts about the original trilogy. Sadly, he has been completely omitted from The Amazing Spider-Man. However, considering this is a reboot, it's unlikely that the same actor would've been hired, and even more unlikely that a new actor would be as memorable.
The Lizard can't touch Doc-Oc or The Green Goblin, as he's very straight forward. Kill Spider-Man. Take over the city. Revenge. Let's face it, the villain's development is rushed in favor of getting more action into the film, but I'm oddly okay with this.
The new league of actors perform well, but because of the straight forward nature of all the characters, the acting feels less impressive by comparison of the original. There are no actors that truly stand out. Andrew Garfield, replacing Tobey Maguire, plays a decent Spider-Man, but he tries too hard to imitate Maguire's performance. The mumbling, the shyness, it feels a bit too forced and not as natural. The acting is by no means bad, it's just not as good as in the original.
The score, composed by James Horner, is hands down better than that of the original. With surprisingly heavy use of the piano, and a minimal of techno effects and heavy percussion, the score improves on the original. There are some problems, though. Maybe I wasn't listening hard enough, but there didn't appear to be a recurring theme in the music, which may come back to bite Horner, considering that this is intended to be a franchise. Also, Horner is infamous for copying his own work in his scores, and while I haven't heard enough of Horner's work to judge, I've heard rumors of his Star Trek score finding it's way into The Amazing Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man isn't as intelligent, or defined as the original. It lacks the inventiveness and complex plot, as well as the iconic villain(s) that made the original such a hit. But The Amazing Spider-Man becomes a slightly better film by being what matters most in a film: Entertaining. It's light tone makes it much more comedic, and the action is more exciting. The votes will always be split as to which Spider-Man is better, but based on what I've seen so far, The Amazing Spider-Man shows an awful lot of promise.