Would it be shocking if I were to say that I love movies? If you answered "yes" then remove yourself from this blog.
I've noted before that I've seen a colossal amount of movies this summer, and when I think about it, my bank account going into this upcoming school year would have been a few hundred dollars more comfortable. (I try my hardest not to think about the extra cash I might've had if not shoving it at Cineplex for my popcorn and tickets, but it's difficult) I've seen everything from a super-superhero group three times to another horrible Tim Burton movie, from a self-administered alien c-section to Kristen Stewart proving she's the fairest of them all to Tom Cruise being an awkward rock star amidst some of the campiest camp I've seen. Despite my obvious love for superhero movies I was never actually excited for The Amazing Spider-Man, partially because Spider-Man has never wowed me and partially because I have this fundamental spite for unnecessary remakes/reboots; this post then will first address how absolutely wrong I was about this movie and second the idea of remakes altogether.
Now that I think about it I should've known I'd like The Amazing Spider-Man. It has an awesome cast: Andrew Garfield just visually makes a better awkward high school teenager than Tobey Maguire, not to mention he's a great actor (see: The Social Network); I don't even need to touch upon any sort of explanation about Emma Stone because she's talented and pretty and funny and so grounded and, weirdly, intoxicating. It took a step backwards from the over-packed nonsense that was Spider-Man 3 with, what, seventy-five different villains or something? It seemed more akin to the comics with the involvement of Gwen Stacy as opposed to MJ who, I think, will be forever tainted by Kirsten Dunst and her snaggleteeth. (I'm too harsh on her. I loved Melacholia) All in all, it should've been far up on my must-see list for the summer, but amidst the horrible Tom Cruise and alien c-sections and the upcoming end-of-my-life The Dark Knight Rises, it was swept aside as something I didn't care for.
And then there was the whole remake thing. As I mentioned earlier, I'm somewhat against the idea of remakes happening in Hollywood. In theory, I might support it: if taken seriously, I would stand behind a fresh take on a "classic" (depends on the original movie) to update it, to revitalize it, and to broaden its reach to a newer generation of audience. And yet - do we ever get it? We're hit with an onslaught of needless horror remakes which do nothing stick within the confines of unimaginative cliches. Then, of course, we get the good ones: this past year's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo offered a more faithful adaption to the source material with a far more impressive Lisbeth Salander in Rooney Mara (who, coincidentally, failed as the center of the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street remake) than the muddled Swedish version. Or, in terms of series reboots, Batman Begins, which, alongside its sequel The Dark Knight and surely its upcoming conclusion, I'd argue is one of the best franchises and the best superhero movie(s) to date. Why can't all remakes be handled with the genius that Christopher Nolan has?
Not that I thought that The Amazing Spider-Man was going to be as horrific as something like Prom Night or Friday the 13th; rather: what would be the point of an artistic and cinematic re-imagination of a trilogy that wrapped up only six years ago? I get that originally it was supposed to be a fourth entry with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst once again up against Anne Hathaway as Black Cat (irony has her as Catwoman in the Batman Nolan-verse) - but what could be brought to the character that's so new it needs to be revisited only a decade after the first came to theaters? And therein lay my lack of excitement: the trailers offered me nothing I hadn't already seen in terms of the costume, the web-slinging, the action.
And like I said.. I was completely wrong.
I'll say that I enjoyed TASM (I'm officially lazy) far more than I did any of the original three movies, even though I appreciate Spider-Man 2 as being seriously well-done, albeit a little overrated. It's true that the movie didn't offer anything groundbreakingly new, considering we were given an origin story (complete with an Uncle Ben tragedy - that shouldn't be a spoiler although to be honest I thought he might die in a sequel) and the often-seen self-discovery jargon that comes with a newbie to a mask. Perhaps against its favour was the fact that Spider-Man was in 2001 so it's still slightly fresh in our minds - I can even remember seeing it in theaters. (Batman Begins, conversely, returned to a gritty Batman in 2005 who was [barely] last seen in 1991) And yet, I found myself having fun while watching, and I can say that director Marc Webb (ha) was successful in returning spark to the character and his world. That was almost entirely in part to a seriously believable and perfectly snarky Peter Parker as well as goddamn Emma Stone who would probably make a mass murderer of children who sets fire to hospitals and dog shelters endearing. Their chemistry was real, but that could be because they're a real life couple - aw - but the entire time I kept thinking 1. if they're going to follow the comics with Gwen as they should I will cry and 2. I do not want to see that ginger MJ anywhere near this couple and I can do without any love triangles in the sequel(s).
It was nice to see The Lizard onscreen finally, and he proved to be a scary and formidable opponent who hatched a last-ditch kill-the-whole-city plan that all superhero villains do. Similarly fresh was not using the obvious choice of the Green Goblin, but the set-up for future installments with Oscorp and the spoiler spoiler after the credits was great to see. Also great to see was the amount of humour coinciding with the grand action, which doesn't come to a shock considering Emma Stone has fantastic comedic timing and Andrew Garfield was similarly talented in that respect. Perhaps the most visually stunning shots came in the point-of-view swinging we're offered, which was awesome to see in 3D as everything usually is. (the 3D is worth the price)
Overall, I'd absolutely recommend it if you love comic book movies, action movies, or Emma Stone. Get thee to the cinema!