Thursday, 19 July 2012

Spider-man - Amazing and Regular (2002 - 2012)


I must admit that when I first heard about The Amazing Spider-man project I was intrigued. Andrew Garfield sounded like an interesting choice as Peter Parker, and I wondered how 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb was going to handle the super-hero genre. When I saw the trailer however my thought was “aren’t they just rehashing Sam Raimi’s genesis story from 10 years ago?” What’s the point in that? Won’t it be completely redundant? Well, yes and no.

First of all, Peter Parker. Andrew Garfield is certainly a better actor than Tobey Maguire, but perhaps almost too good. I feel that Peter Parker works better as an awkward geek (just my opinion from the films, I’ve never read any of the comics), and Garfield comes across as being too confident and almost a bit cocky; Tobey is far more awkward and this makes his transformation into a physically stronger super-hero more convincing. The relationship between Parker and Gwen was good (perhaps this is Marc Webb’s forté), but again I felt that it was a bit too familiar. This of course is explained by the history between Gwen and Peter. Compare this to MJ not really knowing who Peter is despite him living next door, and Peter only gets the confidence to talk to her once he has his alter-ego. Both of these scenarios are valid enough I guess, I just prefer the route of the geeky awkward PP.

The transformations themselves were dealt with differently, and again, I think I prefer that of regular Spider-man. Like I’ve already said, I’m not familiar with traditional Spider-Man canon, but to me it makes more sense that one of the abilities that is conferred having been bitten by an engineered spider is being able to spin webs. Having to make your own web-slingers is rubbish! Though I preferred Peter going home, feeling rotten, falling asleep and then finding everything had changed; I did like the apologetic way that Garfield’s Peter beat everyone up on the Subway! However, I don’t remember Garfield’s spider-sense ever tingling; not very amazing.

I feel like I’m continually dissing the Amazing Spider-Man here (only purely in comparison to Sam Raimi’s film), but Rhys Ifans’ Lizard is nothing compared to Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin. Ifans certainly doesn’t have the presence or gravitas that Dafoe does. There was even a scene in the sewers as Dr Curt Connors (Ifans’ character) argues with himself about taking another dose of whatever it is that makes him the lizard, clearly mimicking the brilliant scene in Spider-Man when Norman Osborne has the schizophrenic argument with his Green Goblin persona.

I could maybe compare more, but I feel that I’m really slagging The Amazing Spider-man, which isn’t my intent. There is much to like. I’ve already mentioned that I think Garfield is a better actor than Maguire, but the choice of Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben was also a good one. He breathes far more life into his brief screen time than Cliff Robertson does. I also liked the character of Captain Stacy (though I want to say his name in a Cap-tain Scar-let kinda way!), he gave Spidey an internal ally as well as a verbal sparring partner when they first meet. However the conclusion to this scene is Parker’s reveal to Gwen, which I thought was all too sudden and impetuous.

“Wristslap”; I’m being negative again. The Amazing Spider-man is a good film, it is a great cast, cool story, and lots of great action (thanks to Vic Armstrong), and there are some nice camera moves & first person web-shooting/swinging. The mistake I’ve made is watching Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man immediately afterwards, and I just prefer the decisions made in this film compared to the Amazing one, that’s all. That’s, just, like, er, my opinion man!