Monday, July 16, 2012

Spider-Man Redo A Much Needed Reboot

Artwork by Marcus McDaniel / Forum

by Marcus McDaniel of The Forum

It’s rare that a successful film franchise gets a reboot just ten years after its debut, but that is exactly the case with one of Marvel’s flagship heroes, the Amazing Spider-Man.  Ten years ago, I found myself in a theater mesmerized by a film I had been waiting to see since I was just a boy.  After years of wishing, my favorite super hero, Spider-Man, had finally made it to the big screen.  I can’t recall the exact amount of times I saw the movie in the theater, but let’s just say I spent a lot of money at the cineplex that summer.  While the original film mesmerized me when it first hit the big screen, the film has not aged well.  The original is plagued by bad dialogue and lacking a few things that made Spider-Man a favorite in the comics.  There was hardly any wisecracking, not too many acrobatics from the wall-crawler, his web-shooters weren’t mechanical, and you never really saw Peter Parker’s scientific genius at play.  
With the release of the new film, the Amazing Spider-Man, all of these flaws are rectified.  Spidey’s web slinging is as graceful as it is in the comics.  Each fight scene leaves you bewildered at the sheer speed and agility of Spider-Man all while making you laugh with a load of one-liners.  His mechanical web-shooters are self-made, and there are tons of instances where you get to see just how much of a genius Peter Parker really is.
The plot of the new film has a few similarities to the original but follows more closely to the origin story that was told in the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books.  We all know a radioactive spider bites him, so I won’t go into that but here’s the rest of the plot in a nutshell.  Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) lives with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) after the tragic and mysterious death of his parents.  One day as Peter is cleaning out the basement, he finds a briefcase that belongs to his dad and goes searching for answers about the contents of the briefcase.  That quest leads him to Oscorp Industries where he meets his father’s old science partner, Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans).  Dr. Conners is obsessed with splicing human and lizard DNA to regrow lost limbs (since he’s missing an arm himself) and with the help of Peter, comes up with the equation to do so.  Although the formula is not ready for human trials, Conners is forced to use it on himself and turns himself into a reptilian beast, dubbed the Lizard.  Peter feels responsible and takes it upon himself to stop the Lizard.
While the synopsis of the film may be a long read, it seemed even longer to watch.  The pacing of the movie was extremely slow, and the film seemed to be more of a drama/love story than an action film.  The film dealt more with how Peter Parker copes with all the tragedy in his life, while discovering who he is and balancing his love life with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).  The slow pace is not necessarily a bad thing though.  The character development actually makes you feel for the characters, and in my opinion, sets things up for a sequel that should be pure action since we know all we need to know about the main characters.  
This version of Spider-Man feels like something right off the comic pages. As I previously stated, the web swinging, wise cracking and action sequences are enough to wow any moviegoer.  Although these aspects do make the movie enjoyable, I do have a few gripes about this adaptation.  Maybe it’s the Spiderman fanboy in me, but I was not pleased with the look of the Lizard or the fact that he talked.  The Lizard in this movie looked less like an actual lizard and more like a “weird monkey-thing” and the Lizard I know from the comics rarely spoke, if at all.  If he did, they were simple words and made him seem more beast-like. Also, during the web-slinging scenes there were random cut aways to Spidey’s hands and feet.  Again, these are minor gripes I have as a Spider-Man fan that won’t take away from the film.  
While the pacing may have been slow, Spidey fans and movie lovers alike should enjoy this film.  This movie has something for everyone.  Whether it’s the great fight scenes or the love story, super hero enthusiasts and Spider-Man fanatics will flip for the Amazing Spider-Man.   8/10

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