“… like watching Arnie from ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ if he became a superhero.”
A while after the catastrophe that was Spider-Man 3, it was decided to revive the character of Spider-Man in an attempt to give a more faithful, and maybe less disappointing, adaptation to the fans (make more money). Holy shit did they fucking miss the mark. The Amazing Spider-Man once again follows Peter Parker, an angsty teen who uses Bing and has a flip-phone, as he learns to deal with newly acquired powers after being bitten by a spider that was like a super scientific spider. Instead of Mary Jane we have Gwen Stacey as the love interest, and the villain is none other than Dr. Curt Conners a.k.a The Lizard.
I don’t have more witty banter to ease you into this review so let’s just do it. Peter Parker is supposed to be a nerdy kid who has a heart of gold but isn’t the most popular guy, right? Where the fuck does it say that he has autism, because either I or Andrew Garfield completely misinterpreted the character. This iteration of Peter Parker was literally one spider bite away from become a fucking school shooter, and that makes his character more pathetic than it does endearing. Stuttering through sentences, not making eye contact with anyone, constantly shaking when he’s put in any social situation; it was honestly like watching Arnie from ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ if he became a superhero. Luckily, much like everyone on the internet, as soon as Peter Parker puts on his anonymity mask he becomes the witty cool guy that he wishes he could be all of the time. This version of Spider-Man, who is pretty much just an asshole, is one that I like more than the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man. He feels more in control, almost as if he’s more experienced despite the fact that they have the same amount of experience. A lot of people say that this version of Spider-Man is closer to the comics, but I don’t know about all of that; all I know is that he was good for a few laughs, and for that he’s alright in my book. Other characters of note include Gwen Stacey, who was alright I guess. I wasn’t really a fan of how much better than Peter she seemed to be in every way, but maybe I’m just drawing that comparison because Peter was literally fucking useless. I thought Emma Stone did a good job with her portrayal, but I will admit she played Gwen Stacey as “Emma Stone Clone #3452”. You also have the character of Dr. Conners who was cool, until he turned into The Lizard. I honestly can not say that I’ve seen a funnier looking villain in any movie ever. I understand that as far as human/lizard hybrids go this is about as good as it gets, but couldn’t you at least give the fucker a nose?
Apart form all of that I found the story of The Amazing Spider-Man to be pretty boring. Not only have we seen this origin story before, but the way the movie tackled seems kind of half-assed. Uncle Ben dying (spoilers, btw) is supposed to be a huge catalyst in the Spider-Man origin story, but in this movie it is brushed of in like two scenes. It seems like the characters didn’t care about anything, and this made it hard for me to care about anything. I also thought the music in the movie was always wrong. I’m not sure if it was just put in the wrong order, or if the composer wanted to go home for the night, but literally every time I noticed the music it was because I was thinking “What the fuck is this?”. Skateboarding montage where Peter also learns about his powers? Let’s throw some depressing indie shit in there. A superhero fight in a high school where a lot of people can be injured at any moment? Let’s throw some uplifting orchestra shit and be done with it. It was always fucking wrong. As far as the CGI in the movie goes, it was either great or terrible. A lot of the scenes with Spider-Man flying through New York, or the Lizard doing his thing wherever the fuck he was, looked great; but at the same time there were a lot of smaller details that looked like shit. For instance: during the bridge fight we see cars flying overhead and a giant Lizard is the one doing the throwing; that all looked fine. As soon as we get a close-up to one of the people trapped inside a car hanging off the bridge it looked like shit. It’s almost like they spent their entire budget on the Spider-Man and Lizard effects, so they had the fucking intern do the rest. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate where their priorities were, but one bad apple can unfortunately spoil the bunch.
Overall The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t what I would call great. My biggest issue with the film was the terrible characterization of Peter Parker, which made him seem mentally challenged, but I also had issues with the music and a few story points. What I did like in the film (the Spider-Man stuff) was few and far between, and honestly it is pretty forgettable anyway.
I give The Amazing Spider-Man a C