The Amazing Spider-Man

Well, here I am. I finished the NYU Summer Publishing Institute on Friday, and now I’m going to spend the next three weeks looking for a job and a place to live here in New York. I’ll also have a bit more time to blog. To start, I want to talk about The Amazing Spider-Man!

Official poster for The Amazing Spider-Man. Owned by Marvel and Sony Pictures.

A lot of people, including myself, were pretty surprised when we heard that Sony canned Spider-Man 4 and instead opted to reboot the franchise. To be honest, I think it was a good move as I thought Spider-Man 3 was pretty awful. I enjoyed the first two movies a lot even though I have a strong dislike for Kirsten Dunst, and only think Tobey Maguire did a mediocre job as Peter Parker. The third movie killed everything I actually did like, and if I were to see another Spider-Man movie then things needed some change.

And to my pleasure the change happened! The Amazing Spider-Man is a great reboot, and made the characters and setting far more contemporary than its predecessors. Peter may be bullied, but he isn’t the completely hopeless social outcast he was in the previous movies. He’s even been turned into a bit of a rebel. He has attitude, which may sound like something you’d hear me say in the early 90s, but I think it makes his character more relatable in some ways. While a part of us could all relate to the previous portrayal of Peter Parker as a down on his luck, extremely polite, can’t-get-a-date-for-the-life-of-him social reject, he may come off as almost too good at times. Add Tobey Maguire’s whininess and the portrayal can become laughable. That doesn’t happen this time around. Andrew Garfield is perfectly cast as Peter Parker. Pete still has some of that innocence in The Amazing Spider-Man, but it is tempered by his rebelliousness, and his quest for vengeance.

Spider-Man does catch bad guys at the start of his career, but only in search of his Uncle Ben’s killer. He doesn’t realize his heroic potential until he chooses to save a young boy trapped in a car. It was a very powerful scene that added some nice transformative depth to Spider-Man’s character. After that, Spidey learns he can be more than a vigilante. He is a hero.

And he needs to be, because this movie needs a hero! Entertainment Weekly compared The Amazing Spider-Man to Christopher Nolan‘s reboot of the Batman film franchiseThe Amazing Spider-Man is a lot darker than its predecessors both visually and thematically (Spider-Man even gets grazed by a bullet!). There is a sinister air hanging over Spidey’s version of New York City that goes beyond the insanity of the villain, The Lizard. There were numerous allusions to something far deeper than a good guy/bad guy slug fest, and Peter Parker’s late father is somehow involved. The questions posed by the allusions are never resolved in this movie, but there was a teaser for a sequel during the credits roll. We’ll likely see more.

In summary, I really enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man. It isn’t the best superhero movie out there, but it is a solid reboot of the series that shows promise for its upcoming sequels. Until then, swing high Spidey fans!

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