Posts Tagged ‘ Andrew Garfield ’

The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Review (2D)

It’s the reboot none of us really needed, but probably the one we deserved right now. That was my thought process when sitting down ready to watch Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man. While the latest Spidey-flick does tread over a lot of previously covered ground, it manages to tell much more of an emotional tale than what any other superhero blockbuster has managed to do, making it one of the better comic book movies out there.

Perhaps one of the main reasons audiences have been so against Sony’s decision to reboot the Spider-Man franchise is given the context of the current state of comic book movies. When Sam Raimi hit the ground running in 2002 with his Spider-Man début, there had only really been one great comic book movie with Bryan Singer’s X-Men to challenge against (two if you count Blade). Wind forward ten-years later, Spidey finds himself up against the might of The Avengers, and the punch of The Dark Knight Rises.

It’s because of this factor the film often struggles to find its own identity. Too often it feels as if Webb’s film has been influenced by what Christopher Nolan has achieved with the Batman franchise. Taking a Batman Begins approach to Spidey’s origin may have seemed like a good idea, if only Webb could keep with it. The shift in tone is remarkably jarring at times, but recovers by the end when the film falls into more familiar superhero territory.

The story is simple. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is sent to live with his aunt and uncle at a young age after his parents (are they spies?) are presumably sent away on a mission. Cut to present-day and an angst-filled Parker has developed into a social outcast at school, while resenting not knowing the truth about the fate of his parents.

Colliding with this tale however is the journey of Dr. Curtis Conners (Rhys Ifans), a scientist desperate to regrow his missing limb through cross-species genetics. This is where problems with the script are notably on display, as the plot-threads don’t intertwine well at all, and we are left with little closure on any of them.

Performance wise, Andrew Garfield is a revelation as Peter Parker. Not only sporting a physique much more akin to the Peter from the comic books, but also bringing with him an attitude that was missing from the Raimi films. Sure, some of the one-liners fall flat on occasions, but this is much more of a relevant Parker than what Tobey Maguire achieved. If a teenager suddenly got spider-powers, would the first thing they do really go and sign up for a wrestling match. No, and Webb’s film brilliantly captures Peter exploring his powers.

Peter’s love interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is a welcome change from the typical damsel in distress role Kristen Dunst played with Mary-Jane Watson. For once, a comic book movie has a strong female lead, with Gwen being top of her class at school, while holding down an internship at Oscorp.  Furthermore, Stone proves to have fantastic chemistry with co-star Garfield, and the Gwen/Peter scenes pack far more of an emotional core than the Magure/Dunst relationship ever did. Many reviews have unfairly labelled the film as ‘Twilight in spandex’, however the relationship between Peter and Gwen elevates the film at least two stars, even succeeding where Nolan’s films have failed in giving us an interesting female lead.

Rhys Ifans gives a solid performance as Curt Conners, despite his character feeling very reminiscent of the brilliant Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2. Denis Leary does an impressive job playing Gwen’s father Captain George Stacy, bringing a likeable quality to him despite acting as one of Spider-Man’s nemesis for much of the film, while Martin Sheen is a brilliantly funny Uncle Ben, further adding to the inevitable tragedy that entails.

Special effects wise, the film does an impressive job with the practical effects used in scenes when Peter Parker is web-slinging, however that’s probably the best compliment I can give as it’s clear this is a much smaller-budget production than the Raimi films. From a choreography stand-point, some of the action scenes were brilliantly done, but the effects used on the Lizard were laughable at times, and it’s questionable as to why they didn’t give the Lizard a snout as originally thought as it would have looked far more menacing.

Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man was a welcome surprise. Despite having some dreadful CGI in places, the fantastic leads and emphasis on drama makes this a truly spectacular reboot. Now if they can get Webb back for the sequel we might get a movie that can top Spider-Man 2

Ohh, and there are many hints towards the sequel…

8/10

Why 2012 Was The Wrong Year for The Amazing Spider-Man

(This is not a review)

Amazing Spider-man Int. Poster

Amazing Spider-man Int. Poster (Photo credit: marvelousRoland)

The official reviews for The Amazing Spider-Man are in. While the film itself isn’t released here in the UK for another week, the general consensus is the Marc Webb directed Amazing Spider-Man is a good film that diminishes itself by rehashing an origin no one really wanted to see. With Marvel’s The Avengers managing to easily pass the $1 billion mark already this year and The Dark Knight Rises expected to do better, was 2012 really the best year for the return of the high school Peter Parker?

Despite popular opinion, Spider-Man 3 (2007) was not the huge disaster it’s often made out to be. Emo-Spidey and underdeveloped villains aside, Spider-Man 3 still managed to be the highest-grossing film of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. It should have been easy to follow suit with a fourth movie. If Internet rumour was correct, Sony would now be the one’s having Anne Hathaway as their anti-hero in their franchise, not Warner Bros. With Hathaway’s Hollywood stock at an all-time high, Sony would have been guaranteed success with Hathaway and Jon Malkovich. Instead, studio interference led to director Raimi dropping out, leaving the project without a director and crew. Sony insisted they had no choice but to reboot with Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire as the lead hero.

A new Spider-Man film should have been easy to sell to anyone. Spider-Man is one of the most relatable and popular superheroes of all time, and is Marvel’s highest-grossing franchise to date. How could it go wrong? Perhaps taking the focus away from the action, and focusing on the relationship between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Sony has risked alienating their biggest audience. Children. Children that wear the Spider-Man pyjamas, the Spider-Man face paint and buy the Spider-Man toys. The Avengers catered for everyone and as a result it’s managed to become the third highest-grossing film of all time. Will The Amazing Spider-Man reach similar heights? I doubt it.

I credit The Amazing Spider-Man for deliberately trying not to cater for the superhero action extravaganza audiences. After all, they’ve already been catered for this year with The Avengers, so why bother trying to outdo a group of superheroes when you can tell a more personal and intimate story? That’s where I admire The Amazing Spider-Man’s ambition. It’s trying to be different from your usual superhero flick, or is it? There are some very direct parallels between Webb’s reboot and the Raimi movies. The Lizard for one treads the same water Alfred Molina already crossed with the tortured scientist trying to make the world a better place as the brilliant Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, while Denis Leary’s Captain Stacey fills the void left by J. Jonah Jameson played by J. K. Simmons.

If The Amazing Spider-Man was never going to be the cinematic revolution many hoped it would be, you would think Sony would know better than to put their reboot between two franchise juggernauts. Providing a film to match Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary in 2012 is a nice sentiment, but it looks as if Sony has paid the price for re-visiting Spider-Man’s origin. Looking at next year’s comic book movie schedule, there’s Iron Man 3 hitting cinemas May 3rd Man of Steel on 14th June and Thor 2 on the 8th of November. That’s a pretty crammed schedule, and adding a fourth superhero film to 2013 risks over-saturating the comic book movie industry, so The Amazing Spider-Man probably wouldn’t have faired much better there either.  Will The Amazing Spider-Man find itself as the first major casualty of an over-saturated market? That’s something that’s long been on the horizon but until now with the exception of Warner Bro’s Green Lantern, we’ve never really noticed it. When was it going to get to a point where people started tiring of comic book movies?

I may be wrong, and The Amazing Spider-Man may go on to hit the $1 billion mark, however it was never going to meet my people’s expectations. If I want dark and gritty, I can wait to see The Dark Knight Rises. If I want a romance film embedded in fantasy, the Twilight finale hits at the end of the year. Raimi nailed with the character in my opinion. Spider-Man is so compelling because he’s a character surrounded by tragedy, by uses it to drive him to achieve good in the world.

When Sony booked the 2012 slot, they should have considered that rehashing a worn- down gritty origin was never going to satisfy fans that have just seen The Avengers. From the moment the first trailer was released, The Amazing Spider-Man has always felt dwarfed. If the plan was to deliver Twilight in spandex, they should have perhaps waited for the vampire franchise to actually finish.

Judging The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the summer begins, so does the massive on-going debate over which comic book movie will reign supreme in 2012. Will it be Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie? Perhaps the return of Spider-Man to the big screen will win over fans and critics alike. Or will the final instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises prove to the best comic book movie yet?

While I’m a bigger Batman fan than I am Avengers, I feel as if The Dark Knight Rises isn’t offering audiences anything new than what we’ve seen before. Like so many comic book fans, I’m fairly critical of Christopher Nolan for waiting over three years before creating a sequel to arguably the greatest superhero film of all time. I understand reasons beyond his control may have caused him to change from his original script, but I felt as if he needed to strike while the iron was hot.

Now, four years later, The Dark Knight is going to be competing against the likes of Marvel’s Avengers, and the return to cinema of Spider-Man. If we take a look at what The Dark Knight Rises is offering us, there is the existing dilemma over whether Bruce Wayne is able to stay on as The Batman, Commissioner Gordan facing more criticism from his peers, and a new villain that will push Batman to his limits, wielding a potential weapon of mass destruction.

It all sounds a bit similar. Don’t get me wrong, I am greatly looking forward to what Anne Hathaway can bring to the Catwoman role, as we’ve yet to have a true breakout female character in the trilogy. Batman’s previous love interest, Rachel Dawes, was a bland character, who seemed to regress over the course of the two films before meeting her demise. I’m sure we’ll hear more revelations about who Marion Coltillard is really playing, but for now, there just isn’t enough to make me believe The Dark Knight Rises will be able to outclass The Avengers or Spider-Man for that matter.

Perhaps The Dark Knight has returned at a time where it faces much tougher opposition. New dark fantasy film, The Hunger Games has opened up with a weekend of sensational success, massively exceeding expectations by having the best opening weekend for a non-sequel, and third best opening weekend of all time. Not bad for a film that has had the misfortune of being labelled as the next Twilight. The Avengers is approaching in a month’s time, and in terms of scale and ambition, blows the Batman franchise out of the water.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly have its class, as Nolan has demonstrated how to perfectly mix superhero action and intimate drama, it’s not holding the same impression The Dark Knight had in 2008. Perhaps coming towards the end of the summer wasn’t the best idea for Warner Bros. The storyline seems good, borrowing from one of the most critically acclaimed Batman stories of all time, in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Perhaps this is another problem that might not work well for Warner Bros. The Dark Knight Returns is a brilliant story, that could easily be translated into a fresh trilogy of films. If this is to be the last we see of Christian Bale as Batman, a future trilogy based on Frank Miller’s story would have been an effective way for Warner Bros to keep the Batman franchise going. If Nolan has already covered the storyline of an aged, weakened Bruce Wayne coming out of retirement in The Dark Knight Rises, it doesn’t leave much for Warner Bros to able to continue developing the existing Batman franchise without resorting to a franchise reboot.

While The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly earn a great deal of success, whether or not it will live long in the memory of film fans remains to be seen. In a cinematic year where we’ve already had a masterclass in dark fantasy, a group of Marvel’s best superheroes facing an alien army due, and the return of Marvel’s most beloved wall-crawler, 2012 may prove to be beyond Nolan.

 

 

Deconstructing: The New Amazing Spider-Man Trailer

What a week it’s been for comic book fans. On Sunday we were treated to an action packed trailer for The Avengers and now Sony have gone and done one better by releasing an extraordinary two and half minute trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man. Starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Conners, this brilliant trailer gives us our first look at The Lizard, as well as highlight that this is a very different incarnation of Spider-Man than what we’ve seen before. (Spoilers below)

All Rights Belong To Sony

1) Peter Parker Is A Genius

One thing that initially worried me about the Spider-Man reboot was that they would try and change Peter Parker’s character too much in order to differentiate from Sam Raimi‘s films. Thankfully though, this reboot looks to have captured Peter’s personality better than ever, as hear we see him designing what looks to be his web shooters proving that Parker is indeed a genius in the film.

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2) This Is A Darker Spider-Man

Here we get our first look at Spider-Man’s new suit in action as he webs up a car thief to a wall. Peter’s wisecracks and sarcastic humour traits are still evident as just before he asks the thieves “Do you seriously think I’m a cop in a skin tight red and blue suit?” There’s definitely a sense of arrogance however that stems from the hero, something that was lacking in the previous films.

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3) Peter Is Connected To The Villain

Here we meet Dr. Curt Conners played by Rhys Ifans. Peter introduces himself to his future nemesis by stating he was Curt’s partner’s son, revealing that an interesting sub-plot to this movie involves Peter’s parents. What Spider-Man 2 showed us is that when the hero has an emotional tie to the villain, the showdown is far more engaging. It’s where other superhero movies such as Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avenger failed, as they didn’t build up a relationship between the hero and villain enough for us to care who wins.

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4) He Creates The Villain

Again, this is another example of how well Marc Webb has built up the Parker/Conners relationship as we find out from a weakened Peter that he is somehow responsible for the creation of the Lizard. This is further shown as we also see Peter display his impressive knowledge to Conners that somehow allows Conners to re-grow his missing arm back. Like all scientific villains though, it goes wrong and he eventually mutates into the Lizard that you see above. From this image, it looks as if those PEZ dispenser images we saw a while back were more accurate than we realised. It’s definitely a more humanoid Lizard than what most people expected, but Internet rumour suggests that Dr. Conner’s transformation progresses in stages and eventually towards the end of the film we will see a more monstrous version of the Lizard.

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5) He Is A Wanted Man

Yet another example of how grittier this incarnation of Spider-Man is, here we see Spider-Man apparently being unmasked by Captain Stacey (played by Denis Leary), father of Peter’s love interest Gwen Stacey. The Spider-Man as an outlaw theme was only briefly explored in the original films, therefore seeing Spider-Man having to win over the public is an important part of the comic book mythos that Marc Webb seems to have captured brilliantly. It also elevates the drama in Amazing Spider-Man to Batman Begins type levels. I’m guessing Captain Stacey doesn’t make it until the end of film though.

All Rights Belong To Sony

6) New Love Interest

Another theme the trailer conveys well is the strong relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey. Previous Spider-Man films simply had Peter lust over Mary Jane until he finally got her. Now, there looks to be a more complex relationship between Peter and his love interest, as it’s clear Gwen Stacey knows Peter is Spider-Man quite early on, and that there is a strong friendship underneath their relationship as well. Keeping the Parker luck mythos of the comics alive though, is the fact that her father is hunting Spider-Man, making for one complex relationship.

All Rights Belong To Sony

7) Justified 3-D

As you may have seen from this site, I am not a fan of watching movies in 3-D. Too often than not, films are pointlessly converted into 3-D post-production, leaving most of the film distorted for a few pointless 3-D moments that are somehow meant to justify a more expensive ticket. Thankfully though, The Amazing Spider-Man was actually filmed in 3-D, and judging on the trailer, the action scenes are likely to complement the 3-D spectrum brilliantly. Reviews from Monday night’s Amazing Spider-Man secret footage reveal have all been praising the film’s 3-D, meaning for once I might actually be happy to watch a film in 3-D. That’s something no Marvel Studios film has managed yet.

So there’s my deconstruction of the new Amazing Spider-Man trailer. In short, I feel as if it was a fantastic trailer that offered plenty of substance and action, without spoiling too much of the plot. If this and the Avengers are anything to go by, 2012 is going to be a fantastic year for comic book movies.

Could Spider-Man Be In The Avengers After All?

Spider-Man: Big Time

Image via Wikipedia

It’s safe to say my anticipation for The Avengers film has reached an all time high. With just three months to go until the movie hits, my mind is full of questions. Who are the villains? Where is the new trailer? Will Hawkeye be more than just a supporting character, and most importantly, will any other Avengers cameo?

Rumours have recently been circulating online regarding Spider-Man potentially having a cameo in The Avengers movie. Normally, it’s easy to ignore these types of rumours, as the Avengers are owned by Marvel, and Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man. What fuels these rumours this time though is that Disney will be involved in the merchandising rights for The Amazing Spider-Man, meaning Disney have some weight in the Marvel character’s film rights. Could it be that Disney made a deal with Sony for Spider-Man to show up in The Avengers, if it meant Disney would aid Sony by undertaking a strong merchandising effort for The Amazing Spider-Man?

It would be great to see Peter Parker show up in The Avengers. Among all Easter eggs, seeing a top character like Spider-Man appear would be a crowning achievement for Marvel Studios. For Sony, I can only imagine that an Avengers cameo for Spidey would perhaps create some momentum for the character, considering his own film would still be some three months away. Plus, Spider-Man’s return to cinema comes at a time when a certain Dark Knight returns for a second sequel. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone aside, it’s safe to say The Dark Knight Rises will easily out perform The Amazing Spider-Man at the box office. Sony will need all the help they can get if they want to compete with the likes of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

Honestly though, I can’t see Spider-Man appearing in The Avengers. Neither studio would gain enough from it. Marvel are riding off the success of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, while Sony are likely to bring in strong enough numbers based on the Spidey name alone. It would certainly be good if it did happen, as it would signal the end of movie studios clinging to individual characters, and if Marvel Studios could eventually win back Spider-Man, who says they couldn’t one day reclaim the X-Men? Regardless, Sony have always stood strong with the Spidey franchise (Spider-Man 3 story aside) so I don’t think they would be in any rush to sell one of the world’s most popular superheroes too soon.

Which Comic Book Movie Will Be The Best In 2012?

The Dark Knight Rises

Image via Wikipedia

2011 was a huge year for comic book movies. X-Men: First Class was the best-reviewed superhero movie of the year, but Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger weren’t that far behind. The only disappointment was Green Lantern. Now with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man coming up this year, I’m going to look at what movie I think will triumph best over fans and critics.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance:

Scheduled for release on February 17th 2012, Spirit of Vengeance is a sequel/reboot to the 2007 film Ghost Rider. Once again starring Nicholas Cage, Spirit of Vengeance faces an uphill battle. The original Ghost Rider was a relatively small success, but was met with mixed to negative reviews leading to the confusion of fans as to why a sequel is actually being released. Regardless, The Spirit of Vengeance’s trailer looked impressive, but my hopes were dashed when the first set of reviews came in claiming the sequel is worse than the original. Prediction: 2/5

The Avengers:

It’s taken four years and five movies, but the 27th April 2012 (UK) sees the release of Marvel’s star-studded ensemble film. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo, The Avengers unites the heroes from the Marvel Universe to save the world from Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his army.

There’s so much riding on The Avengers. If the film is met with both critical acclaim and financial success, it will burst open the doors for Marvel to explore films for other characters. Financially, The Avengers should break records, but the X-Men franchise has shown it can sometimes be difficult for superhero films to handle an ensemble cast, and with a star studded cast like this, Joss Whedon has a huge challenge on his hands making sure every character gets enough development. Expect high-octane action, but perhaps some lack of character development. Prediction: 3/5

The Dark Knight Rises

Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy with the arrival of a new villain Bane, (Tom Hardy) who pushes Gotham City to his limits, forcing a fugitive Batman (Christian Bale) out of retirement after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes.

It’s such a common trend for the third movie in a franchise to falter (Spider-Man 3, X-Men: The Last Stand) but Christopher Nolan shouldn’t have any problems here. With a new female lead in Catwoman, (Anne Hathaway) The Dark Knight Rises should provide an epic conclusion to the Batman saga. The only problem I can see arising is criticisms towards Bane’s distorted voice, but otherwise this will probably be the best comic book movie of the year. Prediction: 5/5

The Amazing Spider-Man

Directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man marks a reboot in the Spider-Man saga. Starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, respectively. The film will showcase Peter Parker’s origin in high school/college as he develops his superpowers.

It was a bold move for Sony to reboot the Spider-Man franchise so soon. With Spider-Man 3 released only five years ago, it baffled many as to why Sony chose to reboot a franchise that audiences generally liked. Nevertheless, it’s back to school for Peter Parker, in a move that might harm the film’s chances of success. Spidey has the most well-known origin of all the superheroes, and seeing Uncle Ben die again might not strike gold at the box office. Regardless, the practical web-slinging effects should render the film unique from other superhero movies, and it should earn enough to warrant a sequel. Prediction: 3/5

There are my predictions for which comic book movie will be the most critically and financially successful in 2012. With the exception of Ghost Rider, audiences should look forward to what will likely be another successful year for comic book movies. Excelsior!

Is There Too Much Face-Time In Comic Book Movies?

Anne Hathaway

Image by David Schexnaydre via Flickr

A little while ago I did a post on if there’s too much face-time for high profile actors in comic book movies. Whilst this is not a new concept, it is definitely an ever-increasing one. The latest and greatest comic book movies are now starting to damage the integrity of their characters and storylines by altering classic costumes, or causing impracticalities to the storylines, just to get the actors some facial recognition? Is it worth it?

When Warner Bros recently unveiled our first official look at Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises, fans were shocked to see that Anne Hathaway was not modelling Catwoman’s classic Cowl, and instead wearing a minimalistic mask. Storyline wise, perhaps wearing a cowl with cat ears would be impractical for battles, but is that the actual reason behind the dramatic costume alteration, or is just so Anne Hathway receives a good chunk of face-time as Selina Kyle. Whilst it’s too early to tell if this is just Selina’s suit, pre-Catwoman, but so far it resembles too much of Marvel’s Black Widow, and not enough classic Catwoman. This is what I mean by face-time ruining comic book movies. By destroying the classic looks of their characters, the studios are pointless going to infuriate fans who have followed these characters for years. I agree some aspects need updating, but that should be for the sake of the characters, and not so that the lead actor/actress can have more face-time.

I’ve mentioned the clichéd Spider-Man movies, and how Spidey manages to lose his mask in the final act of every one of his movies. Will that change now Andrew Garfield is wearing the tights? Considering Garfield’s rising stardom I highly doubt it. It plagued the last Spidey movies, so it’s not something fans would be pleased to see again.

Another interesting matter is that recent leaked snippets from the set of The Avengers, showcases Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fighting together, both without Masks and helmets. Whilst this may sound pretentious, but these are two of Marvel’s most iconic heroes, and their classic costumes are a huge part of their characters. So why the need for Cap to face off against (spoiler alert) aliens with futuristic weapons, providing unmasked, the Srulls/Kree/aliens could just shoot both Cap and Thor in the head? I just don’t see the need for the alteration of classic costumes, just to provide high profile actors enough exposure in the movie. It’s become an overused, distracting comic book movie cliché.

Does anyone else agree with me? Do you find the common alteration of classic costumes as a way to reveal the actors and actresses faces to be annoying? As always leave your comments below.

Deconstructing: The Amazing Spider-Man Teaser Trailer

Garfield-Spider-Man-costume

Image by Daniel Semper via Flickr

It’s been a crazy week for comic book fans and that’s largely due to the release of the teaser trailers for next year’s three big comic book movies. We’ve had The Dark Knight Rises teaser, and a leaked trailer for The Avengers, both of which I looked at here. Next up is next year’s The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb, starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Conners, aka The Lizard. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you can check it out here.

So what did I think? Well firstly I am a huge fan of the change of tone this series seems to be taking. I personally found the Sam Raimi trilogy guilty of skipping pass the important issues that really define who Peter Parker is. Some fans are sceptical of the writers choosing to revisit Parker’s origin, but the trailer shows just how dramatic and serious his origin is actually meant to be, and that going back to basics give them a chance to pull off a origin story similar to that of Batman Begins. Spider-Man should not be dark, but I wouldn’t call losing your parents at a young age, losing your uncle during your teenage years, then becoming a superhero which the public and the press are constantly sceptical of a light story nevertheless. What makes Peter Parker such a relatable character is how he picks himself up and fights through these issues whilst remaining as upbeat as possible. The Amazing Spider-Man looks to have captured that tone perfectly.

One of the main criticisms of Tony Maguire’s Spider-Man was that he didn’t look a skinny nerd. This is where Garfield looks to best his predecessor, as he seems to pull off both the Peter Parker look and The Spider-Man look with ease. I was worried they were cutting out some of Parker’s humour, but early reports from Comic-Con footage suggests the film finds a perfect balance between drama and humour which is essential to the Spider-Man mythos. We haven’t really had much of wise cracking Spidey film, so I can’t wait to see what Garfield brings to the table next year.

We saw a glimpse of Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, and whilst it’s too early to judge her performance, from the brief moments we say her and Peter together, they seemed to have good chemistry. If Garfield and Stone can keep the chemistry going, this could easily been the definitive Spider-Man film yet. We got a glimpse of Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Conners, and it’s a safe bet he will act like a father figure to Parker before becoming the monstrous Lizard.

Towards the end of the trailer we see some first person footage of Spider-Man swinging through the streets of New York. Whilst for now it looks a bit too similar to the videogame Mirrors Edge, it at least gives us something different. I can’t wait to see how Webb and crew have handled the practical effects, as seeing a real life Spidey swinging over the streets gives us a much more realistic viewing experience.

All and all I have been completely one over by the Spider-Man reboot. The teaser trailer was great, and now the film’s already in pre-production with over a year until the film’s release to go, there’s lots of time for Webb and crew to get the film as polished as possible. Maybe reboots aren’t such a bad thing; The Amazing Spider-Man truly does look amazing.

 

Welcome back Spidey?

Garfield-Spider-Man-costume

Image by Daniel Semper via Flickr

Next year will see the return of everybody’s favourite web-slinger, The Amazing Spider-Man. On the 4th July 2012, five years after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 left an emo taste in our mouths, Peter Parker heads to back to high school/college to learn that with great power comes great responsibility. Again.

When Sony announced the Spider-Man franchise would be rebooted for a 2012 release, directed by Marc Webb and staring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, I was initially thrilled. I loved the Sam Raimi trilogy, even Spider-Man 3 to a certain extent, however it was just fitting it was time for a reboot. Tobey Maguire was getting too old (and out of shape) to play Spidey, whilst Kirsten Dunst‘s Mary Jane Watson had become a terrible bore. Plans for the fourth Spidey film were not helped by the fact that spoilers were leaked concerning the films plot and the fans were not happy with what they saw.

Apparently old webhead was up against The Vulture (played by John Malkovich), one of Spidey’s oldest enemies (quite literally)  and was set to be the films main villain, accompanied by a female sidekick known as The Vultress. The Vulture was apparently a mechanical bird, piloted by Malkovich through an avatar type process. Thank god that never materialized.

My initial idea for the Spider-Man reboot was that Spideys origin was dealt with quickly through the films opening credits (similar to the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk), so that the film could move forward at a fast pace not have to worry about setting up the origin. We all know how Peter Parker got his powers; after all we saw it only 11 years ago. Instead Peter Parker is going back to high school/college to face the drama of teen life alongside his newfound powers. Whilst I can see Sony’s ideas, jumping on the success of teen flicks such as Twilight would bring in the popularity, but re-doing the death of Peter’s uncle, discovery of his powers thing seems like a wasted opportunity to me.

After all, unlike the 2000 era, Spidey no longer dominates the field for superhero movies. Whilst his franchise has been on hiatus, characters such as The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America have come into play. Even the X-Men franchise, which was around the same time as Raimi’s trilogy, has gone back to prequels with X-Men: First Class to keep things fresh. There’s a lot more selection now when it comes to comic book movies so web-head needs to be fresh and ready or he could be set for tangle at the box office.

Apart from the boring choice of re-doing the origin, The Amazing Spider-Man does look promising. After his widely acclaimed role in The Social Network, Andrew Garfield has proven himself to be a fantastic rising star really does look the part of Peter Parker. Unlike Maguire, Garfield is skinny and can pull of the nerd look at lot more effectively. If you think I’m wrong then check these pictures out and see for yourself. I’m not so big on the Spider-Man suit however. I thought they would go back to basics and invent a suit, which looks like it was actually made by a teenager. Instead it looks like a cross between the original costume and his wrestling attire from the original Spider-Man movie.

As far as villains go it looks as if we will be seeing Rhys Ifans play Dr Curt Conners aka The Lizard. It will be interesting to see how this pans out as the reboot only has a rumoured 80 million dollar budget, so I’m guessing special effects will be limited. Perhaps we will see a more humanoid Lizard through practical effects such as makeup. Seems to be that way so far as webslinging goes which isn’t a bad thing. Too many comic book movies are plagued by mediocre special effects.

I am really disappointed that we are seeing another origin story, but as long as he’s in costume by the films quarter mark I’ll be happy. Spider-Man is and should be one of the greatest comic book characters of all time, and it’s only fitting we finally get a movie to reflect this.

Just stay clear of the dancing…

I’m thinking: Are comic book movies ruined by actor face-time?

Hugh Jackman at the X-Men Origins: Wolverine p...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems a general trend in comic book movies that no matter who the character is, the actor portraying he or she needs a consistent amount of face- time. I began to dwell about this issue recently after watching the Spider-Man trilogy. It seemed Tobey Maguire would loose/remove his mask in almost every fight scene? Was Maguire’s constant face time worth ruining the secret identity aspect to Spider-Man‘s character entirely? Surely someone would recognise Peter Parker in one of those moments from the films. I’m hoping Sony has learnt from this and we won’t see Andrew Garfield loose his mask in every action scene. Though, based on his rising fame from his work on The Social Network, we probably will.

It’s not just the Spider-Man franchise that has been plagued by actor face-time damaging the aspect of the characters. In 2003 audiences who saw Daredevil would have witnessed what has become a classic comic book movie cliché, where the superhero removes or looses his mask in the final battle. Though In Daredevil’s case, Ben Affleck’s need for face-time was just one of the many issues wrong with the film.

The X-Men franchise had one of the most popular comic book characters of all time stripped off his mask completely. Yes, I am talking about Wolverine. Sure it would have looked a bit daft to have Hugh Jackman running around in a mask, but on the other hand was the decision for him not to wear one really based on this? Or was it based on studios not wanting to cover one of their high profile actor’s face? If done right, (Batman Begins style), Wolverine wearing a mask would have worked on screen. Especially since mutants would surely want to keep their identities a secret. Wearing masks would have portrayed that beautifully.

It doesn’t seem like persistent face-time in comic book movies is going to slow down anytime soon. For anyone that has seen the Iron Man films would know Ol Shellhead rarely keeps his mask down in the films, despite the use of clever camera shots of RDJ inside the helmet. For me as soon as you see the hero remove his mask or helmet, the fights over. And in the Iron Man films, the fights were never long.

There’s been a bit of fan-boy concern over how Chris Hemsworth is rarely seen wearing his helmet in the Thor movie. For a Norse God\warrior, wearing a helmet would seem like a daily essential. Especially since minor characters (Heimdall, royal guards) etc in the film seem to manage it. Whilst I haven’t seen enough of Captain America: The First Avenger to judge, one can only hope Chris Evans doesn’t lose his helmet as seeing as it’s a World War 2 film, Captain America could easily be shot in the head.

This isn’t a huge problem right now, but with the comic book movie industry thriving, it soon could be.

And don’t even get me started on Ryan Reynolds and his mask in the Green Lantern.

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