Posts Tagged ‘ Marc Webb ’

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

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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.

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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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…