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The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Super hero films are a dime a dozen now days. When studio execs decide to produce them it really doesn’t matter how “good” they are because they’re sure to draw a crowd with cool special effects. Despite being for reasons that involved losing the franchise (the rights), less than ten years after the last Spider-Man film was made, the series was re-booted with a young, fresh-faced cast and some unique twists of its own. 
When he was a boy, Peter Parker’s childhood was uprooted abruptly after he found his father’s study in disarray prompting his father to hurriedly get his son and wife out of the house. His young life was impacted by being dropped off to live with his aunt and uncle before his parents later died in a publicized plane accident. Raised by his aunt May and uncle Ben (Sally Field, Martin Sheen), Peter (Andrew Garfield) is now a high school senior who inherited his father’s brilliant mind.

A scientist who worked with a partner named Doctor Curtis (Rhys Ifans) on a revolutionary new project, once Peter learns of the identity of the man his aunt and uncle claim never came to see them following the funeral, he tracks him down to find out just what it was his father so desperately wanted to protect. In the process of finding out the truth of his father’s past, Peter suddenly gains genetic powers… and attempts to win the affections of the lovely, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).  

I don't consider myself a comic book-to-film adaptation junkie. Sure, I get excitable about each one that comes out over the summer blockbuster seasons, but beyond that I remain satisfied with what the cinema offers (with exception to few, they also actually have a moral compass). When reading there was to be another Spider-Man film, the cast list became a deciding factor in this being a must-see prompting me to finally watch the “original” franchise. That trio was a fun time just not among my favorite movies whereas this version seemed to have an enigmatic pull. Any re-make or similar premise is subject to plenty of scrutiny. (And, with good reason.) Because of that, it’s nearly impossible to not make comparisons or feel like we’ve been “played.” Ignoring my comments about not being swayed by the influence of Spider-Man (2002) while watching it, I don’t think that is entirely possible to accomplish.

FILM REVIEW | The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
The Amazing Spider Man

Legions of fans are too loyal to Tobey McGuire and Sam Raimi to ever consider this version a “classic.” In many other film adaptations or re-makes I’d be able to commiserate with you, but this scenario is something I found endearing, amusing, dramatic and heroic in one sound, well-constructed package. True, this re-boot isn’t convincing to its viewer by providing new perspectives of Spider-Man nor does it put Peter in any more challenging situation, but I loved the subtle differences this script gave us and the more believable way Garfield played the character. Instead of Tobey’s confident, geeky Peter Parker, Garfield plays a confused, hurt, rebellious, curious one and I found his character a great deal more empathetic. This leads to a reaction easier to accept of a boy thrust into something he didn’t ask for.

Prior to this, I saw Peter Parker as a high-school student who was ,yes, a geek but also a teenager who more readily accepted his powers without feeling as overwhelmed by the idea whereas here I enjoyed the range of emotions Garfield elicited as Parker before he fell into his stride as Spider-Man. It doesn’t hinder anything that the adorable Emma Stone (who happens to be Garfield’s girlfriend) plays Gwen here and brings us a fresh-faced, more fleshed out heroine who doesn’t come across as (sometimes) shallow.  

The Amazing Spider-Man
Special effects are top notch if not a bit overblown on occasion. The villain’s alter-ego is silly enough that we have a hard time taking his threatening stance seriously, but no more so than that of Spider-Man and then there is the character of Captain Stacy who I enjoyed being a part of the bigger story – and was terribly sad at how the finale played out as a result. Counteracting that, writers did a fantastic job. There is some wonderful, witty dialogue and the ending may feel ambiguous to some but it’s actually adorable and can be accepted easily since a sequel is in the pipeline with returning cast members intact and some new faces that I cannot wait to meet. In my easy-to-please cinematic preferences, I say: Bring on the second chapter. 

What did you all think of this version? Did Garfield do justice to the role or do you still prefer the previous trio? Share your conclusions!  

(What to know: There are intense scenes of action/adventure but little blood. One man is killed near the end more brutally, another by a gunshot wound that leaves him lying in a pool of blood. A villain impales his victims and Peter physically gets into fights that leave him bruised and cut. Little profanity is heard [h*ll, a**] but GD is heard half a dozen times. A couple of scenes show Peter and Gwen kissing. The movie is rated PG13.)
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  1. I just watched this a few days ago. lol! Well, okay, almost finished it. It was losing my interest and I had pressing responsibilities so I haven't actually gone back and finished it yet... But I will!

    I personally like Garfield better than MacGuire. I can't explain it. Garfield just seems more likeable. And I thought Emma Stone was just adorable and perfect for the role of Gwen. :)

    1. Oh, dear, sorry it wasn't your "cup of tea," Rosie. :) I enjoyed this version just as well if not better than the "original."

      Garfield played the role much better in my opinion because realistically Parker shouldn't be so quick to "accept" his new role and I think he had a better handle on that than McGuire. Emma was adorable, wasn't she!?

      Lovely to read your thoughts, girl! Hope things are going well with NaNo. :)

  2. My brother really wants to watch this movie,and I would watch it with him:)
    Thanks for the review!

    1. How fun, Ella! Hope you and your brother enjoy it - has he seen the series starring Tobey McGuire? I watched those earlier this summer and prefer this one. I think.


  3. I just didn't like it. It didn't click as a movie for me, and especially as a superhero movie. There were times while I was watching it that I forgot it was a superhero movie and it felt more like I was either watching a teen coming-of-age movie or a sci-fi/thriller. It didn't seem to have the fast paced fun style that characterized the previous trilogy. And in the context of this movie, the name "Spider-man" sounded really odd and out of place. I know some people enjoyed it, and I'm glad, but it made me miss Toby Maguire and Sam Raimi's films - and even the original Spider-man comics, which I grew up reading.

    That's my two cents. :)

    1. Aw! I am sorry you didn't care for this one! There were a lot of elements that pointed to a coming-of-age story, yes but in comparing the two (hard not to do), I felt Garfield had a better handle on "becoming" Spider-Man. McGuire was too... confident even in his shy attitude. The filming seemed better to me also - I always appreciate modern special effects but they do out of style so quickly!

      No matter what it was, I am glad you shared your "two cents," Lauren. :)

    2. Yes, the special effects were pretty amazing in the new one. It was cool to see all of that, something they didn't have in the original trilogy. :)

    3. ...and special effects are a definite MUST, right!? :) Absurdness and all, ya gotta' love that cool stuff that happens in the movies. :)

      I appreciated the subtle ways the movie was different, Lauren, and many elements come across as "new" - after all, we'd be just re-watching the same story otherwise.

  4. On Saturday, I watched this movie for the first time. I have not read the comic books but I use to watch the cartoon when I was little. I have watched the other Spiderman movies too. At first, I didn't like Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker because I found him to be too socially awkward. I didn't understand why Gwen would fall for him. Whereas, Toby Maguire as Peter was shy sometimes but was a mostly confident person. I liked Gwen Stacey. I like how she wasn't a damsel in distress whereas MaryJane had to be frequently rescued. Overall, I liked the film. I thought it was an entertaining movie.

    1. You are not alone, Carlyn - I've not read the comics either nor have I ever seen the cartoon.

      For the character I liked Garfield's interpretation. It seemed... more real. Once he gained his powers, he would be freaked out and unsure whereas McGuire seemed much more confident. That didn't ring true for me. I 100% agree about MJ's character vs. Gwen. I thought she was adorable but still liked MJ (even with her sometimes whiny attitude!) and am definitely looking forward to meeting MJ in this new franchise. :)

      As you said: This was a very entertaining film! So glad you dropped by! Do so anytime. :)

  5. Now I haven't seen the ones with Tobey Maguire so I am not that unbiased of a judge. And I'm nt a comic book, super hero junkie either, so I'm really just saying what I thought of it for a movie's sake. I thought this was great ;-) I love Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's chemistry with one another and I was highly entertained. I will definitely watch a sequel.

    That is my two cents ;-)

    1. ...and she's ALIVE! Hey, there, Ella! You've been missed around here, girl. :)

      Really? You didn't see the 2002 films? I rented them in anticipation of this re-boot but in the back of my mind, I already had a mental idea that this was going to be my fave... and I think it was. Andrew and Emma were too cute together. Like you, I CANNOT wait for part 2. Maybe this one I'll see in HD glory on the big-screen. :D

      Add your "two cents" anytime, girl!

  6. I watched the premier of this movie. Waited in line for 4 hours. Wasn't disappointed.
    My bro bought it the day it came out on DVD and I watched it again just a couple days ago. Ahhh!! Made me fall in love with Spiderman even more!!

    1. WOW! Four hours!? That wouldn't be a wait you'd want disappointment as the result. :)

      So glad you are another fan - I bought the combo pack also and enjoyed it tremendously. It wasn't wasted. It's just the latest Marvel flick to add to my collection. :)

      Glad you stopped by, Raquel - visit again soon!

  7. Yes, he has seen most of the first Spiderman,some of the second,and all of the third:)

    1. Neat! Hope he (and you!) like this one - it is different but that's actually a plus. :)

  8. While I think I'll always prefer the Maguire Spidey trilogy, I'm really looking forward to seeing where this new series goes next!

    1. Anyone who "met" Peter Parker through McGuire's turn will likely be loyal to his interpretation and I totally get that - believe me, I've been there with many other movies/characters. Though I saw McGuire's trilogy first, it wasn't ten years ago and each film endeared itself more over those ten years. This version was just... better. It flowed nicer and had WAY COOL special effects. Who can go wrong with those!? LOL! But, I don't think Spider-Man is a my fave super hero either. :D

      Like you say, Ruth: I cannot wait to see what's next! (And am *dying* to meet the "new" MJ!)

  9. I have been a staunch supporter and lover of the Toby McGuire Spiderman's and was pretty blatantly outspoken about Marvel's absurd idea of making a re-make so soon after the other trilogy. I was determined with every pore in my body to dislike it. I even rehearsed some conversations with people that I planned on having after I eventually got around to condesending to the Amazing Spiderman by gracing it with my viewing.

    I watched it last night and something terrible happened. I really liked it! Alot! Which now leaves me the biggest loser of the cinema century. =D

    1. Although...I'm sad to find out that Gwen is NOT going to stay his gal and that Mary-Jane gonna make a come back. :(

    2. Kellie... your comment made me smile. :) I think it's amusing when we go into something expecting to hate it and then wind up loving it. Goes to show you how good some writer's are, right!? :)

      I am super excited about meeting MJ in this new franchise 'cause I love the actress but I am not sure that I want writer's to throw over Gwen - she's a doll and Emma gives great personality to any character she plays. Hopefully Peter won't be put with MJ when he and Gwen so obviously have a cute love story begging to be told. That last line of dialogue at school was SO cute. :)

      Glad you wound up enjoying this one - and if it counts, I don't think you are any sort of cinema loser. :)

  10. Loooved it!! Maybe I'm still at the right age to fall for Spiderman just because he's Andrew Garfield. . . ;) But bias aside, I really did enjoy the story, probably even more than the Raimi trilogy. Plus, Emma and Andrew were adorable onscreen, and totally believable as seventeen-year-olds. And I agree; Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker is much more empathetic. I liked the character of Gwen better than MJ, too.
    They definitely left plenty of unanswered questions, which I'm eagerly anticipating in the next installment! I admit I'm worried about the fate of Gwen Stacy, though, for the obvious reason that she is described as "was Spiderman's first love"--was!

    Loved your review!

    ps, it's cool that you and I tend to watch the same movies at the same time; I rarely go to theaters, and don't have cable (I'm really, really sad about having no BBC or PBS. . .), so your reviews come just in time for me :)

    1. Sounds like you and I agree on basically everything about this film, Jess-Rose! It was lovely of you to stop in and share - I always love meeting someone who feels the same. (In addition to getting the opinions of those that don't, of course. :D)

      Oh, no! I don't want a terrible fate to befall Gwen - she is adorable. (Did you know Emma and Andrew are a real-life couple?) In Sam Raimi's version, Gwen wasn't introduced until the 3rd film so maybe that says something (good?) about the "new" Gwen. I am very excited about meeting MJ - only because I love the actress - but hope she isn't as shallow as Dunst's.

      Yeah, I don't have cable either so instead I hope for TV movies to release to DVD and work around when/how I see the British productions. I am so glad you enjoyed this version. Bring on the sequel!

      Thank you for reading this! It's my readers that keep me inspired to blog - so thanks really goes to you! It was great to see your name here again. Visit again anytime. :)

  11. I love it when that happens--the main characters actually being a couple in real-life!

    And I'm definitely eager to see what Marc Webb does with the next one, and hope for the best in terms of Gwen and\or Mary Jane. I don't remember Gwen Stacy being introduced in the previous trilogy. . . I think that means a re-watch is in store :P

    Thanks, Rissi! Your blog is right up my alley. And I always appreciate your comments on my blog, too, and I'm truly sorry that I often don't reply. I intend to be better in the future :)

    1. . . . after writing that, I realized I actually do remember Gwen Stacy from Spiderman 3--of course, she was Bryce Dallas Howard's character! Funny I didn't remember her name.

    2. You and me both, Jess-Rose! I cannot wait for "part 2." Bring on 2014! (Or whenever it's set to release ;D)

      Yes, indeed, you got that right - Bryce did star in the "original" series as Gwen. For obvious reasons, she was less of an important presence than Emma's Gwen. You are so right in saying that it will be interesting to see where the whole angle will go with MJ and Gwen, presumably vying for Peter's attentions. I hope it doesn't end tragically for Gwen... or become the dreaded, clichéd "love triangle."

      Thanks for all your lovely comments - and please don't apologize about not always leaving responses. Every blogger is so different, this is just how I prefer to do it. Your posts are always great because - as you complimented this blog - they are normally my cup of tea. :)

  12. Here are my thoughts ..
    I find unequal relationships nauseating. The idea that a guy/girl is secretly pining over another who doesn't seem to notice them for ages is infuriating to me. And a lot of times they don't get noticed until they get a "makeover" of sorts, or (in the Spiderman case) gain "special powers" that just make them seem more attractive (even if they are unaware of the powers).
    The idea that the original, beautiful person underneath the makeover is passed up until they appear more valuable, gives me a pit in the stomach. When they become old and grey, will they be passed over again for the next most beautiful thing? (Is this making sense?)

    So, Mary Jane of the previous trilogy felt somewhat shallow to me. I love that Gwen liked Peter before he obtained his powers. And Emma and Andrew's chemistry is so sweet (I just found out they are a real-life couple).
    So there are my thoughts. Thanks for giving me a venue to put them on! ;)

    1. Well said, Camille! You can "vent" here anytime. :)

      I agree 100%: It is frustrating in film/books when the guy/girl only notices the person harboring a crush after they are made over or gain a power. I will allow one small revision to your statement in saying that we do like the guy to make the first move. In other words, the guy asking the girl out is the more... romantic scenario but I don't think Hollywood views anything that way! It's all about girl power nowadays. ;D

      MJ was more shallow than I like my heroines to be though I did like her with Peter. Gwen however was adorable with Peter in this re-make. I cannot wait to see where their relationship goes next!

    2. Yes, yes . . . agreed. I always like it better when the guy makes the first move :) Can't wait for the next one, and I'm wondering if MJ will ever make an appearance. Wouldn't that be awkward...

    3. They are much more dashing that way. ;)

      MJ is set to make an appearance in the sequel to this film and I confess, I'm excited because I like the actress but... you are right: It'll be awkward...


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