Monday, December 17

The Amazing Spider-man Review

Version played for review: Blu-Ray
Available on: DVD, Blu-Ray
Price I paid: £6.11 (Boxset including both Amazing Spider-man films)
Other Notes: N/A

After Spider-man 3 failed to impress audiences and critics alike Sony planned to reboot the Spider-man series. This would mean starting from the ground up again, I.E retelling the story of how Peter Parker becomes Spidey. Even before the film was out audiences were worried about being retold a story they had all already seen rather recently. Because of this, the Amazing Spider-man introduces a mystery around Peter’s parents in an attempt to change the story. I’d love to say this worked but it really didn’t.

We open on a young Peter Parker playing hide and seek with his dad. Halfway through the game, Peter discovers that his Dad’s office has been broken into. This causes his dad to panic, secure a hidden folder and then leave Peter with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Years later and Peter has grown up into a 30-year-old high school student. This is more of a nitpick than an actual problem but why do studios keep getting people in their late 20’s and early 30’s to play teenagers? It just looks so obvious. After getting bullied for defending a kid Peter goes home to find that the basement has flooded. While helping uncle Ben clean out the basement Peter finds a bag that belonged to his father. In this bag, he finds some plot progression in the form of the folder from the opening. This leads Peter to find Dr Connors who works at Oscorp. He is working on combining animal and human DNA together. The idea being that if he can give himself the healing properties of a lizard then he can regrow his missing arm. Of course, this leads to Peter being bitten by a magical science spider and becoming Spider-man. Then we get the origin told pretty much the same way as Sam Raimi’s Spider-man did. Uncle Ben is killed, Pete tries to find the killer and along the way, he learns that with great power comes great responsibility. After this, through Peter, just sort of forgets about Uncle Ben’s murderer and the film forgets about his parents. When all else has been abandoned we are left with the Lizard who doesn’t really tie into any other part of the film. The only connection he has with Peter is having worked with his Dad years ago. For all the faults I have with Sam Raimi’s Spider-man films at least if he had been allowed to make Spider-man 4 the Lizard could have worked. Dr Connors had been set up since Spider-man 2 and had an existing relationship with Peter. Another big problem with this story is that the characters have no agency of their own. Instead, all of them are just at the mercy of the script. In a good story, things happen as a result of actions undertaken by the characters while in bad stories actions happen to characters without their involvement or input. It’s obvious that the Amazing Spider-man is an example of the latter.

While I do consider this to be a bad film it’s not without its little moments of brilliance. A good example of this would be the scene where Spidey has to rescue a small boy. The Lizard throws a car off the Brooklyn bridge. Spider-man catches it with a web and hangs it from the underside of the bridge. The small boy is trapped inside the car and it’s starting to burn on top of everything else. This in itself isn’t anything special but the way that we see Peter talk to this kid is. Spidey gives his mask to the scared boy because he sees the same scared kid he once was reflected back at him. Then he asks the boy to put on the mask as it will make him strong and allow him to escape. It’s right there that we see what Spider-man is to so many troubled kids and teens out there. Anyone can be Spidey. Peter isn’t special. That’s the entire point of his character. So using that as a slower moment of character growth works well. It’s such a shame then that it’s overshadowed by the fact that in this film Peter is special. He just so happened to have the father who was working on DNA splicing and on top of that is smart enough to finish his research. In the comics, Peter is smart but not a genius, just a normal teenager who enjoys science. In this film though he is often the smartest person in the room. He is even able to solve the missing link that Dr Connor’s has been working on for years. The Amazing Spider-man somehow pays respect to the empowering message behind Peter’s character while also failing to show it at all.

In summery the Amazing Spider-man is a bad film. It has a story that just happens with no reason or input from the characters at all. This problem gets so bad that at one point Spider-man just so happens to stumble across a presentation left on Dr Connor’s laptop that explains all of his plans. From the very first to the very last scene this film feels like a lazy rush job by Sony. While I personally don’t like Sam Raimi’s Spider-man films I’d rather watch any one of them over this. They at least had passion behind them. This film is just soulless by comparison and not worth your time.

Recommendation Rating: 1 out of 10

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