The Amazing Spider-Man (Marc Webb, 2012): USA
Reviewed by Kathleen Amboy. Viewed at Camino Real, Goleta, CA.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a reboot of the 2002 film franchise, and closely follows The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series, focusing on the impressionable young Peter Parker.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is a science and photography nerd, and a bit of a loner at Midtown Science High. Abandoned as a young boy by his scientist father Richard Parker (Campbell Scott), Peter lives in the Big Apple with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen).
When Peter attempts to re-connect with his father’s friend and business partner, fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), he’s pleasantly surprised to discover that his hottie classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), is also the lead intern for Connor’s lab at OsCorp.
Snooping around the lab, Peter stumbles upon a bio-genetic spider web, and is surreptitiously bit, then transformed into an uber crime fighter with spider-like qualities.
Without delving too much into plot details, this otherwise typical superhero flick, contains several filmically spontaneous delights which contribute to a refreshing remake.
The role of Richard Parker by actor/director Campbell Scott, though minor, is a nice touch, as is the role of Captain Stacy by Denis Leary, two solid actors rarely seen on the big screen.
With clever camera and editing work, through Spidey’s POV, we (the audience) are swinging through downtown Manhattan and climbing up the sides of buildings with him.
Garfield and Stone make a charismatic on screen couple, with a hilarious cameo by Stan Lee, that incorporates semi-diegetic sound – as the librarian listens to a classical piece through his headset, he is completely oblivious to Spidey and the Lizard villain duking it out in the background – all choreographed to the action, but only we are privy to it.
The subtle theme of the film is teamwork, as Spidey learns to rely on others for help, starting with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, later with Captain Stacy and Gwen, and more importantly from a handful of blue- collar crane operators. As we read from a poster of Albert Einstein, which hangs on the wall of Parker’s bedroom, “imagination is more important than knowledge.” The underlying message is, if we put our heads together we can come up with a solution – this is in direct contrast to Dr. Connors single-handed need to wipe out human imperfection and weakness.
Overall an entertaining film, but the 3D is unnecessary – saw it both in 3D and 2D, and couldn’t detect much of a difference, except in price. The first time I viewed the film was at a very nice old theater on State St., where to my chagrin, the house lights were turned on (and stayed on) prior to the end of the film (about the last 5 minutes), which was profoundly distracting. After making a formal complaint to the management, I was told it was “standard operating procedure.” This is not the first time I’ve been sold a bill of goods, but stay through the end into the credits because there is a teaser.
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- 07.15.12 / 2pm