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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Peter Parker Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers -- THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Movie Review


Peter Parker Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers -- THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Movie Review.  Yes, this is the title of this blog post.  Why?  Like the original tongue twister, I find the new Spider-Man interesting, entertaining and exciting but I also think that the screenplay is a bit twisted and that some of its sequences lack connection and logic. 

The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

Marc Webb's THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN was able to deliver audience's expectations in terms of the visual and technical elements of the film.  There's no doubt that if it's not better, it surely did match the technical excellence of the first Spider-Man movies.

Andrew Garfield, as the nerdy Peter Parker turned teen-age stuntman and eventual and incidental hero also did well in this movie.  Emma Stone as the Ms. Popular Gwen Stacy also fits the role.  On Ifans' performance, I don't know if his performance lacks depth or his character is just created that way (flat) for this movie - there's nothing we can get as secrets are not fully unlocked.  On Martin Sheen, well I could say I miss the old Uncle Ben.  Sally Field as Aunt May is excellent in the dramatic scenes but I also miss the lovable yet sensible Aunt May in the first Spider-Man series. 

Don't get me wrong.  I enjoyed the movie, that's for sure. As a popcorn movie fanatic, I would always welcome films like THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.  However, I would expect that if a movie would have a remake, it would be different or larger in scale.  For example, when Batman was remade and turned into Dark Knight, the movie, from being family-oriented, turned into really dark, mysterious and suspense-filled.  And I expected the new Spider-Man to be that way as it will be the major reason for its remake.  But since they followed the same format and used similar story flow, I expected that it will be much better than the first one.  But my expectations weren't fully met.

For example, Sam Raimi's version (the first one) was able to weave in well the transformation of Peter Parker into Spider-man, his ordeals in the school, his love affair with Mary Jane, his connection with his antagonist, his relationship with his guardians and his exploration of his powers and the death of his uncle.  Marc Webb's version, on the other hand, just touched a little of everything.  In the new version, almost everything is just coincidental.  I just find that the old Spider-man was able to narrate these details well while the new version dwelled more on Peter Parker's confusion.  Just allow me a little spoiler so I can explain better.

In the first Spider-man, he entered underground wrestling (using the initial Spider-man costumes which he slowly developed); allowed the robber to steal the organizer's money as he was tricked by the latter; the robber unfortunately killed his uncle; Peter avenged the death of Uncle Ben.  In this new version, Peter bought something at the convenience store (after running from home); allowed the robber to steal from the store as the cashier didn't allow him to get what he bought for lacking 2 cents; the robber killed Uncle Ben who followed him; he eventually hunted the villain; and then during the chase, he fell from the rooftop and landed on a wrestling ring; he then saw a giant wall painting of a red mask which inspired him to adapt as Spider-man's mask.  As you can see, the first was able to integrate the elements well, while the new version were merely coincidental scenes. 

In the old version, Spider-Man was narrated well as a superhero who also struggled to be accepted by the society, especially the media and the police force.  THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN on the other hand told Spider-man as a confused and troubled kid, a small-time vigilante.  In fact, as far as I remember, there is just one scene in the movie (before the climax) where he showed his heroism, and it was not even intentional.  The resolution on the other hand portrayed Spider-man to be just responsible for all the chaos that happened in the city and not really concerned about the public.

In the old version, the people helped Spider-man by throwing stones at the Green Goblin.  In this new version, the construction crew, and the police (whose chief is in helicopter), did something to help Spider-man cross the buildings. Spider-man was badly hit, injured, and using his web, he jumped from building to building with their help.  And as I said, the chief of police, is in helicopter. :)  If they really want to help Spider-man, they could have given Spidey a helicopter ride! :)  But of course, it wouldn't be cinematic if Spider-man didn't do it his way but I just find the help given by the police is an overkill, unnecessary.

And then at Oscorp, the science on spiders is explained but with another "science discovery" being talked about in the film, our eight legged friends, who should be at the spotlight, took a backseat. 

I also find the first SPIDER-MAN successful in terms of capturing the hearts of the viewers, making a lasting mark which can eventually make it an iconic superhero movie (remember the upside down kissing scene, the line "With great power comes great responsibility" etc.).  It just has all the elements of a successful superhero flick.  The new one, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, lacks this.  Well, I guess it's because they are reserving the revelations in the possible film sequels.  But if we'll only judge the movie for this part alone, I could say that the Sam Raimi's (the part 1), is really better.

But don't worry, I think THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is still a good watch, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are perfect together and most girls, as I heard during the special block screening in Greenbelt last July 29, were amazed by Peter Parker, especially when he wears his Spider-man costume.

The Lizard and the havoc he made, and his fight against Spider-man, is also exciting to see!  I still encourage you to watch THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and prove me wrong or agree with me.  :)  Well I guess such discussion can be of help for the sequel right?  :) 

So with that, from a scale of 1 to 10 claps, I'm giving THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN a big 6 with web blasts thrown into the air.  From Columbia Pictures, the movie is showing in theaters starting June 29. 

Special thanks to Ayala Malls Cinemas for the special block screening. Check out www.sureseats.com for  all-access pass to exclusive movie events and promos at Glorietta 4, Greenbelt 3, Alabang Town Center, Market!Market!, Trinoma, Ayala Center Cebu, Marquee Mall Angeles, Abreeza Davao and Harbor Point Olongapo.

Here's the official movie trailer:

Thanks for visiting.  This has been a life's mix TaDified!  :)

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