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It's been five years since Spider-Man 3 which admittedly is on the quick side of the present reboot trend of "about six to seven years." ("The Man Of Steel" is due out 6 1/2 years after Superman's last film.) But I can forgive that, for three admittedly thin reasons:

1) It is directed by Marc Webb, and he blew me away with his first film

2) It has mechanical webshooters and I love mechanical webshooters and I'll stop right there because who wants to have this argument another 50,000 goddamn times

3) It is called 'The Amazing Spider-Man.' Just saying those words makes me a little happier.

So I'm looking forward to it a little more than I should - even more than Dark Knight Rises, oddly enough.

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Superman Returns wasn't an origin story, and neither was Spider Man 3, hence my comment about 10 years. In the case of superman it would be something like 32 years since Christopher Reeve first took up the cape. Which I think is acceptable, even if I will be a little annoyed to sit through another origin story re-told. Batman Begins was 2005, 16 years after Tim Burton's Batman, so that too was enough time. 15+ years seems ok, but 10 seems short. *shrug* personal preference

I dunno maybe I'm just wishing that Hollywood would assume that we recognize the #3 most well known comic book character ever (I pulled that out of my ass but I bet its true, Superman, Batman, Sipderman...) and instead of telling another origin story tell us a different story.

That said at least we get a new/different villain this time out.

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I agree with Mike on this one. I wasn't very excited about the film when it was greenlit. But I loved 500 days of summer and think they have a good cast. The only person I am not sure about is Jed Bartlett.

I like that they start off with his parents still alive, but the scene plays strange in the trailer. It is too dramatic. I'm not sure if that is a flashback, dream or the beginning of the film.

The one thing that concerns me is that a lot of the spidey footage looks like CG. It looks nice, but it still looks like CG.

About has Spidey at #2. http://comicbooks.about.com/od/characters/tp/topsuperhero.htm

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I love Spiderman, it was the one comic I kept up with religiously my entire childhood, even if it meant squandering the money my parents gave me for lunch and spending all recess looking for change on the ground. But I was annoyed, even ticked when they announced a remake so close to the first one. I haven't seen anything to impress me thus far that makes it sound like it was worth making it again.

They are probably only calling it The Amazing Spiderman because of marketing (and likely legal) reasons. And not because of any loyalty to the book. (color me bitter)

That entire building-crawling scene in the trailer was CG, and not even good CG at that.

I will still probably see it, but I am far from geeking out over it...the one saving grace I have found is that at least it has Emma Stone in it and therefore I'll have something to gawk at.

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I'm with Damon, I really don't see the need or point of an origin story re-do. Even as not good as Spiderman 3 was it wasn't so terrible that a reboot was needed. They could easily have recast and moved forward keeping those 3 movies' cannon intact, the guy they got to play Curt Conners for 3 movies could have been given a shot at Lizard and the audience wouldn't have to sit through recycled/rehashed material.

JMO

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The reason that I heard they were rebooting it was to try to make the character younger so that he would appeal to the Twilight crowd. When I read that I was in no way interested in the movie.

But as I said, I do like the cast and will still see it. As Damon noted, it does have Emma Stone.

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Originally Posted By: Chosen
I was in no way interested in the movie.


Originally Posted By: Chosen
... will still see it.


Dunno how these statements are compatible.

I wouldn't worry about the Twilight stuff. They said the same thing about Matt Smith as Doctor Who and then he casually strolled up and delivered the best season of Doctor Who.

I'm also not concerned about a different take on the origin. It's a classic story. As Christopher Bird says, "complaining that the same story gets told over and over again doesn’t seem to be a criticism of, say, productions of Hamlet. Why, then, should it apply to the origin story of Spider-Man?"
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Unlike a lot of people, I didn't really have a problem with Toby, I thought he made a pretty good Parker. But then again, I was never a devout follower of the comics, so it may just be that I didn't know the character as well. I may see it, though I am a little annoyed at a reboot that's this recent.

But aside from all those things, I have to admit there's one thing that's ticking me off about movies in general lately. And that's the blatant catering to the 3D crowd. My apologies if I offend anyone who likes 3D, but I hate it myself, and every time I watch a movie made for 3D, the scenes that are there to "show off" the technology are both obvious, and crappy looking when not viewed in a 3D capacity. You can tell that entire sequence was designed for it, and it just looked awful IMHO. It looks like you're playing a 1st-person shooter video game. I can not WAIT for this effing 3D craze to hopefully go AWAY. UGH.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

So they released a longer, fuller-length trailer. Thoughts after the trailer.<BR><iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-tnxzJ0SSOw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><BR>One gripe: he still CANNOT KEEP HIS MASK ON. Otherwise, this looks fantastic. Spider-Man actually quips! Three movies of Tobey Maquire going "hurp" made me wonder if it were possible.<BR><BR>"Didn't they just make a movie out of this?" Yes. That has no real bearing on the quality of this movie, though. And frankly, having watched the Raimi original recently? Oy, does that movie not hold up well.<BR><BR>"What's this parents stuff? Is this a retcon?" Without getting too deep into it, I have read the issues where Peter Parker digs into the past of his parents, and it involved the Red Skull. This probably will not have the Red Skull in it, even though that would be a hell of a third act.<BR><BR>"Looking forward to it?" Oh yes.

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My take on this would have to be "guardedly optimistic" for the moment. I liked the earlier Raimi/Maguire films, but they didn't quite make Spidey out to be nearly as much of the jester he is in the comics. If Webb & Garfield can do better... well, I'll just have to wait & see.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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So I saw The Amazing Spider-Man and really liked it.

I hate comparing it to the Raimi films as I think it should be able to stand on its own, like Nolan's Batman films did. But comparisons are inevitable - people probably compared Batman Begins to Batman '89 - so I'll say this: it is leagues ahead of Spider-Man 3, significantly ahead of Spider-Man, but not quite as spot-on as Spider-Man 2. (Very few superhero movies are, so this is praise by faint damnation.)

Spoilers and observations ahead.

- weird spider, spider-bite, great power, Uncle Ben dies, it is indirectly Peter's fault. All those plot beats are there. They are approached differently enough that it justifies the new spin on the origin - for example, the wrestling angle is a little out of date in a world where the fakeness of wrestling is explicit, but it finds its way in by way of the luchador mask inspiring Peter to create his persona. We lose Macho Man Randy Savage but gain luchadors, and that's a pretty even trade.

- The movie wisely learns the lessons of the superhero films that have been made since then and avoids the temptation to dump everything into the first movie. The first Spider-Man is really two films shown back to back, with the second half being a fair bit limper than the first. Amazing Spider-Man is all one movie. Peter's character arc is spread out over the movie - he becomes Spider-Man before having fully absorbed the lesson of his uncle's death, setting out on a quest to find the killer before he realizes that he's meant for more than just vengeance. It reminded me a lot of the moment in Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne realizes that the object of his vengeance is merely a symptom of a much bigger problem that is no less a worthy quest.

- All the actors are superb. There's not a flat performance among the cast. Sally Fields portrays an Aunt May that's far more than a passive figure for Peter to worry about, and Martin Sheen brings it as Uncle Ben. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is not just redoing Mary-Jane - she's as smart as Peter is and has her head on straighter. Denis Leary could play a hard-nosed cop in his sleep and is perfectly cast as George Stacy. Rhys Ifans is a sympathetic villain who doesn't quite command the thematic weight of Norman Osborn - but his plot goes beyond just a personal vendetta against Spider-Man, while retaining the sympathy that is a large part of the classic take on the Lizard.

- Andrew Garfield deserves a special mention as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire's Peter was more focused on Peter as the everyman superhero, but Garfield's performance is more focused on Peter as an outcast. While Maguire had moments where Peter is a science nerd, Garfield's performance is more explicitly focused on this aspect of his character. His Spider-Man is more of a wiseass, trading quips with the Lizard and with the small-time crooks Peter is chasing after. And he has a more antagonistic relationship with the police in New York. In fact, the relationship with New York and its finest is probably the most marked difference between this and the Raimi films - the Raimi films came out just after 9/11 and had a rah-rah sensibility that was part of the culture at the time but has since begun to fade. Spider-Man swinging around a New York that has a lot of different opinions about him is a lot closer to how the character's typically functioned. (There is a "little guy helps Spider-Man out" sequence, to be sure - but it feels more earned than the first movie's New Yorkers versus Green Goblin scene.)

- this is a really well-directed film. I knew Marc Webb was going to go places after (500) Days of Summer, and he did not disappoint. He times the physical comedy - which there is a lot of - perfectly. It has about the funniest "now I have super-strength" sequence I've ever seen. He also knows how to sell an emotional moment with just the right combination of images - there is a scene where Peter holds an artists' rendition of his Uncle's killer while his uncle's blood is still on his hands, which is textbook visual shorthand.

- its chief flaw is that it starts to flag a little in the third act, though admittedly this was when I went to use the bathroom so I may have missed a crucial five minutes. Once it becomes a dedicated chase with Spider-Man versus the Lizard, its character arcs are for the most part wrapped up. Consequently the third act feels more disjointed than it probably ought to.

- Everyone can relax because any mention of Peter gaining his powers from experiments performed on him by his father is not in this film. Whether this was a false rumor or something they cut is up in the air, but it's not there. I happen to think that this doesn't really wreck the character any more than organic webshooters did, but if it was a deal breaker for you, then relax. Now, admittedly, Peter's parents do have a lot more of a presence in Peter's life and were involved in the experiments that lead indirectly to Peter's powers - but all that means is that this film isn't quite the same as Spider-Man, which is a good thing since we already have that movie. Spider-Man is flexible; his origin can stand up to quite a bit of twisting.

- Things left out of his film - the Daily Bugle (Peter is still in school all the way through,) Norman Osborn (who is referred to by name, and who might have a scene halfway through the credits,) and, interesting enough, Peter catching the man who killed his uncle. By the end of the film, Peter is still searching for him - which tells me that they are setting up that encounter as a significant part of future films, the way the Joker is set up at the end of Batman Begins. This actually is a change I heartily approve of - such a scene deserves its own focus.

- Stan Lee's cameo is terrific.

Overall, I recommend it a lot, and not just as a way to kill time until the next Batman film. It doesn't quite command the superheroic action of Avengers, but I felt it had more heart to it.

Personal bias, though: Peter has a Rubik's Cube on his desk and he builds his webshooters out of wristwatch cases, both personal hobbies of mine, Your mileage may vary.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Short Review: It was pretty good.

Longer Review: It was pretty good ... but it was not perfect.

What worked:

  • Martin Sheen as Ben - I know Ben has to die, but damnit, can't he live just once?
  • Emma Stone's Gwen - A non wishy-washy romantic interest, what a concept.
  • In general, the script - avoiding the words "with great power..." while still hitting the core of the lesson was nice, most of it felt natural, like these were real people

    What didn't work:

    • Reboot - seriously, I don't care that they are setting up a trilogy or something here, what we got about Peter's parents did not require a full reboot.
    • The Lizard CGI - it wasn't bad, but it didn't work for me
    • Garfield - nope. he did a good job with what they gave him but I didn't buy the outcast dork/nerd/geek at the start of the film at all
    • Will I watch it again? Probably. Will it make me forget Rami's first outing? Nope. Is it better than that film? Yes and no. Generally I liked this version's Ben more, and Gwen kicks the crap out of Mary Jane by virtue of having been written stronger and more interesting. Toby made a better Peter IMO, though Andrew's Spiderman was more spot on (much more talkative/quippy). Rami's win's by virtue of Willem Defoe's Norman Osborn, who was able to take some corny script aspects and make then menacing, and generally was a more interesting villain that Rhys' Lizard.

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So, I logged in to leave my comments about this - I know, I know - old news, everyone's writing about Batman now! But my Mom, it turns out, hasn't seen the first two yet. So impromptu theater trip to see Batman became a trip to see ASM instead. For the most part, I agree with what Jim had to say here.. but with a couple exceptions:

1. Garfield. I think he did a fine job with what he was given, I think the lack of dork/nerd/geek-iness at the beginning was a fault of the script, not of Garfield's performance. I think he could've done it if he had been handed it, but to me, this Parker was written to be mostly just an outcast, who happens to be really smart. I blame it on the current trend in popular hero personalities.. everybody likes their heroes to be dark/brooding/edgy right now, and that bled over into the writing, in my opinion. It was - I hesitate to say this, but I think it's at least a little true - a Peter Parker for the Twilight generation. Pale, messy hair, more defiant, less awkward than he probably should've been. After all, reboots almost always tend to focus more towards the younger audience, to hook new fans - not that there's anything wrong with that in and of itself. But I do think it had an effect. I do, on the other hand, feel like he OWNED the Spiderman role.

2. Uncle Ben. This isn't actually different, I just had to second that opinion. And Martin Sheen was amazing.

3. Lizard CGI - Didn't really bother me much one way or another. No matter how good the CGI is, I just don't think you can make lizard-men that realistic, LOL.

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