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    July 4, 2012

    MOVIE REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

    THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (P13)

    Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction
    Release Date: 05 July 2012
    Running Time: 137 minutes
    Distributor: Sony Pictures
    Director: Marc Webb
    Screenplay: Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, James Vanderbilt
    Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Scott Campbell

    Plot: The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. 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 REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP

    Review: Now that all the hypes surrounding "The Avengers" have cool down into cold dust, the arrival of this popular superhero comes at the exact moment when the summer needs another superhero to save it. But as we are living in a world where ten years is no longer an excuse to avoid hitting that reboot button, Sony Pictures’ decision to take the franchise back to square one is not well-received initially. Sam Raimi’s version although not exactly shares any much elements from the comics, is still a spectacular trilogy (not really for the third movie though) we have lived through over the last decade. Will this Marc Webb's version a worthy entry in this beloved franchise or did Sony hit the reboot button too soon that makes this trip a little tiring?


    Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) was raised by Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) when his parents were forced to abandon him following an unknown threats from the past. Years later at the high school, Peter becomes socially distanced but still finds passion in photography, science and the love for his crush - Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). As Peter found an old briefcase belonging to his father that contains mysterious documents, he sets out to find the truth about his parents’ disappearance. His quest leads him to Oscorp Corp and the company’s renowned scientist in herpetology Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner. During his time in Oscorp, Peter was bitten by a mutated spider and slowly gaining power as Spider-Man. But when Dr. Connors was pushed to the ledge by the company who decided to shut his research down, he was forced through a disastrous transformation as the Lizard. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.

    For those of you who have been reading my works here, you will know that I am very vocal about making this unnecessary reboot to Spider-Man. I believe this new Spider-Man movie is not really what I wanted in the first place after experiencing some of the best superhero moments in recent memories, all thanks to Sam Raimi who made his own version of Spider-Man a very different story-teller and emotionally distant yet retaining the same comical tone it adapted from the original comic source. Despite my opposition to this new film, I truly enjoyed almost every minute of the 137 that are available in this one. That should be enough for me finally to push aside my stubborn thought. To be fair, Marc Webb does a very good job separating this version from what we already knew. While “The Amazing Spider-Man” is no way near been perfect, it is still a worthy and a stunning entry into the long line popular franchise that is so beloved and cherished.


    In the first hour of “The Amazing Spider-Man”, Webb takes a different direction by making his version much closer to the comic in terms of story and filling the emotion connectivity so well that it also decisively makes the tone much closer to humanity. The setups of the origin story is consistent and perhaps much better than the version Raimi has offered himself. No doubt, Webb’s experience in handling independent film has translated well into this one. With plenty of realistic driving forces playing around, Andrew Garfield embarks the road of superhero with more rage, compulsive and misdemeanour - something that a normal teenager would probably do in their primetime of rebellion, thus effectively making him a better Peter Parker.

    With the presence of Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone) on his opposite role, she counters him by providing a smarter, edgier and more lively other-half character that makes their relationship and on-screen chemistry been more palpable and more interesting to follow. And she is no damsel in distress, though. Denis Leary plays Captain Stacy, the leader of the police department that has an effective scene where both he and Peter locked horn to argue about the saint-deeds of the masked vigilante Peter is donning. No doubt, that scene of exchange as well as some other dialogue exchanges are smartly written to engage audience into the idealism and concepts been offered on the table. Essentially, this is more of a revisiting plot that is greatly enhanced with modern update and better emotional flings.


    In the second half, however, the human drama we have seen is almost entirely transcended into a generic and formulaic superhero movie. While technology, knowledge and concepts are much ahead in this one, Maguire’s version of Spider-Man is still more effectively played out than Garfield’s version. This is simply because the former possesses more superhero quality, and keeping it much closer to his heart. At times, I find it not entirely Garfield’s fault for the fallacy but probably because of how the movie makes Spider-Man looks like. It goes without help at all that the editing and pacing seems to make certain action set-pieces to go too inferior for a superhero movie. While the CGI and cinematography look amazing, the action scenes here are built neither with strength nor with impressive perspective. Anyone remembered the train scene in Spider-Man 2? Well, I can boldly say that this movie lacks of some critical, impressive and edgier action scenes to accompany the human drama.

    While there are many elements are directly taken from the comic - for example the inorganic web-shooter and Gwen Stacy, the movie also make respectable changes to some of the other – like the cross species genetic concept replacing radiation technique and Captain Stacey’s approval of Spider-Man. However Marc Webb decides to don this version, he has already made this reboot a great and worthy one for the old and new generations to enjoy. No doubt, it is a fine job for a man as fresh as he in big-budget action movie. However, been great here means nothing as it is still goes paler than the first two Spider-Man movies and some of the other epic superhero movies of all time.

    In the end, “The Amazing Spider-Man” offers a refreshing visit as well as a worthy reboot that gives this origin story of spider-Man a better and updated version complete with more emotion play around the characters. Unfortunately, as a superhero movie, the decisive set piece actions that are neither revolutionist nor impressive enough and structurally becomes too generic.

    MY RATING:
    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.1/20.0



    "The Amazing Spider-Man" opens in cinemas nationwide in 2D and 3D versions beginning July 5th. Thanks to Sony Pictures Malaysia, Golden Screen Cinemas and Fly FM
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