First off, my expectations for this movie were not high. I’m not some Tobey McGuire nor do I believe he turned the role of Spiderman into some artistic piece destined for movie history. But let’s face it, until his Spiderman first came out, we all thought Marvel superhero movies were a joke. Still, it was only five years since the last film/debacle so I really didn’t see the need for a reboot…except to make money for the studio. Engage your spoiler-shields – though in fairness, I will keep the reveals to a minimum.
With my blasé attitude to the movie as your backdrop, let me say, this movie rocked! It starts out slow. Look, we get it, Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider…duh. Can we get to the fights? This movie focused on Peter’s back story beyond Aunt May and Uncle Ben and concentrated on what happened to Peter’s parents. The film never really explains this – but in the end you don’t care. Stick around until mid-way through the credits and you’ll get a little hint of where this storyline may go next.
This movie falls back to the original Spiderman comic book themes – i.e. Parker makes his own web-slinging devices rather than mutating to the point of spinning webs. His girlfriend is not Mary Jane Parker but Gwen Stacy, just like in the comics. The actor that plays Parker is Andrew Garfield and I found myself liking him. He’s not a dork or geek, he’s just a normal guy. We even get some clashes with Flash Thompson in the movie. Okay, I’m dating my inner-geek here, but if you read Spiderman back in the 1960’s and 70’s like me, this movie actually pays great homage to the original characters.
The actors were great. First off, Emma Stone, as Gwen Stacy, really was fantastic. Her acting was with her eyes and she really did a great job. Aunt May was played by Sally Field, which oddly worked for me. Even Denis Leary who plays Gwen’s dad was engaging. I could have done without Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, but let’s face it, if you know the Spiderman story, you know he dies anyway.
The villain is The Lizard. Okay the special effects for this creature weren’t as good as The Avenger’s Hulk, but they were passable. The Lizard didn’t wow me. Maybe I’m getting to the point where I expect a lot more from movies – I wanted to get blown away. As a villain, he’s a good match for Spiderman and the fights have an almost Michael Bay feeling about them, with Spidey bouncing all over the place in the battles.
Other little gems in this movie– the traditional cameo by Stan Lee was great, but aren’t they all? It was great to see Parker outshine Flash Thompson in the school. We get a hint at Norman Osborn (Green Goblin – eventually?) but that’s not a big loss. To be honest, it was good to see the franchise move away from that villain. Spiderman swinging through NYC – that never gets old.
The downside to the move? No J. J. Jameson, editor of the Bugle. No, “with great power comes great responsibility,” line – though honestly, it would have been a tad corny in this movie. No Bruce Campbell cameo. Also the writers planted a lot of hints about Parker’s parents, but didn’t drive that point to conclusion. Apparently this is going to be an ongoing thing with the franchise.
Is the movie worth going to? Yes! In fact, I find myself highly recommending this movie. It’s good, really good, and fun. Get out of the heat and go see this movie!