I wrote in a post recently that I was not overly impressed with this reboot of the Spider-Man movie series. Despite liking it better then Sam Raimi’s trilogy I found that I was a little bored by it. After having seen the origin story for Spider-Man so recently I found it boring. There were good points. Andrew Garfield looks very natural as Peter Parker and Emma Stone is really captivating as Gwen Stacey. Sally Field and Martin Sheen were awesome as Aunt May and Uncle Ben, their chemistry together is priceless and they look and act like a couple who have been together for a long time.
I’ve recently brought and re-watched it after I went and saw its sequel. I wanted to give it another chance because I liked the sequel (Mostly, but that’s another blog post) and I’m going through a stage in life where I’m feeling like I’ve been too critical with some things and movies are a big part of this.
On my first and only viewing when it came out there were a number of things which didn’t sell me on it. Like I said the origin of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, been there and done that. I think they put it in to remind us all and to set up the story arc of Peter’s parents and the mystery around them. I really wasn’t sold on Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors either, but on watching it again he has won me over a little. I do like it when actors break from the characters that people typecast them as. In this case I think I was as guilty of that as the next person. Ifans is a very talented actor but normally in slightly odd, out there and louder then life roles. So I think that played too much on my mind at the time but give the man some serious credit for taking such a big jump away from what he normally does.
As for the storyline, there were times when I found myself looking at my iPad and seeing what was happening on Facebook and Twitter, but I did not find it as boring as I recalled it to be. I think the cast did a lot to keep my eyes on the screen. I’ve mentioned some of them above, but I’ll elaborate a little more here.
Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man looks right at home here. He’s got that quick wit that is needed and easily comes cross as someone who is highly intelligent. I heard a Spider-Man fan saying that Peter Parker is a genius and Garfield plays that side of Peter Parker well. I felt he also pulled off the awkward teen that Peter Parker is early in the film well. Tobey Maguire always felt more creepy then awkward in Raimi’s trilogy. Overall Andrew Garfield seemed to live the character very well and was very convincing. He held the screen, had a fair bit of charisma and pulled off the range of emotions that was needed.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey is just perfect. Let’s get the male oriented aspect out of the way, Emma Stone is a strikingly beautiful women, but instead of being there just to look sexy and supply someone for Spider-Man to save so serves a part in the conclusion of the film. She is just adorable, as well as being strong. That can be hard to pull off but Emma Stone does it really well. I’d not seen her in anything before this and she all but stole the scene each time she was on screen. She has a lot of charm and strength and isn’t scared of getting stuck in despite any threats that may be coming. Emma Stone looks very natural on screen, some actors look like they are trying too hard but Stone seems to be very at ease on camera.
The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is amazing and believable, to the point where they are in a relationship in real life. This just strengthens their on screen relationship.
The director, Marc Webb, does do a very good job with steering the film. It’s pretty well written and is not over inflated or trying to do too much, it’s very straight forward. I think having the villain be The Lizard was a good idea, although from my small knowledge of the Spider-Man universe it felt a little like the character was a little misinterpreted, but I’m willing to let artistic license be used here. The story isn’t about the Lizard, it’s about Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man and the Lizard is just a bad guy thrown into the mix so there is a conflict and threat that Spider-Man has to stop.
The performances, style and tone saved this movie for me. It’s not a bad film in any way shape or form but its core story has been done before. Webb has a great eye and gets the best out of the actors. he also made a fun film, Spider-Man had that smart arse wit that never felt quite genuine in Raimi’s trilogy.
This film is setting up a bigger story arc and I think it does that while also being a stand alone film. The sequel does step it up a notch and it felt like they let loose a little more, but I’ll talk further about it in another post.