Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Thoughts On Spider-Man

Recently I've had a bit of a Spider-Man kick in the movie department.  As everyone knows, there is a rather unnecessary reboot that's happening right now, only five years since the final installment of the Tobey Maguire series.  The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield as the inordinately well-coiffed high-schooler, Peter Parker, who gains super powers after being bit by a genetically enhanced spider, and Emma Stone as the love interest, Gwen Stacy.  This was a smart choice; Stone plays her as a stylish science nerd, which matches better with Peter's interests than the previous Mary-Jane.  Like the Tobey Maguire version, this one retells the origin story, although in a slightly less believable way.  Instead of the high school students going on a field trip to the high-tech science giant Oscorp, Peter tags along with a group of students wanting to be interns (because high schoolers become interns at the worlds most premiere scientific lab all the time), and Gwen Stacy, also a junior in high school, is one of the top doctors' head personal assistant and is leading the intern tour.  Clearly, this is a world made up of extremely ambitious seventeen-year-olds.

Anyway, instead of being the nerdy, awkward class dork, portrayed very effectively by Tobey Maguire, Garfield plays him as a more suave, smart-guy geek.  He gets the popular, nice girl right away (con), invents the web-slingers like he does in the comics (pro), the Lizard bad-guy has multiple personalities and figures out Spider-Man's identity, which is eerily similar to The Green Goblin story line in the first series (con), but there are some excellent fight scenes (pro).  The standout was the battle between Spidey and the Lizard that takes place in the school halls and classrooms, with a delightful little cameo by Spider-Man creator Stan Lee.

After watching it, I was a bit disappointed.  It was definitely entertaining, but like I said, it is a bit unnecessary.  Then I watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which was a vast improvement on the first. The villains are excellent, with the plot focusing on Jamie Foxx's Electro and Dane DeHaan's Harry Osborn/Green Goblin.  Foxx starts out as an odd electronics guy who doesn't have any friends and just wants people to remember and appreciate him, falls into a tank of electric eels while working late at Oscorp, causing him to turn blue and gain his electric powers.  The scene where he uncovers the range of his power in the middle of Times Square is beautiful.

And Dane DeHaan is perfect as the private school prep who has a crazy deranged look in his eye, ultimately just trying to uphold his father's (played by Chris Cooper) legacy.  His decent to transforming into the Green Goblin is a little rushed, but when he suddenly arrives in the massive final battle, he is pure evil.

There are also several other subplots, including a third villain, The Rhino, played by an unrecognizable Paul Giamatti, the Peter Parker-Gwen Stacy love story, Gwen's move to England, Peter's relationship with Aunt May now that Uncle Ben is gone, and his ongoing search into what happened to his parents.  As you can see, there's a lot going on and inevitably, some of the content slips as there's just not enough time to fully explore everything, but it is an excellent, well-acted, action-filled comic book movie, and that's really all you need in this genre.  I'm excited to see what happens in the third installment, scheduled for release in 2018.

(photos collected from 3dhorizon, pinterest, moviepilot, and marvel-movies.wikia)

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