Friday, July 6, 2012
Movie Breakdown: The Amazing Spider-Man
I'm going to take a more detailed look at The Amazing Spider-Man than in my last, quick post. There will be SPOILERS mixed in, so if you're looking for an opinion piece sans spoilers, check out the post just before this one.
-------------------Potentially Major Spoilers Live Here-------------------
First, the movie as a reboot of a previous series. This is always a difficult thing to do for a comic book series -- generally, the previous set of movies were working off of the same source material the new movie should be. X-Men First Class decided to do an original story and suffered for it (a decent superhero movie, a bad Marvel movie that will have the same issues the first series did with expanding into sequels).
The first (Toby) Spider-Man film took a lot of things from the comics for Spidey's origin story and added a few twists. It also did some things that really screwed with the comic book timeline, and the later movies suffered for it.
-Peter developed a costume to wrestle for money. In the comics, he did this for money and fame and did it more than once.
-Peter let a burglar go that ended up killing Uncle Ben. In the comics, the burglar ended up breaking in to the Parker residence and killing Ben in their home.
-Mary Jane is Peter's first (and only) love. In the comics, Gwen Stacy is the first serious relationship. MJ is actually friends with the both of them, and Peter, Gwen, and MJ date other characters before ever getting serious.
-The bridge scene, also known as the "Sadistic Choice" is done in such a way that Spidey saves everyone. This really is a flaw in the character development dept. -- this scene is actually where Gwen Stacy died, forever changing Spidey.
The Amazing Spider-Man:
-Peter gets the idea for his first mask after falling into an old wrestling ring. This is a nice twist on the old theme. It also comes AFTER Ben's death -- Peter doesn't have a reason to become a vigilante until then.
-The burglar interaction in this film is much different than Toby's and the comics. That being said, it is a fresher, less Deus Ex Machina version -- Peter leaves the house angry, Ben follows him. Peter goes into a convenience store and is not allowed to purchase chocolate milk because he is two cents short. The cashier is very rude. Peter is leaving when the burglar distracts the cashier, steals the money from the register, and throws Peter the milk. Burglar flees, cashier gives chase and asks Peter to help, Peter using the line "not my policy" in homage to earlier versions. Burglar runs into Ben across the street, drops his gun, and then struggles with Ben for the gun, which goes off, killing Ben where Peter can see it.
-The line "With great power comes with great responsibility" isn't given verbatim in the film, which is accurate to the comics. It is paraphrased, but not painfully so.
-Gwen Stacy story is changed up a bit. In the comics, they meet in college. Also, she does not know who Spidey is. Finally, the death of her father, in the comics, was as a result of a Spidey vs. Doc Ock fight. In the movie, they switched it up by having him play a more active role in a Lizard fight before being killed.
(Amazing) paid a lot more attention to the actual origin story of Spider-Man. They changed a lot of things, but they didn't do anything that would deter them seriously from doing any major comic storyline. They will have the interesting struggle with the death of Gwen Stacy -- will they be ballsy enough to do so, or will they try to find some way to keep her alive (similar to the Ultimate comics) and, once again, ruin that plot? I couldn't say.
Something else new to this film would be Spidey's costume. It's not my favorite, but I respect that they did something different and new. At the end of the day, it is at least interesting looking and fits the darker theme of this film. (Toby) Spider-Man was a camp fest of epic proportions; (Amazing) wasn't having it.
That, for me, is the best improvement. Watching the original trilogy recently gave me a lot of cringe-worthy moments. It was super-campy, from costume designs (seriously Green Goblin?) to dialogue to the fight scenes. (Amazing) had some flaws, but it took itself very seriously. The costume(s) looked realistic enough, the writing was good (other than when they made Peter SUPER AWKWARD), and the fight scenes were top notch (when they happened).
Runner up to the best improvement was that (Amazing) actually featured a new and learning Spider-Man. (Toby) seems to jump into the red and blues and already be fully capable as a hero. Garfield has to work at it throughout the entire movie, and it is done very well. Also, the Lizard character is treated as more than just a brutish animal, and this is another example of better character development than I'd have expected.
Sequel speculation: I expect to see either Norman Osborn or Morbius in the next film. As the main villains, I couldn't say, but they are hinted enough in the film/game to warrant an appearance.
For now I'm going to wrap up this post with a list of (Amazing) flaws, I may edit with some more thoughts in the future.
Amazing Spider-Man Flaws (and yet, I still loved this movie):
-Peter Parker had some awkward interactions, specifically with Gwen Stacy. Awkwardness CAN be done well -- it wasn't here. I'm sure future viewings will make these moments even more painful.
-This was a Peter Parker movie more than it was a Spider-Man movie. This isn't so much as a flaw as a skewed expectation. A better movie over-all, but not much super heroics occur in relation to other films.
-Several loose ends were either left for the next films or just ignored. This include what happened to Peter's parents, the burglar who killed Ben, the Oscorp representative on the bridge, and the mid-credits scene (which is only here because it was too vague).
-The last scene of Captain Stacy just seemed so... poorly acted compared to the rest of the movie. And I did NOT like Gwen 'guessing' what her father told Peter. My wife disagrees with me on this point, however.
-There may be a few things I'm missing, I'll add them if I think about it!