Pauls Valley Democrat
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma —
When it comes to revitalizing or bringing new life to an already established film franchise, I can understand the hesitation fans have with getting behind something outside of their familiar comfort. I’ll admit my own attachment to the Toby Macguire web shooting trilogy and early hopes it would at least go one more time, yet the more I found this new effort wasn’t just rehashing what he’d already done, the more I was able to relax and see if the new guy could create his own momentum.
Being a child of the mid 80s and 90s I was familiar with the idea where the heroes secret identity started, but my comic reading experiences showed him more as an adult, juggling married life and saving the world. Thankfully my concern of an overly angsty high school drama path did not come to pass and it not only feels right, but has potential to grow maybe even further than what we’ve seen so far. I’m not enough of a convert to say it was better than the rest, but “The Amazing Spider-Man” seems to at least know how to pay enough respects to keep true to what we love about the character.
Unlike the previous films where Peter Parker (now Andrew Garfield) becomes the hero he needs to be after the death of Uncle Ben (now Martin Sheen), the origin story focuses on Pete’s driven curiosity to find out why his parents Richard (Campbell Scott) and Mary (Embeth Davidtz) disappeared when he was a child. Even that famed getting bit by a radioactive spider plays into a quest ignited by the discovery of dad’s old research, which takes him from being an obscure outcast to the focus of attention.
No Mary Jane found in this version, his radical change in ways attracts a different love interest from classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) as well as suspicion from her internship employer Doctor Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) at OsCorp as well as her father and city police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary). All of this comes to a head when Connors becomes a Jekyll and Hyde version of a villain called the Lizard, who unfortunately resembles in the face a Goomba from the “Super Mario Bros.” movie, and a decision where his responsibilities are. The results could have been lost in the blockbuster cash grab, but instead you have excellent chemistry among those who interact (dynamite performance by Stone) with believable portrayals. One certainly worth mentioning is the motherly Aunt May (Sally Field).
As far as ranking among all four live action movies, I could see why some rank it as their favorite, though I’d say it was closer to possibly the second best if not third after the first two Raimi chapters. This is considering how The Lizard wasn’t as interesting in personality once the reptile.
I’ll also agree the concept was at times darker than it was before, but still kid friendly enough to allow the whole family to get in on the fun. The only things that seemed out of place and not to the point that it hurt anything was why this modern Parker had a film camera instead of digital and kind of a half approach to his creation of the web shooting formula (shop lifting anyone?). In the end, for exceeding my own expectations I’d say “The Amazing Spider-Man” earns three and three fourths out of five victories.
Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.