Many were doubtful about how this reboot of our web-shooting hero was released too soon after its predecessor trilogy by Sam Raimi had ended (5 years after the last installment). I personally was not a fan of the last trilogy (especially the disastrous Spider-man 3), I was not excited about another Spider-man. I think I am more excited about the fact that this movie was directed by Marc Webb. For those who don’t know, Webb directorial debut was (500) days of Summer in 2009, but before that he’s directed a lot of Music Videos including many of My Chemical Romance’s (personally love their ‘I Don’t Love You‘). With my prejudices against Spider-man and solely for my love for Webb, i did not expect to get tangled on the spider web.
(For those who havent watch the movie, please proceed with caution. I might gone a little too detailed on the plot)
Young Peter were confused when he was abruptly taken to his Aunt May’s and Uncle Ben’s house and leave him in their care by his parents, shortly before a tragic accident killed them both. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) grew up into a camera snapping, gadget tinkering teenager with a sense to stand up against injustice, and a crush for his clever classmate in Midtown Science High School, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). One afternoon he found an old leather briefcase that used to belong to his father and within its secret compartment he found a curious scientific formula about cross-species genetics alteration with curious ØØ mark and a photograph that took him to Dr Curt Connors (Ifan Rhys) a famous one-armed, Herpetologist, and a scientist at OSCORP. He snooped his way into one chamber where ‘bio cable’ was being developed with the aide of genetically altered spiders, in a vain effort to follow his clue, where he got bitten by one of the spider. The bites gave him a spider-like abilities and some super human strength.
Enjoying the perks of having his new found abilities, he behaves compulsively and irresponsibly, earning himself a detention, caused Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) to work later than usual and made Peter promise to pick up his Aunt later that night. Believing that his father ‘decay rate algorithm’ was what Dr. Connor was missing in his effort to formulate a cross species genetic alteration to re-grow his arm back. Going home late that night, Peter was scolded by Uncle Ben for forgetting his responsibility, getting hot headed, Peter leaves the home. While getting some milk at a mini mart, Peter witness a robbery and let the thief go, little did he know the thief is going to kill his Uncle in his effort to escape. Peter swore to himself he would find the thief and avenge his Uncle’s death. Armed with only mask to hide his face (then become a full-body costume) and his self developed biocable web (ordered from OSCORP), Peter became Spider-man, an internet sensation vigilante that caught the Police attention as a disruption of justice. One day he got invited to Gwen Stacy’s house for a branzino dinner, where he met her father the NYPD Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary), and got into debate about Spider-man effort to stop crimes.
Dr. Connors under the pressure he received from his superior Dr Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) are forced to surrender his serum, which was still underdevelopment. This force him to take the desperate measure to consume the serum himself, alas, it turn him to something more (or less) than human. Going beserk, he attempt to chase down Ratha, only to be stopped by Spider-man. Connor manage to escape, but Spider-man is not done, he manage to save a little boy from falling off a bridge, and made him question of his role as a Spider-man… What Would Spidey Do?
As you can see, the reboot have a very similar (if not exact) structure with the first Sam Raimi’s Spider-man (2002) just with a different villain. The feel it creates however, are quite different. Webb direction feels more humanize, emotional without lacking of witty humor. The first half of the movie we were taken through the origin of spider-man, familiarise ourself with Peter Parker background, and more importantly his more pronounced emotion and feelings: regrets, built-up anger, frustration, curiousity, confusion, a roller-coaster of emotion, which 28-years old Andrew Garfield did eloquently. This new Spider-man do not have a clue about what he could do with his power but just have fun with it (a little payback for the bullies at school) and fueled by anger he became a disruption for the police, this spider-man can easily took the wrong path, becoming a ruthless punisher to the crime, and eventually being an outlaw himself. Only on his first meeting with the lizard (on the bridge) where he actually save a life, he find a greater purpose than just to avenge his uncle. I enjoy knowing this Peter Parker, a skateboard totting photographer at a science school, who reacts hilariously when he discover his abilities, who google (or in this case bing) the effects of spider bites, who design his own weapon (biocable shooters), who sew and silk-screen his own costume, who carries his backpack and phone around
so his Aunt can order eggs, and ..play somekind of bubble shooter game on his Sony Xperia phone while he wait for the lizard to come out (roaring laughter, really!).
His neutralizer was his classmate Gwen Stacey who he was smitten for, you can see his adoring eyes and how he lights up around her. For Peter, Gwen Stacy probably represent the normal that he’s been searching for for in his life, a loving family, a complete set of mother and father. The chemistry between them is very existent as well, may be a result of real life romance between Garfield and Emma Stone? (they look great together really). Anyway, Rhys Evan gave an emotional performance of bipolar villain as well, i can not help but to empathize with his original motive and despite it backfired and reduce him to something less than human. I especially touched at the scene where he stands in front of this glass windows and imagine him having his two hands, and his action in the end manage to brought tears to my eyes.
The movie visualization can be downright poetic at some key scenes, i feel Webb signature very strongly here, the different tones are utilized to support the mood also effective to alleviate the atmosphere of a scene or setting. The movie was shot using red epic camera in 3D, enabling us the viewers to feel more dimension at some of the action scene and at one point 1st person point-of-view as Spider-man. Rhys Ifans also do a motion-capture as the lizard for the speaking parts, though it might not help that much given the lizard pretty much feels a rampant dinosaur most of the time. One of the highlight of this movie is the much awaited Stan Lee cameo as a librarian during the fight in the school, hands down the best cameo ever, topping off the one in The Incredible Hulk (2008). A friend who went with me said, that the film probably lacks of action, which he did not mind, but he point out that this might be the one that cause polarity of reception. I do not mind a necessary thrilling action sequence (especially one that are beautifully choreograph) but if its not necessary i wont miss it (though i know loads seems to disagree). But i heard that actual Spider-man (comic books) fan actually enjoy this movie and think its more faithful to the comic books, so it’s all good right?
With a US$230 million budget, the movie has earned US$678 million by the time this blog entry is published. Pretty sweet, though might not be as high as the predecessors which averaged US$ 793 (why people why?!). This series definitely worth a sequel (remember the post-credit scene?), and worry not, a sequel is already announced and already in pre-development phase with James Vanderbilt writing the script and its scheduled for May 2, 2014 release. Andrew Garfield is attached to the project, of course. I’m hoping Webb gonna return to direct the sequel as well, though there were a scheduling conflicts and he’s currently attached to another project. The Amazing Spider-Man will be released on Blu-ray & DVD November 20, 2012. Meanwhile let me leave you with this video of Spiderman comic-con panel introduction.
picture credits: official website, rotten tomatoes, moviegallerie.net, etc
Possibly unrelated but this is a fun tid-bit, coincide with the release of The Amazing Spider-man, OPI, a well-known professional salon nail polish brand released an OPI x Spider-Man Collection for their Summer 2012, with 6 swatches of polish and 1 shatters. I personally love Just Spotted The Lizard, a green-gold-bronze duochrome and i wore it to watch The Amazing Spider-Man. You can check more reviews here at scrangie and the polish aholic.The polish is already available in Indonesia at OPI booth or within SOGO Department Stores or any OPI resellers you can find online.