Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) by Marc Webb
"Tobey Magwho?"
I guess I'm late to the party again. I had intentionally steered clear of the "new" Spider-Man, simply because I A) had come to personify Tobey Maguire with the world's favorite spider-bitten hero, B) wasn't so sure The Social Network pretty boy Andrew Garfield could pull off the role, and C) was very skeptical about the reboot altogether. For two years I dismissed my sister's persistent praise for the Marc Webb movie, but in the end, I caved. The trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 simply looked too good, and so I immersed myself in its 2012 predecessor, aptly titled The Amazing Spider-Man.

Peter Parker (Garfield) lives with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), who were bestowed upon with his upbringing by Peter's parents, who depart under mysterious circumstances. One day, he finds a briefcase that belonged to his father, Dr. Richard Parker, learning that he worked closely with one-armed scientist Dr. Curt Connors  (Rhys Ifans) at Oscorp. Dying for answers, Peter sneaks into Oscorp, where his pretty school mate Gwen Stacy (the adorkable Emma Stone) is doing an internship, only to get bitten by a genetically modified spider, soon developing spider-like abilities. Not much after that, he visits Connors, giving him his father's "decay rate algorithm", which cause a breakthrough in Connors's limb regeneration experiments.

What a knucklehead am I? 

As the movie unfolded, my skepticism quickly melted away, largely because Garfield reinvented Spider-Man, making him more sassy and less emo. Spidey's new attributes work particularly well with the perky Gwen Stacy, who I found more likable than Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) in the original trilogy. The recasting works beautifully. The story isn't "amazing" per se, but director Marc Webb brings plenty of freshness and humor, and he effectively sets the table for more web-slinging adventures, especially with the whole Richard Parker/Oscorp storyline. I'm glad I finally caught up!

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