In the last few days I’ve never been more fascinated with cinema than right now.
The Amazing Spider-Man opened on Monday night. It’s receiving generally enthusiastic reviews but, like with anything, there are those who are absolutely completely against the film. The conversation is so intense that this film is making the conversation around Prometheus look like nothing. Prometheus absolutely outraged and completely divided critics and audiences. Audiences, as evidenced by the film’s already record breaking box office, will eat this film up because Spider-Man skews very young and very old and everyone in between. Critics, on the other hand (not so much critics as people who like film and have Twitter accounts), well, it’s just sparking the conversation.
The problem I’ve seen many have with the film is that it’s derivative of a point (it’s not, Peter Parker becomes a hero but not without risks, downfalls and a broken heart), that it’s too soon for a reboot (comic book heroes are timeless and granted the gap is getting closer but when is the right time for a reboot exactly because I’d love to know) and, finally, the only one I agree with, that it’s too similar to the first. Having seen the film, I can say this: the first 3rd is far too similar to the first Spider-Man film that at first it feels like a remake and less of a reboot, but then something happens. Andrew Garfield happens. And Garfield makes the film his own and it’s own. If we can’t agree on the film I know we can all agree on this one thing: Andrew Garfield IS Spider-Man (and from what I’ve read, we really all agree).
The film, for me, works on a lot of levels. Where Raimi’s Spider-Man films felt cheap, offensively stylistic and the cast did NOT mesh, The Amazing Spider-Man fixes all of that, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without it’s own problems. Of course it does. No film is perfect (even Jumanji which in my eyes is just perfection). So let’s get the problems out of the way: the first act is too similar, Rhys Ifans is a bad actor, and the villian is boring. Done? Are we good? Can we move on? Because other than those problems listed, I don’t see why this film is recieving such unjustified hate from bloggers and critics. I won’t name names but someone from another website wrote an article in which he declares this to be the worst Spider-Man film yet while completely acknowledging that Spider-Man 3 – the film that critics, fans and fanboys alike (so…EVERYONE) hate and know IS really bad – exists. We’re all entitled to our own opinions (look, I enjoyed Prometheus…) but when does it become too much? When does it become unjust? When does it become cool to not like things? And when does it become premeditated? I think that time is now.
I think we’re sensitive but I also think we’re overexposed. We want originality but when it comes we don’t watch it (did you watch Moonrise Kingdom yet? How about Take This Waltz? No? Didn’t think so) or it’s not good enough, but at the same time we all go watch every reboot, remake and sequel ever created and then, it’s just not enough. Brave wasn’t Pixar enough. Magic Mike didn’t have ENOUGH stripping (I mean…) Moonrise Kingdom wasn’t Wes Anderson enough… give me a break. At the same time, through Twitter, Facebook and everything else, reviews and WOM spread quicker than ever that an idea, decision and premeditated opinion begin to grow.
Back to the film though. I’m biased. I completely dislike the original trilogy for the reasons stated previously (cheap, silly, cartoony and the cast sucks). Spider-Man 1 and 2 are not awful, of course not, but they’re just not for me. I remember when Garfield was first announced as Spider-Man everyone threw their arms in the air because that’s all anyone knows how to do anymore. Same happened with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I didn’t. I approved of him automatically because… why not? Why not give the person a chance unless they are OBVIOUSLY completely wrong for a role? I’m sorry, but when was Tobey ever acclaimed for his work in Spider-Man? Spider-Man is so successful and so beloved because the fans identify so easily with him and Peter Parker because he is drawn and written with identification. Audiences see themselves as Peter Parker, not as the actor.
Again, I’m know that I am biased, but Tobey wasn’t a good Spider-Man. He was too bulky and too old looking (Garfield is 27 but looks every bit of a high school student). And this is coming from me, someone who hates the character. Why? Because it’s easy: Spider-Man is a WIMP. He’s pissy, he’s a sulker, he’s the definition of White People Problems. But yet, he’s the most idolized and most relatable. Tobey didn’t change that though. Tobey didn’t become Spider-Man, he was simply Tobey being Spider-Man getting his big break. I’m sorry to shit on Tobey because obviously he was no George Clooney as Batman, but still. When I went to go see this film, I went with a bunch of people and some were unconvinced. Going in some had already written him off. But then this thing happens half way through the movie where Andrew Garfield is so just earnest, so charming, SO FUNNY, and so GOOD as Spider-Man that even his harshest critics (which, WHY ARE YOU?!) give up. Yea, he’s that GOOD. And why? Because you can tell he gives a shit. I’ll say it again incase you missed it the first 10 times: Andrew Garfield IS Spider-Man and he is reason enough to see the movie.
The rest of the cast is solid as well. Though some may argue that Gwen Stacey could be played by anyone I argue back that, unfortunately, any female comic book character, especially a heroin, can and is played by any random actress. Emma Stone brings that charm she brings to every single role she’s been given so far, even this, something as dismissible as the heroin in a comic book movie. But here’s the thing: the two of the them, Garfield and Stone, are so God damn good TOGETHER that that is all you want to see. As soon as one of their scenes together ends, you just want the next scene to be them together. Their chemistry is HOT. They’re great together. Sally Field IS Aunt May. That’s all you need to know about her.
So, here we are. I’m now apparently a fanboy for Spider-Man, my least favourite superhero and film series. But why? Well first, I’m still not a fanboy because, well, X-Men Forever and stuff, but also I’m not this films defender nor biggest critic either. You are allowed to have your problems with it. You SHOULD have your problems with it. But also, enjoy the film without a premeditated decision. In all honesty, with my bias aside – FOR ME, this is the best Spider-Man film I’ve seen, one I’ve enjoyed the most and I wish this had been the first Spider-Man movie we’d been given because Andrew Garfield IS Spider-Man and deserves this.
See the film! It’s fun, I promise, and Garfield and Stone make it hot. If you have seen it, let me know your thoughts!