The Amazing Spider-Review

It was a cloudy, grey, windy day, but a beautiful day nonetheless. Having a day alone with my wife, Melissa, is a rare thing and we got to spend it in a few of our favourite ways, including seeing the brand new film “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

I always get excited for new superhero movies. Every student I talk to at my school knows to ask me the geeky questions, and it’s great to be able to geek out a bit. I don’t mind being the comic loving teacher. 😉

But this film perplexed a lot of them, and some of my friends. Older or younger, Spider-man is fresh. His films had set records and been part of the opening wave of blockbuster, entertaining, kinetic superhero films. So why was this new story coming without Raimi and Maguire? Why reboot? (The word ‘reboot’ had been thrown around a lot but I don’t really think many people had considered the inherent negative association they gave it or questioned it, they seemed to go along with the critical view of some journalists and observers online).

I don’t mind getting caught up in a bit of hype. And this year we’ve already had a bunch with the Avengers film a couple of months ago (woah!) and The Dark Knight Rises in a couple of weeks. So I followed this film and it’s production and gradually became interested and also believed that it could succeed. Because I never truly saw the Peter Parker or Spider-man in the Raimi Trilogy that I had always read in the comics.

So, now I have seen The Amazing Spider-man, and I believe it’s an amazing taste of 50 years worth of fantastic Spider-man storytelling.

I don’t want this to be spoiler filled. I want to give a chance for people that are skeptical to think afresh.

What is your idea of Spider-man? Is it the web swinging? Is it New York? Is it the motto? Or was it just the guy in the tights in a few movies?

Because Spider-Man to me has always been about adolescence smashing against power with a lot of guilt thrown in. What should he really do with his power? How can he become a true hero? These are some of the questions that are raised and answered in this film. Who is Peter Parker. Who is Spider-Man.

The cast are wonderful and the directing is deft, careful, flamboyant and at times lets you dwell in his world, as Spider-Man, just for a moment. Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary – names that form a 5-strong team that all connect with Peter, played by the amazing Andrew Garfield.

Peter/Spider-Man has a voice here that pangs of loss, guilt, exuberance, joy, cleverness, love, confusion – and it’s played in a way that lets this all work for the film.

Melissa and I both enjoyed it more than the earlier trilogy, and we don’t mind comparing. We felt the connections of the Parker parents with the origins of Spidey brought depth and meaning that was missing from the original film’s high school excursion accident. Gwen Stacy is a more rounded, powerful, interesting character that MJ was and the different family dynamics create soft, yet tense moments for a young man that has missed out on his parents for most of his life.

Seeing the birth of Spider-Man represented here again is nothing new to any seasoned comic reader. Our heroes get reborn, re-birthed, resurrected all the time. It sometimes seems like an endless cycle.

So if you’re asking “why bother rebooting?” try to move past that question, and try to ask the question once more: “Who is Spider-Man?”

I think you’ll enjoy the answer.

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