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Why The Amazing Spider-Man is Better Than the Other One


And when I say "the other one", I mean the one with Tobey Maguire.

"Yeah, this'll fit Andrew Garfield."

1. It's darker.

Not that kind of darker.

And it's not because of the 3D lenses darkening your vision (I didn't watch this in 3D... yet). You can tell that the filmmakers tried taking The Dark Knight route (why do people keep referencing The Dark Knight when it was Batman Begins that started it all?), and actually achieved it with mild success. You can't go full dark on this flick, not with your hero still in high school. That would be too emo. And just like The Dark Knight...

2. It uses minimal CGI.
If you've got a cinematic eye, you will probably notice how realistic Spider-Man looks while swinging through skyscrapers. One possibility might be that CG technology has come a long way since the first Spidey flick in '02, giving us better and more realistic body movements. But CGI that is too good becomes hyper-realistic, and audiences can sense that. That's why for this flick, they went for the real thing--real humans in spandex suits. So when you see Spider-Man hurtling through the air in his trademark iconic poses, you can clearly see the way the shadows fall on the muscles of his back and his limbs. That's because that's not computer-generated shadows falling on computer-generated muscles of a computer-generated webslinger. That's the real thing.

These days, you can't tell what's real anymore.

3. Andrew Garfield is a talented actor.
Andrew Garfield, who plays Peter Parker, displays quite an extensive acting range for someone his age. His American accent's almost flawless now, a far cry from his obviously fake accent when he appeared in that Doctor Who episode back in 2007.

Name that Peter Parker facial expression.
a.) Extreme pain
b) Hitting a high note
c) Taking a massive dump
d) Pissing razors.
e) Orgasm.

4. Great chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
I mentioned in my Rock of Ages review something about chemistry, about how the lead stars in that movie didn't have it. But in The Amazing Spider-Man, the male and female leads have more chemistry between them than all the chem labs in Oscorp. Both guys and girls alike will get those giddy goosebumps associated with teen romance when seeing Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and Peter Parker flirting.

"Why won't you talk to me in your British accent?"

Some of you might point out that Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst also had great chemistry onscreen, but I disagree. Kirsten Dunst is just so effectively slutty that she makes it look like she's got great chemistry with whoever her partner is. I think if you pair Kirsten Dunst with Ving Rhames, it'd still look like they got great chemistry.

5. Good casting.
Aside from Garfield and Stone, the other cast members also gave great performances despite their limited supporting roles.

To grown-ups, everything teenagers do involves drugs.

Martin Sheen nailed the part of Uncle Ben perfectly, achieving the delicate balance between "annoying uncle" and "the closest thing to a father". Sally Field got the demeanor of Aunt May, even if Rosemary Harris, the previous Aunt May, looked like she came straight out of the comic book. Denis Leary, too, was so effective as Gwen's father Captain Stacy that you wouldn't be surprised if Gwen's suitors would rather face a mutant lizard than sit down to a Stacy family dinner. Rhys Ifans was excellent in his subtlety, but his acting was definitely downplayed when he was in reptile form.

I'd also like to mention that I am quite pleased that Irrfan Khan is now in Hollywood. I loved him in Slumdog Millionnaire, and I pray he has a great career ahead of him. I only hope he's not a douchebag in real life.

6. It pays homage to Todd McFarlane.
At least in my opinion. Though I might be the only one who noticed the McFarlane nod. For those of you who don't know, Todd McFarlane was the artist responsible for transforming the webslinger from this:


to this:

In reality, poses like these make
absolutely no sense.

These acrobatic contortions would go on to separate Spider-Man from even other superheroes with a Marvel card agility rating of 6 or higher, such as Deadpool or Nightcrawler. And director Marc Webb knows this, making sure to force Spidey into those impossible poses every chance he gets.

So now we can effectively say goodbye to the Sam Raimi trilogy and say hello to the Marc Webb reboots. A part of me laments the Hollywood capitalist mentality of rebooting franchises left and right for seemingly no apparent reason but to make more money. But if the studio's goal is to do for their franchise what Christopher Nolan did for Batman, to create a perfect film, a stand-alone work of art that just happens to be based on a comic book, then I guess rebooting isn't such a bad idea.

P.S. Did they hire the director because his last name is Webb? Because, you know, webslinger?

The Amazing Spider-Man. USA. 2012.

Rating: Eight out of ten.


Thank you, John. But your comment still reads like spam.

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