Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Movie Review: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, 8 Stars And Amazing 3D!

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First of all this review will not have any spoilers, so relax you can read the whole thing and not be precisely tipped off about anything. I do talk loosely about one scene that bothered me but no details are given. However the comments are free reign and anything goes as far as spoilers!

I saw director Marc Webb's THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN last night in IMAX 3D (yes, I scored a poster) and let me tell you it is well worth the price of admission.

Allow me to admit that I am very biased toward Spider-man. He was MY superhero growing up so if this movie is halfway decent, I'm going to love it. I was smiling broadly many, many times through this movie which is something I normally don't do.

There is only one scene in the movie that was far from being perfect. Towards the end there is a need for our webslinger to get across town and he needs assistance. The assistance that's rendered totally does not belong in the movie and I was actually thinking about one the best moments from Sam Raimi's Spidey universe and hoping that Webb wouldn't feel the need to replicate it somehow. 

You know what though? That scene smells like studio interference, not the director. This is complete conjecture on my part, but I can't see Webb buying into it. I think Sony over-analyzed what was good with the original franchise and tried to do it again (pun intended). We'll discuss in the comments. The intentions were good.

My movie rating was quite severely cut simply because of this scene! It weakened my suspension of disbelief. It messed up the story for me. It blew my total enjoyment frankly. Everything that had nicely been built previous to this was dampened. But not devastated.

Enough on the subject for now.

What else? Aunt May's hair should have been grey or greying and not perfectly dyed, but Sally Field otherwise was perfect. Martin Sheen was a bit too close to Peter, but I liked the message he gave him.

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What did I like? More like what did I love! The 3D was jaw dropping at times, especially in the end sequence. You can tell the native 3D truly captured detailed scenes like the panning aerial shots of New York and it's bridges. I love the feeling that the 3D was caught effortlessly - a natural, green feeling if you will. You can thank 3ality Technica and Red for that. John Schwartzman again lived up to his name as one of the world's premier cinematographers. There were only two moments where anything broke the screen and came at you and those were suitably ejected using visual effects. 

The fight scenes were breathtaking, really. Such inventive choreography! When Parker turns into Spider-man you can feel his worry and excitement at the same time. Wonderful directing achievement.

James Horner slammed another movie score home run. Loved his work on this.

The visual effects? Wow. Remember SUPERMAN's tagline "You will believe a man can fly"? Ok, maybe you don't, but it applies here... "You will believe a man can swing. And shoots web from his wrists. And duck bullets. You get the idea..." Beautiful job guys! And a happy marriage between practical and visual effects too. Check out this great article (fx guide) on the various effects for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

Make up your own mind about Andrew Garfield. Don't read other reviews. Don't listen to anybody else. For me though, HE WAS PERFECT. This guy was born to be Peter Parker. Other than being slightly tall for the role, he makes up for in every other way. His looks, posture, physique, voice, mannerisms and his inept social skills was portrayed PERFECTLY. Let me say that again. PERFECTLY. I should know, Peter Parker / Spider-man was everything for me growing up. If you are a fan of the character, go see this movie.

Emma Stone nailed Gwen Stacy too, but at times she is almost didn't seem to fit the science geek persona. Rhys Ifans did remarkably well with Curt Connors / The Lizard given that everything I had seen him in previously was no where near this role.

I could care less about the timing of this reboot. I could literally watch a Spider-man movie every six months and not tire of it. Try telling it's too soon for a spidey movie to any true fan.

In conclusion, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN could have easily been 9 stars, as the cinematography, acting, 3D, score and visual / special effects were outstanding. A few more edits, a reshoot perhaps and a tad more Peter Parker struggling with this thoughts ALONE would have sealed it. But Marc Webb did an admirable job. Well worth your time and money! It's not THE AVENGERS by any stretch, but heck - this is our friendly neighborhood Spider-man.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN has done $7.5m from domestic midnight shows last night which is on par with what SPIDER-MAN 3 made. IMAX pushed the way with a $4000 screen average.

Was the 3D as good as PROMETHEUS? Yes in my books. On par. Get out and see it!! 8 stars.

Special thanks to Empire Theatres for the screening!

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Jim Dorey
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