Thursday, July 26, 2012

THE AMAZING SPIDER MAN


Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Dennis Leary


"His past was kept from him.
His quest for answers has just begun."

Cinema 4, SM Megamall




I actually skipped "The Avengers" on purpose. So while every one and his mother were raving about their fave superhero in that film, I stood my ground and wasn't swayed to join the masses. Besides, I will just catch it on cable TV in the near future.

But Peter Parker/Spider-Man holds a special place in my heart. I resolved to watch it before it weaved itself out of the local cinema houses. After several postponement, I found myself sitting in a dark, nearly empty theater so it felt like I was watching it in the comforts of my room.

So was it worth it?


Let me begin by saying, I felt it was too early for a reboot of this web tangled tale of a guy who gets bitten by a nasty spider and turns into a masked crusader for the oppressed. So with that in mind, I had huge expectations for "The Amazing Spider-Man". As the title goes, it had to be truly amazing and worth every cent of my time, money and everything else in between.

Directed by Marc Webb, who is known for the quirky romantic comedy "500 Days of Summer", it is slightly darker in tone and less campy than the previous films. It takes its sweet time before Peter turns into Spidey. But I ain't complaining because the expanded character development of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is quite interesting to absorb.

The prologue introduces him as a child, searching for the father he's about to lose. He grows to be a kind hearted teen with fresh faced innocence, nervous agitation and wry humor. Then he is bitten by a spider in that lab and the next thing Peter knows, he's literally climbing the walls, stronger and stickier. A Peter Parker with typical teenager angst, swagger and a tone defined more by emotional resonance than wide-eyed wonder.

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker sporting a hoodie and an appealing sense of nervous distraction, is both vulnerable and edgy. Obsessed with finding his missing parents, smitten with high school crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), this Peter is more tormented than the previous model, and, as a result, easier to care about. And as a superhero, he bleeds, he bruises and comes home to his Aunt May (Sally Field) with a sheepish, sly grin of someone who is trying to hide a secret.

His witty impersonation of a teenager, complete with bad posture, mood swings and tons of sarcasm is very realistic. And when he's wearing a mask and whipping a criminal into submission, Garfield manages to make this seem like a stunt every nerdy kid would pull if he could climb walls and shoot webs from his wrists.

So as much as I love Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield's lanky figure with his charismatic portrayal is commendable. I also like his palpable chemistry with Gwen Stacy who is portrayed by Emma Stone, Garfield's girlfriend in real life. Their rapport and exchange of somewhat cheesy dialogue was very believable.

Now we go to the villain. Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), the associate of Peter Parker's scientist father initially struck me as a thoughtful, nuanced antagonist — indeed, scarcely an antagonist at all — but when his transformation shifts into high gear, his human motivations vanish into a cartoonish digital monster. A hideous giant lizard with a creepy voice that sent shivers down my spine.


But hey this is a superhero movie so naturally you need a mad scientist to turn into some mutant that will wreak havoc on the entire city. At that point, anything resembling subtlety vanishes as it turns into one big computer generated images (CGI) blur. Many infrastructure are destroyed, many citizens are in danger and an entire metropolis is under threat unless Spider-Man swings in to save the day!


Even with all the action, the astounding special effects and the requisite grand finale that doesn’t drag on, the strong points of "The Amazing Spider-Man" is its insistence on crafting characters you might recognize in everyday life. Webb slows down and lets the relationships among his character develop in a credible manner.


On that note, I'd conclude by saying I was indeed amazed and believe this reboot is a sensational entry in the superhero genre that lives up to the Spider-Man name. It was indeed worth it. Oh and be sure to stay until the end credits are rolling by, there is a short preview alluding to a sequel in the distant future.

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