12 June 2013

Movie Review: "The Amazing Spider-Man"

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of action and violence (US) / PG: "Not Recommended for Young Children, Frightening Scenes, Violence" (Canadian Home Video Rating)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans
Released: July 3, 2012 (theaters) / November 9, 2012 (DVD/Blu-Ray and digital download)
Synopsis: Teenage social outcast Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his past, and attempting to win the heart of his high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, The Help).  A mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, who seemingly abandoned him as a child, leads Peter to his dad's former partner, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans).  The discovery of his father's secret will ultimately shape his destiny of becoming "Spider-Man," and bring him face-to-face with Connors' villainous alter ego, the Lizard.
(Adapted from the back cover of the single-disc DVD edition)

Plot: 2.5/5
Normally, I like superhero films, but I found this one to be rather lackluster.  Though the narrative is good, it felt a bit slow for a movie based on a comic book.  It's definitely very different from what Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi gave us in 2002, but, that change seems to be for the worse.  The bleakness of the ending makes things even worse.

Production Values: 2.5/5
Like any modern blockbuster, the special effects were great, and so were the action sequences and the acting.  Still, there's no escaping the lackluster feel.  What should have been a gripping, emotionally involving story ended up seeming pithy, trite, and dumb.  No amount of CGI or acting chops could rescue a movie from that. 

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Peter and Gwen passionately kiss twice.  A random couple is also seen making out. 4.25/5
  • Nudity: A woman in a bra, Peter is seen shirtless, and Gwen wears a short skirt in one scene. 4.25/5
  • Drugs: The whole movie centers around chemical-based transformations. 3.5/5
  • Language: One or two uses each of the a-word, the d-word, and the h-word.  God's name is misused twice; Jesus' is misused once.  The expression "Mother..." is left unfinished once; another time, "Mother Hubbard" is used as a euphemism. 3/5
  • Violence: Plenty of explosions, crashes through walls, and the typical superhero stuff.  Two people are killed, and blood is seen in both instances.  Spider-Man gets some rather nasty gashes on his body as a result of fighting bad guys. 2/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: The Lizard is quite creepy, and bound to scare some little kids.  The two deaths mentioned above are a bit hard to watch. 2/5
  • Other: Peter lies to his aunt and uncle, and never atones for it. 4/5
Conclusion: What a disappointment this one was.  As someone who has liked superhero stories of all kinds for years, I expected this one to be really good, especially since everyone seemed to be singing its praises; frankly, I wonder if they were watching the same movie I just finished watching.  Sure, it had its moments--I particularly liked seeing Stan Lee as an oblivious librarian--but, as a whole, it was a travesty.  If you've already seen the wall-crawler's original trilogy a million times and are looking for a new Spidey adventure, I would suggest seeking out Spider-Man: The Venom Factor, which kept me glued to my seat like few movies ever do.  Still, I'm probably "preaching to the choir," as everyone who would have wanted to see this "amazing" movie has already done so.

Score: 2.25/5

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