Just wanted to let you know that the giveaway I've been teasing... it goes live before this week is out.
By his own admission, Marvel creator Stan Lee claims Spider-Man as his “favorite.” He has built an empire with his comic book production company – one that is perhaps more popular today than at its conception. This ten-year old film tells the story of Peter Parker and his quest to live up to the great responsibility that comes with his powers.
If anyone tells you Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is ordinary... they were lying. Or so he tells us. Every morning he wakes just hoping to get through the day. A bookworm with a scientific mind, Peter never fails to be late for his bus every single morning. Taken in by his aunt and uncle (Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson) following the deaths of his parents, Peter takes his tardiness in stride and chases the bus each time while his fellow classmates giggle and poke fun at him. His only real friend is Harry Osborn (James Franco), a wealthy young man whose father recently put him in public school instead of the private education he is used to. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, Peter and Harry become fast friends but jealousy subtly builds while Harry stands on the sidelines watching as his business-minded scientist father (Willem Dafoe) shows a greater interest in the promise Peter shows than he does his own son. Everything is about to change with one school field trip.
Bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter suddenly transforms into a different person. He now has a well-built physique, develops a sense of when there is impending danger, he can scale walls and entrap people with webs. But with his newfound super powers comes a price. His beloved uncle is killed in a random act of violence leaving Peter distraught. Time heals his wounds and he is able to move ahead… except for making a move on the red-head girl he has been crushing on since fifth grade, Mary-Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). When Harry begins dating the aspiring actress, Peter steps aside but never stops silently protecting “MJ” even as a new enemy terrifies the people of New York.
With the news that a new Spider-Man trilogy was being brought to the big screen, I knew I’d have to see it considering billing was shared by the effervescent Emma Stone. Once reviews started popping up on The Amazing Spider-Man, I figured it’d be cool to watch the trilogy where it all started – and I didn’t think it would make a difference in my opinion of the franchise seeking the attentions of a new generation. If you think it odd that I hadn’t seen this before now, ten years ago, I wasn’t even paying attention to super heroes let alone gushing over them – no, I was more “into” Jane Austen at the time. Now I’ve discovered them, I suspect there is no going back. Though I must disrespectfully disagree with Stan Lee, this is still a fun ride.
Acting in this blockbuster is quite impressive. Considering I already liked its leading lady going into this, I naturally relished the idea of seeing her in another starring role while Tobey made me see him differently. I am neutral about him as an actor but I never did fall for his on-screen personas – or the few I’ve seen, as I have other actors. Here he gives us a Peter that is bullied, trying to make it through college but also content to stand in the shadows of everyone even as he finds his place doing great things. His “need” for a spotlight is diminished by the feeling he gets in saving the lives of innocents. Like Captain America, Peter is the all-American “good guy” when we meet him – his need for revenge may be the adrenaline he first runs off but in time, he feels the responsibility to protect the streets as something he feels privileged to do. And, I liked that about him. Every other name in the cast was good, particularly Willem as the conflicted Osborn.
The writing isn’t the most brilliant as far too much of the movie is so silly it is hard to take it seriously. From the silly costumes to the sometimes painfully horrible special effects, it is amazing the difference a mere ten years makes in the business of filmmaking. What the script does boast is some decent humor but the secret dating angle and love triangle has been seen before and I found some of the styles in which they filmed this unusually annoying. Despite it all, I thought there were some interesting dynamics and of course, there is the adorable “kiss” that has been touted as being one of the most inventive in movies. Having seen this now, I don’t see myself being swayed one way or the other in regards to the re-boot though I suspect its best asset – where I am concerned, will be its modern filmmaking.
(What to know: Rated PG13 for some violence and “terrifying” situations. Spider-Man has to save more than one life – some from fire, others from falling to their deaths or being mugged. MJ dresses suggestively more than once and is nearly assaulted by a group of four or five guys before being rescued. She also comes from a home where her father belittles her – their fighting is overheard by Peter. There is little profanity.)