Saturday, July 8, 2017

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

Rebooting the franchise and telling a similar yet different story, the Amazing Spider-Man adds a new face to the main character and fills in an alternate backstory. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is orphaned at a young age when his parents disappear under mysterious circumstances and leave with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). Peter grows into a brilliant high school student and photographer, obsessed with his missing parents. Peter stands up for the smaller kids bullied by Flash Gordon (Chris Zylka) earning a beatdown until Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) steps in. A discovery of his father's old suitcase leads him to Oscorp and the research lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) where Gwen Stacy interns. Wandering away from the guided tour and past a security door, he stumbles into a room full of genetically modified spiders that rain down on him. Bitten by one, he experiences strange side effects like quick reflexes and adhesive fingers, leading to a violent encounter on the subway.

The enhanced abilities continue to progress as Peter researches what has happened to him even digging into his father's old notes to find a decay rate algorithm. He takes this discovery to Dr. Connors who explains the cross-species genetics he worked with Richard Parker. The doctor invites Peter to accompany him at the Oscorp tower to help with his experiments. Back at high school, Peter stands up to Flash, breaking a basketball goal with his super strength. His uncle reprimands him but he manages to awkwardly ask out Gwen Stacy. High off the potential date, Peter explores his newfound abilities while skateboarding. Caught up in his experiment with Dr. Connors, Peter is late coming home sparking an argument with Uncle Ben. He storms off into the streets. At a convenience store, Peter lets a thief escape who ends up shooting Uncle Ben.

Overcome with grief, Peter seeks out criminals that look similar to the thief. He falls into an abandoned wrestling ring and receives inspiration for his costume so that criminals won't recognize his face and develops web-slinging wrist gadgets from Oscrop superstrength cable. Gwen Stacy's father Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) investigates the masked vigilante who hunts down carjackers and evades the police. Aunt May worries for Peter going out all night and showing up with bruises. Dr. Connors's work is threatened by the Oscorp executive Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) so he rushes the human trials, testing them on himself, which leads to a mutation and turns him into the Lizard. Gwen invites Peter over for a fish meal to meet her father where he argues about the intentions of the masked vigilante and reveals his powers to Gwen before he kisses her. 

After this retread of the Spider-Man origin story, there is finally an action scene on a bridge. The Lizard attacks Ratha and Spider-Man saves the innocent bystanders whose cars were tossed off the side, including a little kid. Peter discovers that Dr. Connors is the giant Lizard and seeks him out in the sewers. Spider-Man barely escapes the attack and the Lizard learns Spider-Man's identity. Peter retreats to Gwen's room for medical treatment as their romance grows. In a pretty cool action sequence, the Lizard attack Peter at his high school and Spider-man fends off the villain, receiving a little help from Gwen. Spider-man learns the Lizard's plan is to launch the mutating substance into a cloud above the city and infect everyone. 

As Spider-Man swings through the city trying to stop the Lizard, Gwen initiates an evacuation of Oscorp tower. The police shoot Spider-Man with a taser and Captain Stacy discovers Peter is the superhero. Allowed to escape but shot in the leg, Spider-Man can't swing to Oscorp tower. Gwen tries to prevent the Lizard from stealing the cloud generating device but the villain snags. Gwen does make an antidote to the mutating substance for Spider-Man to replace in the device. With the help of New York crane operators, Spider-Man swings across the city to fight the Lizard. The effects of the final fight are pretty fun to watch as Captain Stacy helps Spider-Man fight the Lizard. In what will become a trend for this short-lived series, a Stacy dies helping foil the devious plot of the villain. With the antidote in the cloud, Connors saves Spider-Man from falling off Oscorp tower after a spectacular explosion. This film follows the same plotline as the original depiction of Spider-Man onscreen but benefits from a new romantic plotline, upgraded special effects, and a different villain. The casting wasn't bad, just different and the story manages to feel new even if it is the same. 

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