canadian release date: 3-july-2012
writer: james vanderbilt, alan sargent
director: marc webb
starring: andrew garfield, emma stone, rhys ifans, dennis leary, sally fields, michael sheen
every so often, the staff here at ...prettymuchamovie decides to let our hair down and have a night on the town. usually, this amounts to a night at the local cinema. somewhat recently we took in The Amazing Spider-Man. It only seemed fitting that we return from our summer hiatus with this cinema report, as marvel comics celebrates 50 years of spider-man this month.
Jump with us to feel like you're in the seat two rows ahead!
so we start off with some really high-tech looking webs and shit, just so you know this movie is about spiders, and men, and that it's modern, and new!
actual actors show up eventually, and it's revealed that this is young peter and his father. peter happens in to his father's study, and it's been ransacked, apparently! quelle dommage! this leads richard parker to freak out, erase a bunch of gnarly looking equations from a blackboard WITH A SPIDER ON IT,
gather up a bunch of SPIDER-related science doohickies and important looking papers before grabbing petey up and taking off to aunt may and uncle ben's - you can figure out how this plays out.
fast forward, and petey's at the midtown science high school (we never had a science high school where i grew up). a larger popular boy is teasing a smaller boy in the opening scene here, and peter interjects. in this scene we meet both flash (the cool bully) and gwen (who eyes peter up from the background)
back home, a flood has struck, and uncle ben lassos peter into cleaning out the basement so more important things aren't wrecked. peter discovers a bag that was his father's, and cause he's a curious boy you see, decides it must have importance. eventually some papers are discovered in a secret compartment of the bag. it appears to be that file that richard tucked away all those years ago. INTRIGUE!
anyway, it turns out richard was working with doc connors on some really secretive stuff. peter decides to investigate further.
he sneaks his way into oscorp masquerading as a student intern during orientation of a new crop. he manages to snag a yet-to-arrive intern's badge (i can't remember the name and can't be asked to go beyond the first page of google) to gain access to said orientation. gwen catches him fairly early into his play, but is willing to let it slide, 'cause she's good like that. to repay her kindness, peter sneaks off to snoop.
eventually, peter finds his way into a lab specializing in 'bio-cable'… AND IT'S FULL OF SPIDERS. for some reason the kid goes inside, and then the spinning, whirling discs of SPIDERS speed up, and a bunch falls on him. Swerve though. He's not bitten…yet! So any way, dude walks back to the group, all non-chalant, but gwen's there. she's pretty peeved he took off, but peter can't be asked to care… CAUSE A SPIDER JUST BIT HIM. he doesn't know though. whoa, i think i get the jist of this movie now.
Later that evening, as he's sleeping on the subway in new york (!! i won't even sleep on the subway here.)
back home, he eats pretty much everything in the kitchen, and then runs upstairs to discover his spider bite (with attached web) he naturally decides to tell no one and store the now deceased (?) spider away as a keep sake. spider fun!
there's a bunch of googling of doc connors, cables and whatnot before uncle ben shows up.
the next day, peter shows up at connors' house (wearing his dad's glasses, so the doc knows who he is) to give him the equation he's sought his whole life! happiness abounds! the doctor is being manipulated into finding a cure for the dying norman osborn, you see, and this means he might be able to actually do so.
so now, at school? the next day? or later that day? peter is hanging out in the stands in gym, and eventually flash decides to start shit with him, y'know, 'cause of earlier. this ends with peter owning him on the basketball court and smashing the backboard as per every 90s basketball video game there is, was and ever will be. it's extreme! this of course leads to detention and disciplinary action, which means uncle ben has to show up and he's had to change his shift at work. ben's pretty angry, and peter has to pick up aunt may after work as a result of ben's shift change and peter's silliness. there's a cute exchange between the parkers (maybe the parkers? who's the relation to peter? ben? is ben richard parker's brother? i think so.) and gwen about her being on peter's computer. eventually this leads to some cute flirting, and hey - they've decided to go on a date… even cuter? well no, what's cuter is after when peter decides to go skateboard/practice gymnastics, and generally rock out... at the docks? in an abandoned warehouse?
that was all a montage anyway, killing time before he's off to go see doc connors again and help him finish up the formula that corresponds with that fancy equation from earlier. uncle ben calls, but peter is a forgetful, selfish, teenage prick and ignores the call.
later that night, peter returns home to an angry uncle ben. they have a bit of a blow up, there's some talk about responsibilities, and powers and family, y'know… basically they don't want to do the whole "with great power…" speech, but did? and it shows. any who, peter storms off, smashing the door in the process. ben and aunt may are distressed, and ben goes after him.
we cut back to peter, and he's in some dingy convenience grocer attempting to purchase a small amount of milk. he happens to be 2 cents short, and attempts to use the take a penny leave a penny jar. this enrages the clerk who starts shouting about "store policy" and "ten dollar minimum" business. peter turns around to leave, and the next customer in line promptly robs the clerk and register, tossing peter his milk. the clerk asks peter why he didn't stop the thief, and he responds that it's "not [his] policy."
we cut to ben, who is down the street a bit. he hears the shouting, and eventually the robber trips in front of him, gun spilling out on the sidewalk. ben tries to do the right thing, y'know, heading toward a gunshot and trying to grab the gun. hey, he's noble, right? no one said he was smart. a struggle ensues and ben is shot. peter hears this and goes to investigate, finding uncle ben (not a drop of blood in sight) dying on the side walk.
later peter assists police in doing a sketch of the murderer/robber during investigation. he recognizes the assailant as the man he didn't stop at the store and takes a copy of the sketch for himself. police inform him in the process that he has a star tattoo on his left wrist. conveniently, this was shown to us, the viewer, during the robbery scene.
That night, Peter goes out looking for uncle ben's killer. he comes across some guys who he thinks may look like him and begins to rough him up. they eventually chase him off, and as he makes his escape, one of them shouts after him "i know what you look like, i'll find you!" thus is the inception of ski-mask peter as proto-spider-man. gradually we got a montage of peter roughing up long, blonde-haired hooligans (none of whom have star tattoos) and researching oscorp's biocable division. SURPRISE! that's what all those SPIDERS where there for previously. you know, the ones that fell on him, resulting in one biting in him resulting in his super powers? any way, spider web is strong. much of it clumped together is super strong. the montage continues with peter manufacturing web cartridges and shooters, as well as fashioning his iconic SPIDERsuit from bobsledding outfits (or maybe lycra morphsuits ala green man?) and some cut up sunglasses. yea. seriously.
this is all revealed in a snarky and funny car robbery foiling by no-longer proto-spider-man, in full suit, and with full quip-mode engaged.
this spider-man debut is a wee bit similar to the original, action wise (okay, the raimi, not the original) but looks significantly better. nice wire work.
so, the next day after the montage, it's time for peter and gwen's date - their date is dinner at her house? her mom is making some good fish? any way, peter shows up at her window, on the fire escape, which is not suspicious in any ways at all. they're having some flirty teen talk, but captain stacey shows up, and well. things get awkward. but then hey, they get more awkard…er as dinner begins. after meeting the whole stacey clan, we're tossed into the middle of a discussion between peter and the captain about spider-man. is he a hero? or a vigilante? things get heated. the captain thinks he's just a punk in a mask. i think the captain is well… a little behind. let's break it down, a convenience store is robbed and an elderly man shot and killed on the street in an attempt to stop the perpetrator. shortly thereafter, a masked vigilante starts beating up thugs that look like the potential criminal? nope. no relation. anyway, this leads to peter leaving dinner to go upstairs and "get some fresh air"… upstairs is the roof, by the way. fuckin' new york. eventually gwen chases him up, and peter tells her something is troubling him. something he doesn't know how to tell her. there's some back and forth and stuttering, and blah blah before gwen gets frustrated and turns away, peter proceeds to impede her retreat with his fancy spider web shooters, thus revealing his secret identity and creating the cliched cinematic superhero kiss we've come to expect from the ol' webhead.
this romanticism is quickly truncated though as, police flood to a nearby bridge in response to some crazy shit that's going on - with the lizard. you see, there was a bunch of fascinating shit happening with him at the same time… remember all the pressure on him to cure osborne? well that, along with his desire to grow his arm back, and the fact his boss, dr. rahta was going to test the potentially harmful stuff on veterans has lead to him taking the serum he concocted. oddly this leads to him turning into a hulking lizard creature not unlike the koopa's from the 90s super mario bros. movie. he decides he most go tell the doctor or something, and then goes out and ends up enjoying destroying things, which brings about the kerfuffle at the bridge.
anyway, peter's got to go, cause the lizard (but not lizard-man?) is on the bridge, flinging cars all over the place, casting buses aloft, you name it. shit has basically hit the fan with what people could only assume is a humanoid dinosaur from a parallel universe tearing apart present day wherever-this-bridge-in-new-york-is. here spider-man and the lizard have their first showdown, which is admittedly pretty cool, but less cool looking due to an abundance of cg. spider-man eventually has to retreat from the fight however to save multiple precariously perched cars, the last of which has a little boy trapped inside and is slowly teetering over the edge. spider-man climbs into the car and attempts to coax the little boy out, but he's scared. eventually peter offers up his mask to the boy which provides courage. it's pretty adorable. there are a few hairy moments, but eventually the boy is returned to his father, and manhattan finally meets spider-man on a larger scale (news, etc have come out to cover whatever's going on) as Spider-Man swings away.
the next day, curiosity (the emotion, not the rover - that would be fucking cool) brings peter to oscorp to see connors. over the course of a VERY short conversation (there's no one there, connors sent them all home) peter manages to see some scales on his neck and quickly ascertain the sum of 1 and 1. he's quickly shuffled off by connors but uses to opportunity (another rover) to go see captain stacey and tell him that he better look into this connors guy. he shoos peter away, but relents once he's gone and puts a grunt on the task of digging up info on connors.
later, after reading about a cash reward for pictures of the lizard (yeah, here comes a bit of a clunky addition of the bugle. peter needs a reason to chase down the lizard?) spider-man heads into the sewers and constructs a pretty elaborate SPIDERweb (!!) that runs the expanses of the sewers.
hen he rigs his camera up with some web on the wall (presumably with a timer or summat?) and sits in the middle, playing block breaker.
eventually aunt may calls, asking him to bring home milk. then, the webs start to vibrate, and something is coming towards him - this eventually spirals into a kind of cool multi-level fight scene between spider-man and the lizard in which spider-man gets pretty messed up. while sustaining some pretty serious cuts, he makes it away, but not without his camera, which has his name on it - which i'm pretty sure is a reference to that simpsons episode with the well.
peter manages to depart the sewer without turning emo and swooping his hair (ala tobey-spidey), then limps makes his way back to gwen's where she tends to his wounds and fends off her dad, keeping him out of the bedroom because she has "lady problems". again, dude - you're a cop. your daughter's boyfriend was just in the room, what, yesterday? c'mon dude. basic follow-ups trump sexist sterotyping of your own children. but that was likely there as humour - you know, to lighten the mood after we saw peter get hacked to shit by lizard claws. any way, the danger of all this is starting to sink in, it seems.
peter returns home later, but he forgot to get milk. aunt may is worried about him.
the next day at school, 'cause that's totally where peter should be, the lizard shows up and pretty much tears that shit apart in an attempt to find and kill peter. eventually gwen is caught in the interspecies crossfire - peter breaks a window, tells her he's going to throw her out said window, and then does so, webbing her up to hang peacefully. peter and the lizard then duke it out for a brief period longer before the police arrive and the lizard is forced to retreat.
some time later, peter, who is back in a cleaned up suit calls gwen and asks her to use her access to oscorp to sneak in and develop an antidote to connors' serum. he then proceeds himself to follow the lizard deep into the sewers again, before coming upon his lair/lab. here peter sifts about throughout the bits of SCIENCE before finding some sort of video log about science (or VLOGAS as i call them). in it, connors reveals his plan (oooh, creative take on this whole "tell the hero your plan thing) while detailing scientific method and his hypothesis or some shit. essentially it seems that he's going to use an apparatus on top of oscorp (which was totally mentioned far earlier in the film, peter's parents may even have been involved) to disperse a giant cloud of oxidized lizard gas, or whatever the shit that stuff is to transform the city (and later presumably the world) into lizard people like himself, because he's better than us all and the final solution blah blah blah league of shadows blah (or has everyone already forgotten the microwave emitter from batman begins?). peter calls gwen to tell her to get the hell out of there, as shit is 'bout to hit the fan, but she refuses on account of the antidote and whatnot but has the smarts to pull the fire alarm or summat. i like this gwen. she's smart and fends for herself and contributes to the story. nice. basically, she definitely isn't, y'know, her. no, not her,
(her. oh, spoiler alert, i guess.)
peter begins booking it across the city to make it to oscorp to save everyone, but the cops are having none of that, and a helicopter shoots a tazer-dart-sticky-thing at him, taking him down. he's knocked unconcious for a period, but spider-sense kicks in right as captain stacey is unmasking him. some acrobatics knock down the captain and web up the faces of the other cops, but a standoff occurs between captain stacey and peter wherein spider-man's identity and true character are revealed, and captain stacey allows peter to go. again though, cops are spoil-sports, and as peter's getting away, remasked and web-slinging, some dick cop shoots him in the leg.
so spider-man is injured, and hobbling his way sloppily across the city, and construction workers are listening along on police scanners and watching the scene unfold. once of the construction workers is a crane operator - he's also the father of the kid spidey pulled out of the car on the bridge. he rallies up other crane operators to create sort of a jungle gym of cranes for peter to shoot across in a much easier fashion. it's hokey, but hey, it's better than the subway scene in that second raimi movie.
peter runs to captain stacy, but it's pretty much too late. the cap likes who peter is, and knows he'll continue being a hero so he makes him promise to keep gwen out of it, and to stay away from her. peter agrees, and doesn't see gwen until the funeral some time later, and which point she just catches a glimpse of him in the distance. some time later, he goes to tell her it's over, and she quickly figures out that her dad is behind all of this "he made you promise, didn't he," she asks him. y'know, cause she's smart.
the next day at school, peter's late for class (PROBABLY BECAUSE OF SPIDER THINGS?!) and the teacher calls him on his crap. he tells the teacher he won't be late again, and the teacher tells him not to make promises he can't keep. peter leans to gwen and whispers "but those are the best kind". We then cut to a scene of spider-man swinging in action to a crime at night.
some credits roll, and there's a thing that alludes to the next movie, but hey - you should watch that part yourself. we can't do everything for you.
hey, this was almost a pretty good movie. i mean, it had no real weight or anything…but it definitely filled my quota of summer movies involving cross generational conflicts including teens and wacky scientists!
the actors stood in the right places, swung at the right times and said the right things, it was a bit fluffy, like a summer blockbuster, but hey - spider-man is actually kind of cool in this one, and there aren't any power rangers yet. what more can a fan really ask for? the 3d was pretty neat, the story was at least closer to the original comics and no major changes were made. yes, it was a bit like watching a 2 hour saturday morning cartoon, but maybe there's room in the zeitgeist for modernized versions of those any way.