The Amazing Spider-Man Post

July 8, 2012

Okay, so, as previously noted, Spider-Man is kinda my thing. I'm still being pretty tentative about getting back into 616* Spider-Books, though, since Amazing Spider-Man broke my heart with a shitty Gwen Stacy-fucked-Norman-Osborne plot some years back. This is a love-hate cycle I have: Marvel does awesome things, I open my fangirl heart to them again, and then they punch me in it. Heart-bruises, particularly of the Peter Parker induced variety, take time to heal, as we all know.

Cover for Avenging Spider-Man #9 by Terry and Rachel Dodson

But like I say, I've been really enjoying Avenging Spider-Man, which is the fun, ridiculous Spidey team-up book right now. So looking forward to this month's, which starts a 2-part arc with the shiny new Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, written by deConnick and drawn by the Dodsons. Hell yes. [Side note: the first issue of Carol's solo book comes in a week or two eeee! OMG!] Plus, the Spider-Men event has now had its first two issues, and I'm rather loving it.

Teaser in the back of Spider-Men #1 by Bendis and Pichelli
Miles is currently going through that incredibly emo phase that Pete did at first. You know, family drama, getting used tot he powers, etc, so it's cool to see him hooking up with an older, arguably wiser Pete for some cross-verse shenanigans. For one, he gets a chance to be kind of silly. For another, their reactions to each other are so far priceless.

Okay, so why am I telling you this if I'm supposed to be talking about the movie? Because I feel like The Amazing Spider-Man, the movie, is probably not as great as I thought it was, so prefacing this with me doing some general Spidey fangirling is appropriate. How far can you trust my recommendation that you see this film? Well, that far. But for what it's worth, I'm sure it's at least worth the price of a matinee--especially if you can see it in 3D, which I hardly ever say, but really.

So I'm just going to tell you the stuff that I'm positive was super awesome about it, as in not just the result of my being a big enough fangirl to actually have a Spider-Man tattoo. (Yes, you can see it if you want, it's just on my back, but mind the blinding whiteness.) 

Awesome thing #1: Andrew Garfield. You hate to do the comparison, but it's inevitable so I'll just get it over with. I'm not a Tobey Maguire fan anyhow, but thanks to his absurd attempts at Pete!Emo, the original Spider-Man wasn't just funny intentionally, but unintentionally. Other than his horrible attempts at crying and being serious, he was a pretty capable Pete, and definitely dorky enough. But Garfield has something Maguire couldn't pull off: the right amounts of emo, nerdery, self-deprecation, and adorable earnestness. I actually bought him as the kind of kid (in spite him being barely younger than me in real life) who could put on a mask and make ridiculous wisecracks at a supervillain while getting his ass kicked. I totally teared up a few times. And then I laughed my ass off. A lifetime of being a Spidey fan--if what I hear is true--did good by this one. He's officially my Pete.

Awesome thing #2: Emma Stone. Goddamn, how awesome was Gwen Stacy? Stone not only holds her own on screen (and against The Lizard...), but she outshines everyone at many points. They went to great lengths to call up the soul of Gwen Stacy--which those of us who have seen it recently maligned found relieving, for the record--and get her just right when they updated her. Even her clothes echoed old school, self-reliant, oh-god-I'm-in-love-with-her-too Gwen. She pulled off smart and capable teenager with just enough compassion and age-appropriate absurdity to make it utterly believable. Again, one hates to do the comparisons, but if they'd done to her what they did to MJ in the first movies, I would've cried. (Because yes, I love Mary Jane too. So much. And god. damn.)

And these two together, yeah. So awkward and sweet and believable. And so much chemistry, even if I didn't know they were an actual thing, that would've sold me. Seriously, watch interviews with these two. It's absurdly cute. 

Awesome thing #3: Rhys Ifans as Doc Connors. I've always been a big fan of Curt Connors since some of the 60s and 70s books I have from my dad's collection are Lizard-centric. I liked what they did with his Jekyll and Hyde issues with the serum, I like how they kept Oscorp on the backburner, and I like how, in spite of being a cheesy 60s comic book plot, it really managed to hold to the Marvel Comics tradition of the villain being a real, multifaceted character. They had it easier with The Avengers since the plot was much more modern, but here they went full out Stan Lee cheese at times. Good stuff, but yeah. Needs a certain cast of characters and actors to pull it off. 

Awesome thing #4: Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy. Speaking of cheese--well, no spoilers, but at the end there, it starts to feel like a big old plate full of nachos. I'll just say that. BUT, I could tell even from the trailers that I was going to enjoy Leary in this role, and what do you know, I did. It's not complicated or all that interesting, I guess--he's just Captain Stacy. But I enjoyed him. Especially at dinner with Pete. Heh.

Awesome thing #5: The updates to the backstory. Of course some things simply must remain the same, but I liked that they shifted the focus more to Peter's past and his parents in this one. The changes they made to the typical Uncle Ben/Aunt May stuff in particular were both streamlining and far more believable in the best traditions of a reboot. Think the Season One graphic novels I was on about last time I did a comics post. There's nothing new or original to be had here. But what is there is really well pulled off, for sure.

So like I say, chock full o cheese in the best Stan Lee tradition, but also strangely believable in a way we've not really seen from a Spider-Man movie before. There are things that bugged me--like, wow, so many white people, even in terms of just extras--NYPD, even. And while I do think it was a little too soon to do a reboot, I get why they did it: it's Spidey's 50th this summer, so how could they resist? The point is that they did it one better. I'm probably gonna go again, not gonna lie. I might even cry the second time around, too.

Also: best Stan Lee Cameo yet. Trufax.

Do I wish it coulda been Miles? Yeah, actually, I do, in spite of my undying love for Peter Parker. But Miles's first arc is only just wrapping up, so there's just no way. Maybe next time, right?

*Earth 616 = standard marvel universe. Ultimate = Earth 1610. It's a multiverse thing. Don't bother with it, seriously, it's not worth the trouble.

J.A. Rock said...

For real. Loved the Garfield/Stone pairing. Why did we need a reboot? people ask. So that Andrew Garfield could be Spider-Man.

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