June 29, 2012
There were so many reasons why I was ready NOT to like this movie. First of all, the original Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire trilogy was so recent. They were done very well and did so well also box-office wise. I did not really feel the need to make this reboot at all, much less, too soon after the "Spider Man 3." I was also very leery about the choice of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider Man. Watching the trailers, I do not know what it was about Garfield's face and body build that did not seem right to be Peter Parker. Anyway, the hype surrounding this film really built up, as evidenced by the grand first day showing today in almost 100% of cinemas all over the country. Of course, it was inevitable that my whole family will still go and watch!
As it began by telling Peter Parker's high school life, you see that Director Marc Webb was trying so hard to make it different from the first Tobey Maguire movie, and this can be noticed as the movie went along. The story of how Peter was bitten by the super-spider was so far-fetched and unbelievable. The story of how Gwen and Peter became a couple seemed so rushed. The story of Peter's parents, which was what I thought would be a main theme in this movie, was hardly tackled in any significant detail at all.
Andrew Garfield painted a different Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire. Garfield made the role his own by amp-ing up the angst. I have to grant that Andrew was a better dramatic actor than Tobey. His scenes with veteran actors Martin Sheen and Sally Field (as Uncle Ben and Aunt May) were heartfelt and sincere, as with his romantic scenes with Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy). However, he seems to become too schizophrenic when he dons his Spider Man costume, as he becomes all too cocky for comfort.
Emma Stone acted very well as Gwen Stacy. She was a much better love interest than Kirsten Dunst was as MJ in the first movie. I guess it was because Gwen was written to be smart and courageous, unlike MJ who was nothing more than a mere damsel in distress. Rhys Ifans does an effective departure from his usual comedy roles to play the tragic Dr. Curt Connors. It was just too bad that the story of his descent into his Lizard madness was all too sudden to be affecting or logical.
Admittedly, there were really very awesome-looking visual effects in this movie. The cartoon-y bright multi-color palette of the Tobey version was replaced by a darker and more serious mood in this one, making it fit more into the Marvel canons. Overall though, while the effort was there but the final impact of this film could eventually be forgettable. Even the extra scene in the end credits hinting a second installment was predictable. After watching, all my three kids declared that they liked the Tobey version than this. Ultimately, we still remember the Tobey Maguire films too much for this film to take any serious roots into our memory. Let's see if the next installments of this reboot series will make a difference.