“The Amazing Spider-Man” Rebooted and Darker, Spider-Man Lands in Gotham

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

How much more Spider-Man can there be?  The adolescent super hero has comic books (for 50 years next month), a cartoon and his own Broadway musical (complete with injured actors).  Plus, we just had a series of “Spider-Man” movies starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst: “Spider-Man” (2002), “Spider-Man 2” (2004) and “Spider-Man 3” (2007).

I saw the first two Maguire Spider-Mans (or should I say “Spider-Men”?) and liked them.  Now we have a new movie called “The Amazing Spider-Man,” in 3D no less.  I know he’s a super hero and everything, but does Spidey ever get tired?  Will he ever take a vacation?  Plus, since our web shooting super hero is all about stopping crime, how about zapping two of his webs around the Regal multiplex at Union Square (850 Broadway) and the AMC Loews Kips Bay (570 Second Avenue) which are charging a premium of $4.50 to view his exploits in 3D?  This comes out to $18.00 for an adult ticket!  Talk about crooks!  No, I did not shell out the exorbitant premium to see Spider-Man do his thing in three dimensions.  Two were more than enough.

The set up, in brief, is that Peter Parker, a high school kid, becomes super hero Spider-Man after being bitten by some sort of souped up spider in a lab.  There is actually a lot more to it.  “The Amazing Spider-Man” is a story about identity and alternate identities, feelings of rejection and inadequacy.  Spider-Man is an super hero based on adolescent angst.

Apparently I am not allowed to call this new “Spider-Man” a remake.  It is a reboot.  In other words Marvel comics and Stan Lee, Spider-Man’s creator, have decided to go back to square one and start the story all over again.  From what I understand, from comic book fans, this is frequently done in the comic book world.  However, along the way the powers that be seem to have lost the fun.

This new Spider-Man is very dark.  I’m not even sure who the audience is for “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  I cannot imagine taking younger kids to see it, never mind the fact that it comes in at a whopping 136 minutes.  On the other hand, it is well made and has a top notch cast.  Andrew Garfield, who I just saw on Broadway in the amazing revival of “Death of a Salesman,” makes for a very good angst ridden Peter Parker/Spider-Man.  Emma Stone makes for a fine love interest as Gwen Stacy.  Martin Sheen and Sally Field are fine as Parker’s uncle and aunt.

The whole thing just needed a lighter touch.  As I watched this new Spider-Man, I kept comparing it to the two out of three Maguire “Spider-Man” movies that I did see and found that, while they veered a bit on the dark side, they also retained much of the comic book fun.

The Amazing Spider-Man, director Marc Webb, 2012

Columbia Pictures, 136 minutes, PG-13


About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on July 11, 2012, in New and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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