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Monday, July 9, 2012

Movie Review: Amazing Spider-Man

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM

There will be spoilers in this review. You have been warned.

I saw the Amazing Spider-Man last week, so before I start my review I want to get this out of the way: It has only been five years since Spider-Man 3 was in theaters, so I do not think there needed to be a reboot of the franchise. The Lizard's portion of the plot could have remained the same, since the old franchise was already teasing us with appearances of Curt Conners. I am weary of having another origin story, because Spider-Man's origin is one of the most well-known origins in comics.

The movie was over two hours, but it seemed shorter than that. This is because they tried to pack too much into what was already a long movie. It would have been better to trim some of the subplots and focus more on the main story. As it was, some major events were not given the attention they needed, and the movie suffered for it. Perhaps the Gwen Stacy romance could have been hinted at but delayed until AMS 2, when the Green Goblin could show up and then kill her at the end of the next movie. Then more time could have been spent on the main plot.

The movie opens with Richard Parker freaking out and leaving little Peter with his aunt and uncle, taking off with his wife to hide some documents from an unrevealed evil force. We see a flash on a computer screen that the Parkers died in a plane crash, but that is so short that it is easy to miss that they were even dead at all - viewers could think that the Parkers abandoned their child.

The deaths of the Parkers was very similar to an excellent story in in Ultimate Spider-Man #33-39, or Volume 6 of the trade paperbacks collecting the series. In that story, the Parkers were killed as a result of working on what would become the Venom symbiote. (That is complicated enough that I will not get into it here. The symbiote's origin was retroactively rewritten several years after that story in Ultimate Origins - a rewrite that did not need to happen and was vastly inferior to the original story.)

Because the arc that introduced Venom was such a good story (though it was rewritten to include the Lizard rather than Venom) I was very disappointed that Amazing Spider-Man did not explore the deaths of the Parkers much more deeply and explain exactly what happened with that plane crash. Did Oscorp crash an entire passenger jet and murder hundreds of people just to get rid of the Parkers? That would have added a real sense of dread to what Osborn is capable of for the next movie, especially when he gets Goblin powers.

If I have a complaint, it would be that Amazing Spider-Man does not seem to take place in the same universe as the rest of the Marvel movies. The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America all took place in the same universe, so I was hoping Samuel L. Jackson would show up as Nick Fury in an after-the-credits scene. No such luck.

There are other things I could nitpick, such as the crane scene being very corny and Spider-Man's new origin allowing for a literal army of Spider-Men. Making Spider-Man responsible for the creation of the Lizard and feeling responsible for stopping him was excellent and made his motivation even stronger. Spider-Man was much more active with his quips, which was a welcome addition. Overall, this was a very good movie - though not quite as good as the Avengers.

Final Grade: B+

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