The Amazing Spider-Man: Gizmodo Australia Community Meta-Review

It's been a little over a decade since Spiderman first swung into our cinemas while slinging box office records around the place in the process. Three movies and a musical later, we're now left with a reboot of the franchise and hopefully a chance to right some of the mistakes that were made last time. This is the Gizmodo Australia meta-review of The Amazing Spiderman!

Heed this, all who enter. Thar be spoilers yonder. Scroll with caution.

The Plot

In this iteration of Spiderman, we start with a young Peter Parker playing hide and seek with his parents. When his father discovers that there's been a break-in that may have compromised his research, he packs up young Peter and leaves him to stay with Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). Pater Parker then (Andrew Garfield) grows up into the genius high-schooler we all know and love.

Cut to high-school, and Parker is beat-up regularly by high-school bully, Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka) and idolises Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who for some reason is dressed like a sex object with killer boots, great coats and thigh-high socks for most of this movie.

Parker finds some of his dad's old work stuff including a weird looking formula in his uncle's basement. He ventures to Oscorp to find the one-armed scientist Dr Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans), an old research partner of his dad's.

Parker gets bitten by a genetically enhanced spider during his time at Oscorp and morphs into a teenager with superhuman abilities.

Parker reveals himself to Connors as the son of his old friend Richard Parker and they work together to finish his old research on growing back limbs which is meant to be for the company's ailing CEO and founder, Norman Osborne.

While all this is going on, Peter experiments with his powers and builds his own web shooters in a montage, and as a result, he begins to neglect his other responsibilities. This all comes to a head when Uncle Ben is shouting at him in the living room because he forgot to pick up Aunt May from work. Peter storms out and Ben goes looking for him, before the two converge on a convenience store that has just been robbed. Peter does nothing as the criminal escapes, even though he could have stopped him with his powers. The criminal trips over in front of Uncle Ben and his gun falls out in the process. Ben tries to wrestle the gun away from the criminal before our favourite father-figure is accidentally shot dead.

Peter is all broken up about it and goes on a hunt through the city for his uncle's killer, practising his super powers as he goes. Gwen pulls him out of his emo state by beginning a relationship with him.

Peter Parker comes out to Gwen Stacy as Spiderman which puts her in a tough spot considering that her father is the chief of Police, Captain Stacy (Denis Leary).

When Oscorp wants to use the serum he's been developing in premature human trials, Connors tests it on himself and thanks to the lizard DNA in the serum, he turns himself into The Lizard and after an attack on a bridge (thwarted by Spiderman of course) Connors moves to the sewers to hatch a plan to turn all of New York into lizards, as you do.

The Lizard eventually goes to the top of Oscorp to disperse his serum and we're treated to a final battle between the Lizard and Spiderman. Captain Stacy is killed by the Lizard in the battle and after the threat is neutralised and the Lizard is turned back into regular Curtis Connors, Captain Stacy makes Spiderman, who he now knows to be Parker, swear to stay away from Gwen.

The film ends with Gwen smiling in class as Parker whispers to her that the promises he can't keep are always the best ones.

Credits begin to roll, but not before we're treated to a mid-credits scene setting up the next movie.

The Review

Personally, I thought this movie was great. Andrew Garfield manages to walk the line between the nerdy Peter Parker character and the quippy, smart-mouthed hero well. Emma Stone was a great Gwen Stacy and her chemistry with Garfield's Parker was very believable. Their relationship was great, despite Parker's weird head jerks whenever he talks to Gwen.

It's not a large cast to deal with here but the cast members that stand out include Martin Sheen for his amazing portrayal of Uncle Ben. We don't get him saying the well-trodden "with great power, comes great responsibility" line, but we do get a rephrasing that almost sounds like it's straight out of the US Constitution. I suppose that's what eight years as President Bartlett does to you.

There are a lot of subtle nods to Sam Raimi's Spiderman movies throughout The Amazing Spider-Man, but it certainly tries to be its own movie as much as possible. Certainly if we lived in a parallel universe where Raimi's films didn't exist, this would be one of the better superhero movies out there, hands down.

The action in this movie was also fantastic. Raimi's movies always seemed to come at the action with a straight camera angle, but The Amazing Spider-Man, we're treated to a rotating camera that isn't locked off, and thanks to the dynamic movements it makes, we're puts right into the suit with Spiderman and it really hypes up a fight scene.

The pacing of the storytelling is a little slow in parts and by the end of the film, you're really feeling the two-hour plus runtime if you're easily bored by talking in your action movies.

The tech we're shown in this movie is worth noting. Doors that respond to pattern unlock instead of keypads or swipe cards, a room that projects scientific holograms for rapid scientific testing, a push-button formula maker and of course, the fantastic web-slingers.

But if there's one piece of advice I can give in this review, it's this: don't go and see this in 3D. For a film that's shot in 3D, it's really flat a lot of the time. I found myself taking off my 3D glasses in the cinema I was in to watch the talking scenes for example. There are about four or five moments where 3D is used really well, but those shots would be just as good if they were in stock-standard 2D, too.

Other than the lacklustre 3D and the pacing problems, The Amazing Spider-Man, I think, truly lives up to its name. It's a great action movie that everyone will get something out of. Even my mum liked it, which is saying something.

Here's what Nick thought:

I would go as far as to say it was better than any of the other Spiderman films. Unfortunately it follows such a close formula to the first film (because its an origin story), but I thought it was all-round a better Spiderman film (especially by comparison to Emo Spiderman 3: The Musical). 3.5/5, I would say.

Hazza agreed, adding that " it’s definitely better than Raimi’s first film and that turd of a third film."

Steve had high praise for the CGI but knows that this film is just a commercial exercise:

The CGI/stunts were blended much more seamlessly than the Raimi movies. When Tobey Maguire in costume swung away, it went straight to CGI Spider-Man and it was like night and day [but] it’s a shameless cash-grab by Columbia and Sony made only 5 years after Raimi’s movies, so they can retain the rights to the franchise instead of letting it go back to Marvel. Fox did the same thing after the X-Men trilogy ended eg. Wolverine and First Class, but both shockingly turned out okay…

Geoffrey says that if you've seen the trailers, you've seen the movie:

Its not all bad though… the scripting can be fantastically witty at times as you’ve probably seen in the trailers… but therein lies the other let down if you feel like you’ve already seen half the movie from the trailers … its because you have… even the after credits scene was in them. To make it worse there’s scenes in the trailer that didn’t even make it into the cinematic cut.

The artificial web slingers got Marcel offside:

Film was great but the whole electronic web slingers is such a stupid idea I was glad Sam Raimi got rid of it and sad to see it return. It is one thing to believe a kid gets bitten by a genetically messed up spider and yet another to think the kid who is in high school managed to create a web shooting device that defies all known laws of physics.

Everything else was pretty cool. I liked the characters and the acting, Emma Stone was good and Dennis Leary stole the show in some scenes. I just really always hate those bullshit web shooters… argh!

What did you think of The Amazing Spider-Man? Too long? Too short? Was it cast well? Did the re-treading of the Peter Parker origin story squash the eight-legged prequel that aired in theatres in 2002? Did Marvel dial down the suck by comparison to Spiderman 2 and Spiderman 3? Was the villain up to snuff? Was there a return of emo, dancing Spiderman (heaven forbid)?

Go get 'em, Tiger!

Image: Sony Pictures


Comments

    Film was great but the whole electronic web slingers is such a stupid idea I was glad Sam Raimi got rid of it and sad to see it return. It is one thing to believe a kid gets bitten by a genetically messed up spider and yet another to think the kid who is in high school managed to create a web shooting device that defies all known laws of physics.

    Everything else was pretty cool. I liked the characters and the acting, Emma Stone was good and Dennis Leary stole the show in some scenes. I just really always hate those bullshit web shooters... argh!

      I was wondering if yo can specify, which law of physics does the web swinger defy?

      As opposed to a guy who get giant and turns green when he's mad? Or an alien who gets magical powers from being in proximity to sol? Or what about 4 turtles who mutate into human turtle hybrids after coming into contact with a green ooze and are then trained to be ninjas by a human/rat hybrid who learnt how to be a ninja while he was a rat, by watching his owner practice? Or 5 people who get given super powers because they were exposed to lethal levels or cosmic radiation, while in space studying the effects of cosmic radiation on organic material. all of which are completly beleivable and obey all rules of science?

      Go hold your head under water and take a breath.

    Has to be one of the worst movies i have ever seen hands down! The acting was so so so poor and the story was just silly and a mess. For instance, Gwen, falls head over heels and in love with him in what 1? 2 days?. Then he jumps off her balcony and she isnt even shocked, she just smiles like its the ordinary thing to do..seriously? That part when spiderman is in her room and he is laying down and she's all 'i cant live like this worrying about you blah blah' and he's like lets get out of here right now and he does this akward head spasm shake thing. what the was that? lol. And she has her period? that's why she cant go downstairs? wow.. And how about the ease of purchasing the box of web. For some pretty serious hi tech stuff, looks like he bought it off ebay delivered. very poor..When Gwen's father goes to the rooftop at the end, he has about 10 officers with him yet he decides to go up by himself? Gee what a bright seargant. The guy with the cranes..'oh hey he saved my kid, get bob on the phone and get him to hook up all the cranes so he can swing on them'.. wow.. When his grandfather is shot, he starts yelling out for help, im pretty sure the smart thing to do would be is call 911?! just an idea hey. i could go on.. but i think you get the jist. No wonder they were giving away so many free tickets. Eh

      Oh oh how could i forget!! There was so story behind how he came to his new costume! I suppose he ordered that off ebay too and it just arrived..

        ... Erm, they showed him making it himself.

      Seriously?

      HAHAHAHA. You have some good points there. Some of the acting was bit 'eh'.

    Worst out for all the films for me. Even Spidey 3 was better, started to get really bored of the film halfway through.

    Hated the Lizard, wish they designed him like in the comics, with a face like a crocodile or alligator.

    Garfield was alright as Peter, but I didn't actually like the type of Peter they went with. Should have been more nerdy looking, like Tobey at the start of the original series. Seemed more like an outcast than a person disliked for his smarts.

      I think the original (olden Times) look of the Lizard was like that so they decided to go that way for the movie. I too would have preferred the Crocodile face version too.

    The Amazing Spiderman was just as amazing as this review. Save your money kids.

    "Amazing Spiderman" Poor choice of words.

    "Spider-Man". Hyphenate it.

    The film was good, but not great. They tried to play upon the more sympathetic aspects of the Lizard, whilst leaving out the most tragic part of his story (SPOILERS: In his feral rage, he eats his own son /SPOILERS)

    Emma Stone was great as Gwen. However, everyone who knows anything about Spider-Man knows what is going to happen to her in the next movie...

    Overall, the film was good, but too formulaic. You know what happens to who straight out the gate, which is partially a function of the film being a reboot of a 10 year old franchise, and partially a function of the script not taking enough risks.

    This film was bad and they should feel bad for making it. Garfield was a terrible Spiderman, I think Garfield the cat would have been better, at least wittier. Stone is the same character in every movie. I want my $20 back.

    I found Andrew Garfield's spiderman really creepy, like the type you would yell "Stranger Danger"

    The film is awesome, much better than the 1st, Garfield did a great job .4/5 easy.

    i thought it was pretty good. better than that spidy 2 & 3. the problem is everyone knows the story. kid gets bitten, he can climb walls and swing from threads. and there arent too many ways you can tell that story. the fact that he didnt shoot it off his wrists remidned me of that really old TV series . also the music was pretty awesome too. oh yeah and emma stones looong legs!
    def 4/5 from me.

    I would go as far as to say it was better than any of the other Spiderman films. Unfortunately it follows such a close formula to the first film (because its an origin story), but I thought itwas all-round a better Spiderman film (especially by comparison to Emo Spiderman 3: The Musical). 3.5/5 I would say.

    i really enjoyed it. it's definitely better than raimi's first film and that turd of a third film.

    I liked it. Had a touch of realism to it. The web slinging was more believable other then the gadget he used to doit the motiin and filming was more realistic.

    I enjoyed it, despite how unoriginal it was. I have the same problems as RLM did. Peter Parker is supposedly a genius but still cannot figure out who the giant lizard is until he sees scales on Curt Connors's neck. Serious? This guy cannot be any more the "Mad Scientist" whose field of expertise is cross-species genetics and he clearly loves lizards. Who else would it be?

    Plus I never considered it till now but a large chunk of Spider-Man's enemies are all idealistic science types who go mad, clearly Stan Lee has a thing for Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde but Green Goblin, Doc Ock and The Lizard all share this trope.

    That said, I loved the action, the CGI/stunts were blended much more seamlessly than the Raimi movies. When Tobey Maguire in costume swung away, it went straight to CGI Spider-Man and it was like night and day. I liked Andrew Garfield and his relationship with Gwen felt more legit. I think it's a good 3.5/5, I just can't separate the movie from the transparent politics. It's a shameless cash-grab by Columbia and Sony made only 5 years after Raimi's movies, so they can retain the rights to the franchise instead of letting it go back to Marvel. Fox did the same thing after the X-Men trilogy ended eg. Wolverine and First Class, but both shockingly turned out okay...

    My Spoiler Free Review: (Which if you've watched the trailers means nothing)

    After getting to Melbourne Central Hoyts for what was supposed to be an 8:45pm start at 9:12 the lights finally dimmed and the screen came to life, it was at that point i should have realised that all positive hopes id had were soon to be diminished...

    To say THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is an emotional roller coaster ride would be an understatement.

    First we must start off with some history and really the question... is the world really ready for a Spidey reboot so soon???... if your Sony Pictures the answer most profitably is yes...

    This movie isn't really aimed at newbies its aimed at those who are familiar with, but want a better back story to our favourite web slinging hero.

    The movie does two things right to begin with... Mechanical web slingers and the adorable Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy... sadly those were the only two things I loved about this movie...

    Whilst I really dug the cinematography especially the first person shots of Spidey climbing through New York... It felt like the cast (who I must add were perfectly chosen) were thrust into this weird void of teenage angst and frustration.. which isn't their fault... Andrew Garfield plays a fantastically cocky Peter Parker.

    A great man once said "With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility!" Its a real shame this movie reads director Marc Webb in all the wrong ways, now don't get me wrong I love 500 days of summer as much as the next guy, but was he really ready to direct a "blockbuster" of this magnitude???... I think not! And that's where my biggest concern arises... The Amazing Spiderman is not this years big superhero tent pole, we've got the Dark Knight Rises for that... This movie reads like an indie rom-com with a masked web slinger thrown in for good measure....

    Its not all bad though... the scripting can be fantastically witty at times as you've probably seen in the trailers... but therein lies the other let down if you feel like you've already seen half the movie from the trailers ... its because you have... even the after credits scene was in them. To make it worse there's scenes in the trailer that didn't even make it into the cinematic cut.

    This movie is designed to take Spidey back to his roots but unfortunately that means that Uncle Ben no longer parts his words of wisdom on a young Peter.. if you're into superhero films and don't mind something a little light on the action... You will lovey The Amazing Spiderman ... in fact its probably the one comic book film for this year that you'll be able to bring a date who's not normally into the genre.

    So I flicked this film 3 Dancing Spideys out of 5.

    Things i disliked even more:
    -How quickly they fell in love
    - lack of spidey sense explanation
    - How can we see so much of oscorp and not see Norman
    - How quickly Spidey gave away his identity
    - the badly hidden plot device from the trailers about spidey being altered as a kid and the spider reawakening him
    - the scenes that were in the trailers not in the movie
    - Spidey ripping off oscorps webfluid and no-one noticing it
    and finally
    the Unrealism... NO TEENAGER WOULD USE BING

      I'm a teenager, I occasionally use Bing. Get enough of their "points" and you can trade them in for Amazon gift cards, aka my secret fetish. It may be slightly inferior to Google, but it's not too bad. I also couldn't see it being an Microsoft-paid advertisement, considering Sony and Microsoft are kinda rivals and Sony's released a few Android devices.

    No wolf make it ok great but not ok good just great ok bad.

      Here, you just won one Internets.

    Geoffrey totally agree no-body in their right might would use bing. However a couple point to outline

    - The electronic slingers are along what comic book spider-man had
    - I do feel that there wasn't enough time with him exploring what powers he has nor how he knows how to make webbing etc
    - the missed out the iconic "With great power, comes great responsibility" something I was expecting to see at Ben's death
    - Allot of people are also missing what spiderman as hero is about and that his problems. Though even this film does kind fall short in going into depth.

    Overall I feel the film had a much better style than the original 3 spiderman films but lacked in keys area's that differentiate spiderman from most hero's. The other problem is that because of the short time between the last 3 and this reboot allot of the people going to see this movie will have seen this film. I'm thinking the director was trying to avoid a pure origin story and instead go for a main adventure with a brief explanation of the origin.

    I would say go see it, enjoy it for what it is

    Absolute rubbish and a total waste of money and time. Had I known it was a repeat of the storyline of the first Spidey movie, I wouldn't have bothered watching it, my fault for not reading the reviews first really. Tobey Macguire is a better Spiderman. You'll get more value out of renting the 2002 Spiderman on DVD.

    Whoa. These comments are awesome. I'm off to see it tonight and I'll combine my mind with your comments and together, we'll have a SUPERMETA REVIEW FULL OF AWESOME AND OMFGWTFBBQ!!!111!!!1ONE!!!ROFLCOPTER!!!111ELEVENTY-ONE!!11!1@@4$%^%$!

    Sorry.

    Needs more giant robots.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MxGtH-2duM

    SUPAIDAMAN!

    1. What did you think of The Amazing Spider-Man?
    It was on par with the previous trilogy, more realistic (eg. no swinging from invisible buildings), characters were great and actors were well cast. Didn't show what happened to uncle's killer though.

    2. Too long? Too short?
    Good length, not too long but not too short either

    3. Was it cast well?
    Casting was excellent.

    4. Did the re-treading of the Peter Parker origin story squash the eight-legged prequel that aired in theatres in 2002?
    There was a lot that was the same, but they added their own twist to how it all comes together, still worth watching even though the story is mostly the same with his uncle.

    5. Did Marvel dial down the suck by comparison to Spiderman 2 and Spiderman 3? Was the villain up to snuff?
    The villain was alright, could have been better though, two villains would be good and Lizardman didn't really have much ability apart from strength. Could have done one better by expanding with a lizard army when they had the chance.

    6. Was there a return of emo, dancing Spiderman (heaven forbid)?
    No. I think he did dance though, cant remember...

    Only one main negative...
    Samuel L Jackson didn't appear at the end...There's always hope isnt there?

      I'm pretty sure that Andrew Garfield as Spiderman won't be joining the cast of The Avengers 2, simply because the two companies: Marvel Studios and Columbia Pictures, wouldn't want to work together. Sad face.

        What did you think of the end credits scene?

    I for one, am appalled that I did not hear whether or not Bruce Campbell narrates this game as well, like he did with Spiderman 2....

    Awesome, i loved it for what it is, not For what it could have been. It us a fantastic "reboot" of spiderman. Yes, there were a few moments where I said "what the" but hey, it is fantasy - how and why comparing it to "real life" as some of these "comment reviews" do - is futile. This is an alternate universe. Where all crane drivers are working nights for example. Just run with it - don't question it. Here is my litmus test. The most critical of all movies i want to see my wife - she loved it. pretty simple. - dont question the improbable, just don't. Live the Spidey dream !

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