I will start by saying that I really did enjoy this film and there is plenty to like about it. However, at the same time there are plenty of fundamental problems with it and I think the original was the better film. I have been following the development of this movie for some time and had mixed feeling throughout. My opinion of the movie swayed into its favor when the previews began coming because it did look awesome. When we went to see it today I tried to approach it with an open mind and surprisingly walked away both delighted and disappointed.
I think the biggest problem with this film is that it was too much too soon. A reboot wasn’t necessary for the highest grossing franchise of all time and I was really interested in everything I was reading about Spiderman 4. All the main people had come back; they had John Malkovich in talks to play the villain, presumably the Vulture. It all seemed gravy until suddenly the whole thing came crashing down like a house of cards. The studio pulled the plug and decided to start from scratch. The problem had to do with the studio forcing the hand of Sam Raimi if I remember correctly. The reboot had worked in spades with the Batman franchise so why not try it with Spiderman? Well the problem is an origin story for Spiderman had already been done and everyone loved it. With Batman they had never done that. Tim Burton’s Batman started with Bruce Wayne already doing his thing as Batman so when they made Batman Begins it was a new and fresh idea. For those of us that already loved the first Spiderman franchise it is nearly impossible to sit through a movie like this without comparing and contrasting. This wasn’t a bad movie but it was an inappropriate movie, and I think its box office results reflect that because it has been a big disappointment.
Excuse this quick tangent about box office statistics but it is a hobby of mine. This movie, as far as I’m concerned, bombed despite netting $140 million in its opening week ($140 was the estimate I remember and not the actual number). That may be a lot of money, but it was not enough. Not only did it fail to outmatch any of its predecessors but it had an entire holiday week and it couldn’t even come close to what The Avengers did in only three days. I think by and large these kinds of results prove that it was a horrible decision to reboot this very successful franchise. As I said before though, this box office performance does not reflect the value of the movie, I did enjoy it.
This movie may not be as good as the original but it doesn’t have to be. It is a completely different retelling and had to do things differently to set it apart from the others. I think the story would have been considerably better if we didn’t revisit his origin story. Had the movie started with him already into his Spiderman adventure as a teenager and the origin simply been conveyed through flashbacks I think the story would have been much better. Andrew Garfield did a great job and I really like his different approach to the character. I have to go with Tobey Maguire being a better fit though and I’ll explain why. Tobey is just so much more the hopeless loser and that is what Peter Parker really was. Garfield is much too hipster cool to be considered a lonely loser. Skateboarding in his free time and getting the attention of hot girls by standing up to bullies isn’t the Peter I remember. I liked Garfield a lot though; he really captured the witty aspect of the Spiderman character. Although he does come across as a douche from time to time.
Emma Stone looked incredible in those knee high stockings she kept wearing. When she is the unlikely 17 year old high school girl high up in a mega company I thought it was really interesting how she had the shortest lab coat in the room. Stone has been building a great career and I think she was a really bright spot in this movie. Rhys Ifans was great as the Dr. Curt Connors but I think his descent into madness was a bit too quick. I thought Martin Sheen was great as Uncle Ben but his part was much too large. I think the movie was a little heavy on the sentimental moments at times. I think Sally Field is great but I have to say she is miscast in this movie and underutilized to boot. She just doesn’t look the part, and she should when following in the footsteps of Rosemary Parker. I think Denis Leary brought a lot to the movie; I grew to love him during his time on Rescue Me and just like seeing him in something now. Especially when he plays such an endearing character. As Captain Stacy he showed good judgment and heroism in the face of danger.
I don’t think this movie was “Amazing” but I did like it and would recommend anybody on the fence give it a shot. I think the movie will really relate to younger generations and serve in bonding them to the character. That’s a smart move too. Spiderman will live on forever no matter what happens because he is awesome but it can’t hurt to get proactive in making teenagers today love him. I don’t love this movie but I don’t regret taking my time to see it either. Personally, part of me hopes this movie fails miserably so studios get a message about why it is a bad idea to jump right into a reboot. I am really afraid that Warner Bros will immediately reboot the Batman franchise before the dust settles on The Dark Knight. In fact I have already heard talk of that happening and that they already have an actor in mind to play the part. It was Ryan Reynolds specifically, which has to be simply a rumor because that would be the biggest mistake of all time, he is already the Green Lantern and not so great at that.