First things first – don’t see this movie in 3D. I hate so much that almost every film nowadays is in 3D. This film doesn’t need it, and you shouldn’t have to pay for it. 3D is a cheap marketing gimmick that Hollywood has whored out to. This film is awesome all on its own.
Going in to the first film of the original series, I had very high expectations. It was a Spider-Man movie, after all, and I had had a little bit of love for the character. Sadly, I was incredibly disappointed. The dialogue was awful, the effects were crappy, and the villain looked so bad that I laughed every time that he was on screen. It was a corny and silly and outright ridiculous movie.
You won’t find any of those problems here. This film is, quite simply, better than the first film of the original series in every conceivable way. This is what a Spider-Man film should be. But let’s take a closer look.
The story is of Spider-Man’s beginning. He is starting out as a superhero, and is learning who he is. The film opens with his parents leaving him with his aunt and uncle, and leaving, obviously afraid. They are killed, and Peter grows up with his aunt and uncle. Through a series of events, he finds himself at Oscorp, and winds up being bitten by a genetically mutated spider. This begins his transformation into Spider-Man. Meanwhile, an algorithm that Peter finds that his father made helps Dr. Curt Connors find his own inner monster.
So, the good stuff first. The first thing to talk about is the dialogue. This movie’s dialogue and character drama flowed so much better than the first film of the original series. It helped that Tobey MacGuire wasn’t playing the lead role. Andrew Garfield did his role incredibly well. He played Parker as an awkward young man, who isn’t some born hero, but just a guy. And when he finds himself with powers, he doesn’t just immediately become a hero.
Now, there are a lot of plot points that follow the original film. Uncle Ben getting murdered, Parker hunting for the murderer, but unlike in the original film, he never finds the man. And the plot is a lot better handled in this film. The original film was well-paced, and the story wasn’t bad, but the awful dialogue and the one-dimensional characters like Mary Jane Watson were just tedious and boring. This film suffered from none of that.
Another improvement was the romance. In keeping with the original comic, Peter isn’t with Mary Jane, but instead begins a relationship with Gwen Stacey. Their relationship is believable, and very hard. There is genuinely compelling drama when Stacey doesn’t want to keep in that relationship because she is afraid (after finding out his secret) of Parker dying, like her father, who is a police captain. Stacey isn’t just a tease romance like Mary Jane was in the original films. She has a lot of personality, and is pretty tough.
But by far the best improvements of this film, as opposed to the other film were the fight sequences, and the villain. This film had The Lizard as the villain. His look was amazing. This villain was genuinely intimidating. Unlike Green Goblin from the other film, who was a joke. Everything from his look, to his voice-work, you were afraid of this guy. And the fight scenes in this movie were so epic.
Not just with Lizard, either. Spider-Man fighting it out with random thugs, his first car-thief, and the battles with Lizard were just great. For one thing, they were a LOT faster than the fights in the other film. The pace of these fights was so fast that there were times that you didn’t want to blink. For some movies, that’s a bad thing, but in a film about Spider-Man, that’s just perfect. This is a guy who can move at split-second reaction. He can shoot web and jump around. You want a fight with him to be unbelievably fast and acrobatic. You expect the enemies of this character to be annoyed fighting him, because catching him is like trying to catch a frog with your bare hands.
So, with all this great stuff, are there problems? Well, yes, there are a few. This is really nit-picking, but they are worth mentioning. The first problem is that the Lizard is cool, and the fights with him are awesome, but it is a little bit glossed over in a way. You do get into Connors’ head, but it could have been given a little more time. Of course, the focus is kept on Parker and his adventures, as it should be. So that really is a nit-pick.
Another problem is that the man working for Norman Osbourne, who is obviously a villain, is a very stereotypical Middle Eastern man. Oh, and another one – they had ANOTHER scene with an American flag shoe-horned in there! That got annoying by the third of the original Spider-Man movies. Here, it was absolutely unnecessary, and kind of uncomfortable.
But to be honest, that is all just nit-picking. There is nothing staggeringly wrong with this film. It’s definitely a more serious Spider-Man movie. We all need to thank The Dark Knight for showing that audiences want a more serious superhero movie. And we got it in this film. It is more serious than the original film, it is better acted and better scripted. It flows organically, unlike the completely surreal and cartoon-y nature of the other movie. The villain and hero are much better. It is an overall improvement in every way.
Fans of this hero, or superhero films in general won’t be disappointed.
Final Verdict: 8 out of 10