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    The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

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    Paeter
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    The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on July 3rd 2012, 5:45 pm

    I'm a big comic book nerd. I loved the original Spider-Man trilogy (even most of the third one) and own almost all of the Ultimate Spider-Man comic books in either trade paperback or single issue format. When I heard Sam Raimi and company were done making their Spider-Man flicks, I figured the property would eventually be re-launched. But I didn't think it would happen so soon. And even though the trailers I saw looked very promising, I sat down to watch The Amazing Spider-Man ready to be disappointed, but still hopeful.

    The movie re-tells Spider-Man's origin story, but with a few details re-worked to keep things fresh. Additionally, a mystery involving Peter Parker's parents (say that five times fast) lies at the foundation of this new movie franchise. The movie pulls a number of concepts from Marvel's "Ultimate" version of Spider-Man. (The Marvel "Ultimate" universe is an alternate version of their main universe that has been in publication for over 10 years.) Gwen Stacy is Peter's love interest, with no signs of Mary Jane anywhere. And instead of J. Jonah Jameson barking at Peter, Gwen's father, a police Captain, serves as an antagonist for both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Peter is also a science wiz and uses mechanical web-shooters that he designed himself, rather than shooting organic webbing from out of his body.

    There is still plenty of room for, and even foreshadowing of, the Daily Bugle, Norman Osborne and other characters and ideas that movie fans would recognize, but the producers seem to be holding those things on the back burner for now. The changes and alternate ideas all still work, and are just as faithful to Spider-Man's comic book roots as the original trilogy. This film simply emphasizes different portions of Spider-Man lore.

    The story is also much more grounded in emotional drama than any of the previous films. And in general, the performances are stronger, and taken more seriously. It's not that the movie is emotionally "dark", even though it is often more dark visually. But it does give time and effort to presenting characters worth caring about. As a result I found myself welling up with tears more than once. The film offers far more quality drama than we have a right to expect from this film genre, and hopefully it will raise the bar in this area for future superhero movies.

    The downside of grounding the movie so well is ending up with a literally "grounded" Spider-Man movie. Although the CGI Spider-Man looks better than ever, the acrobatic action never really opens up and cuts loose when compared to any of the previous films. Make no mistake, there is some great action in this movie. But after three movies of crazy, impossibly wild Spider-Man action, this Spider-Man doesn't seem to jump as high or dodge as skillfully as the Spider-Man we're used to at the movies.

    We also don't see Spider-Man in full costume until nearly an hour into this two hour and fifteen minute flick. And even in the second half there are multiple "Spider-Man scenes" in which Peter is not in costume. So be prepared to see the suit less than you're used to, and know that the action will also not be as big as it has been previously.

    In terms of worthwhile spiritual or moral themes, you of course have the classic "responsibility" theme. Uncle Ben tells Peter that his father believed everyone has a moral responsibility to help others if they are able to. And we see Peter switch from an attitude seeking revenge to one seeking to help those in need. It's more subtle than it could or maybe should have been, but the theme is there.

    Another moment that blipped on my philosophical radar was when Aunt May, in an effort to encourage Peter to go after a girl he doesn't think he's "good for", tells Peter that "if there is one thing you are, it's good." While relatively speaking this may be true, Peter also selfishly ignores responsibility several times, takes his anger out on others, and rolls his eyes at his authorities at school. If I had to pick someone in the Marvel universe to call "good", I'd go with Captain America. This Spider-Man, though well-meaning, is a bit self-absorbed.

    Now before I get hate mail for sounding like a judgmental prude, my point isn't that Peter Parker isn't a "good" person. My point is that there really are no "good" people, and I think it's kind of odd and presumptuous that we so often tell each other and ourselves that we are "good" or even "basically good". None of us really have the objective perspective from which to make that determination. Technically speaking, we ought to leave that kind of labeling for God to do.

    Of course all of this is likely over-analysis, given that the spiritual and moral themes of the movie never really stand out more than the characters themselves. This is not a movie trying to say anything. It's a movie about characters that aims to make us care about them.

    If this had been the first Spider-Man movie I'd ever seen, I'd be blown away. (The effects are leaps and bounds above those first CGI shots of the original Spider-Man movie.) But all entertainment art is graded based on what we've experienced before. And while this movie would have been an easy 10 a decade ago, I've come to expect a larger visual experience when it comes to Spider-Man. Maybe my opinion of it will improve over time as those expectations fade. (That was certainly the case for me with Batman Begins.) At the very least I think it is a great movie to start a new franchise with, and viewers will be grateful so much time was spent on character development in this movie when they are watching its sequel. But for now I'd have to say a better title for this flick would be "The Very Good Spider-Man". It falls a bit short of "Amazing".

    Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence

    Quality: 8.5/10

    Relevance: 7.0/10



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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  DNArington on July 15th 2012, 12:11 am

    I really loved this movie. Spiderman is my favorite superhero,and I thought they portrayed him well. Though maybe Peter was a little bit too self-absorbed. (Shameless plug: Check out the latest episode of the Helix Reviews podcast to hear my full review!)

    Do you guys think it is ok if I post some spoilers for TASM on here? There is something I would kind of like to bring up that happens near the end of the film, but I don't want to ruin anyone's experience if they have't seen it yet.

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  WhiteBoy on July 15th 2012, 3:02 am

    I really liked the movie, too.... more than I thought I would. I think it's fine as long as you warn people at the beginning of your post. Smile I'd like to hear what you're thinking.


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    Relevance 9/10 to me!

    Post  ComiKate on July 17th 2012, 6:29 pm

    I agree with Paeter's quality score of 8,5.

    My own relevance score is much higher however: I give it 9/10, for several reasons:

    1. The movie touched an emotional snare alright, though this is of course not the reason to give it a high relevance score. For me the most touching (and teary) moments were the moments that Peter was confronted with his own fallibility, when he realized he had caused (bad) things that could not be undone. Moments that he was racked by guilt and trying to carry this huge burden all by himself. Can't we all relate to that? In the movie someone says that there is really only one plot to every story: Who Am I? And that is exactly the plot to The Amazing Spider-Man. For it is during these moments of realisation that he has done bad things and that it's impossible for him to do only things that are good and just, that Peter shows us who we all are: fallible, sinful people desperately in need of grace every single day of our lives.
    2. Furthermore, there is hardly any messianic symbolism in this movie, for like Paeter said our superhero is occupied with himself most of the time, right up until almost the last moment when he finally seems to show some willingness for self-sacrifice in order to save others. Which is quite contrary to almost every other superhero movie, which are usually rife with messianic symbolism. That this movie differs in that respect, can lead to an interesting discussion imho (and therefore to me contributes to high relevance).
    3. And last but not least, the film has some beautiful Father imagery: Peter's father as an image of our imperfect human fathers, and Peter's uncle as the image of the unconditional love of our heavenly Father, who comes looking for us in the night when we are lost and alone, and is ready to give His own life to save ours. In one of the last scenes of the movie there is yet another person who becomes a father figure in a sense (I won't spoil that for people who have yet to watch it), and this person shows us yet another aspect of God as a Father: guiding an adolescent to adulthood by powerfully and confidently entrusting him with tasks that the youngster himself thinks are still too big for him. In short, where Spidey only has his human father figures, we can also trust and build on our heavenly Father. Who of course actually has real super powers! :-)


    Oh man, what a wordy reply, but I just now came back from the cinema and I was so blown away by all of the above (plus of course the great action etc) that I have to tell someone about it and since I'm living by myself you guys are my default go-to christian geeks clown jocolor

    I guess in a sense this movie unexpectedly impacted me the same way Star Wars III did, in showing us our brokenness and fall as human beings by way of a very intense, personal story. Luckily this movie won't need three more sequels like SW did to show us that there is also Hope, since it ended in an overall hopeful tone!



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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  DNArington on July 17th 2012, 9:37 pm

    ComiKate wrote:
    Oh man, what a wordy reply, but I just now came back from the cinema and I was so blown away by all of the above (plus of course the great action etc) that I have to tell someone about it and since I'm living by myself you guys are my default go-to christian geeks clown jocolor

    Don't worry about leaving too long of posts. I love reading peoples opinions and views! Smile

    Wow! You mentioned a lot of stuff a hadn't thought about. Interesting...maybe I should watch it again. Laughing

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  DNArington on July 17th 2012, 10:23 pm

    Exclamation SPOILER WARNING! DO NOT READ THIS POST IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE! Exclamation

    In the comics Spidy is fighting Doc Ock on the top of a building and Doc Ock knocks some debri off the side of the building and it falls toward a kid. Just before the kid gets smashed Captain Stacy jump in and pushes him out of the way and the debri falls on him. Spiderman goes to rescue him and carries him up a building to swing to a hospital. Captain Stacy, however, knowing he is going to die, stops Spiderman and tells him, "Peter, Take care of Gwen for me." Peter is shocked, because he had no idea that Captain Stacy knew he was Spiderman. It is a great and touching moment in the comics. It was kind of Captain Stacy's way of giving Peter permission to marry Gwen and his marriage blessing.

    I have no problem that in the movie they had the Lizard kill Captain Stacy instead of Doc Ock or that the way he died was changed, or even that Captain Stacy knew who Peter was before he told him (though I did kinda' miss that), but I hate the fact that he said "Stay away from Gwen," instead of "Take care of Gwen," and that Peter promises to do so then decides to brake that promise at the end. If you are going to be a hero you must learn to be selfless and to think of others first and above yourself. What Peter does at the end of this movie is selfish. He wants to be with Gwen, even if it endangers her life, and ever if he father last request while he is dieing in his arms is to leave Gwen alone. Selfish! Spiderman from the comics is a very selfless person, not perfect, granted, but very noble.

    Not only that but I honestly think it would have been a stronger story it they had went with the original.

    Honestly, that is what dissapointed me most about this movie. All in all thought it was wonderful!

    What do you guys think?

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  WhiteBoy on July 18th 2012, 6:04 pm

    Wow, Kate...those are some great thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

    And that's a good point DNArington. That actually highlights an overall feeling I had while watching this Spider-man compared to the other one... he seemed less heroic.

    Spider-man is my favorite superhero and always has been. But I just wanna point out how I love that Captain America does what's right *just because it's right.* It's its own justification. I love that about Cap. How heroic!


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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on July 18th 2012, 11:03 pm

    WhiteBoy wrote:But I just wanna point out how I love that Captain America does what's right *just because it's right.* It's its own justification. I love that about Cap. How heroic!

    AVENGERS DIALOGUE SPOILERS!!!!!


















    A favorite line from Avengers: "There's only one God, ma'am. And I don't think he wears red."

    Cap is the man!! His "old school" sensibilities are refreshing, inspiring and new these days!


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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Hackmodford on July 19th 2012, 10:20 am

    Misquote Wink

    "There's only one God maam, and I don't think he dresses like that."


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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on July 20th 2012, 7:43 pm

    Hackmodford wrote:Misquote Wink

    "There's only one God maam, and I don't think he dresses like that."

    Thanks! I'll trust your memory over mine.


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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Nathan James Norman on July 22nd 2012, 10:17 pm

    ComiKate wrote:I agree with Paeter's quality score of 8,5.

    My own relevance score is much higher however: I give it 9/10, for several reasons:

    1. The movie touched an emotional snare alright, though this is of course not the reason to give it a high relevance score. For me the most touching (and teary) moments were the moments that Peter was confronted with his own fallibility, when he realized he had caused (bad) things that could not be undone. Moments that he was racked by guilt and trying to carry this huge burden all by himself. Can't we all relate to that? In the movie someone says that there is really only one plot to every story: Who Am I? And that is exactly the plot to The Amazing Spider-Man. For it is during these moments of realisation that he has done bad things and that it's impossible for him to do only things that are good and just, that Peter shows us who we all are: fallible, sinful people desperately in need of grace every single day of our lives.
    2. Furthermore, there is hardly any messianic symbolism in this movie, for like Paeter said our superhero is occupied with himself most of the time, right up until almost the last moment when he finally seems to show some willingness for self-sacrifice in order to save others. Which is quite contrary to almost every other superhero movie, which are usually rife with messianic symbolism. That this movie differs in that respect, can lead to an interesting discussion imho (and therefore to me contributes to high relevance).
    3. And last but not least, the film has some beautiful Father imagery: Peter's father as an image of our imperfect human fathers, and Peter's uncle as the image of the unconditional love of our heavenly Father, who comes looking for us in the night when we are lost and alone, and is ready to give His own life to save ours. In one of the last scenes of the movie there is yet another person who becomes a father figure in a sense (I won't spoil that for people who have yet to watch it), and this person shows us yet another aspect of God as a Father: guiding an adolescent to adulthood by powerfully and confidently entrusting him with tasks that the youngster himself thinks are still too big for him. In short, where Spidey only has his human father figures, we can also trust and build on our heavenly Father. Who of course actually has real super powers! :-)


    Oh man, what a wordy reply, but I just now came back from the cinema and I was so blown away by all of the above (plus of course the great action etc) that I have to tell someone about it and since I'm living by myself you guys are my default go-to christian geeks clown jocolor

    I guess in a sense this movie unexpectedly impacted me the same way Star Wars III did, in showing us our brokenness and fall as human beings by way of a very intense, personal story. Luckily this movie won't need three more sequels like SW did to show us that there is also Hope, since it ended in an overall hopeful tone!



    I just might have to go see this movie now!

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Rickster on July 26th 2012, 8:45 pm

    OK this isn't important to the movie's plot or anything but...
    Did anyone else notice the Left Behind book in the Library fight scene?

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on July 27th 2012, 10:31 am

    Rickster wrote:OK this isn't important to the movie's plot or anything but...
    Did anyone else notice the Left Behind book in the Library fight scene?

    Whaaa? Couldn't find anything after a quick internet search. If anyone can provide a screenshot of this or further support, I'd be VERY interested!

    It could mean there is someone on the production worth tracking down for an interview!


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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Rickster on July 27th 2012, 2:36 pm

    Paeter wrote:
    Rickster wrote:OK this isn't important to the movie's plot or anything but...
    Did anyone else notice the Left Behind book in the Library fight scene?

    Whaaa? Couldn't find anything after a quick internet search. If anyone can provide a screenshot of this or further support, I'd be VERY interested!

    It could mean there is someone on the production worth tracking down for an interview!

    It's close to the end of the scene Spiderman is laying on the ground and some books are under them and one of the the books in front was The Mark.

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  DNArington on July 28th 2012, 1:22 am

    Rickster wrote:
    Paeter wrote:
    Rickster wrote:OK this isn't important to the movie's plot or anything but...
    Did anyone else notice the Left Behind book in the Library fight scene?

    Whaaa? Couldn't find anything after a quick internet search. If anyone can provide a screenshot of this or further support, I'd be VERY interested!

    It could mean there is someone on the production worth tracking down for an interview!

    It's close to the end of the scene Spiderman is laying on the ground and some books are under them and one of the the books in front was The Mark.

    Whoa! I totally missed that! That is pretty cool!







    Another thing I wanted to say about this movie was, how awesome was that Stan Lee cameo? Dude! I love that cameo! It might be his best one so far!

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  ComiKate on July 28th 2012, 7:54 am

    DNArington wrote:Another thing I wanted to say about this movie was, how awesome was that Stan Lee cameo? Dude! I love that cameo! It might be his best one so far!
    Totally agree - and the action around him was so well-choreographed to the peaceful classical music he was listening to, that was so funny! lol!




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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Rickster on July 29th 2012, 3:50 am

    I found a pic of the book but I couldn't figure out how to post it here so I put it on paeter's Facebook wall and you guys can see it there or if someone could take it and post it here that would be great

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    Re: The Amazing Spider-Man (Movie Review)

    Post  Paeter on August 1st 2012, 4:44 pm

    ComiKate wrote:
    DNArington wrote:Another thing I wanted to say about this movie was, how awesome was that Stan Lee cameo? Dude! I love that cameo! It might be his best one so far!
    Totally agree - and the action around him was so well-choreographed to the peaceful classical music he was listening to, that was so funny! lol!


    Yeah, the ones that work best seem to involve Stan saying the least. ;-)

    Compare/Contrast with his cameo in "Rise Of The Silver Surfer". Yikes.

    This latest one was great!


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