Here’s the thing with me and summer movies: I don’t really enjoy big explosions or car chase sequences or any of that jazz. It’s fine if you do, but I see them and mostly think…yawn. I recall reading a Roger Ebert review once where he commented that all action sequences felt basically the same to him and I thought, yes! Exactly!
So you may wonder why I saw The Amazing Spider-Man. And I have four words for you (plus the “and” needed to join them): Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Garfield because, if I’m being honest with you, he’s kind of dreamy, yet not attractive in an intimidating way, probably because he’s British and slightly awkward. Also, he’s, you know, a good actor and such. Stone because, let’s be honest again, she’s flat-out awesome. I mean, if you asked me what celebrity I wanted to be, my first answer would be Kate Middleton (duh), but Emma would be a respectable second.
So I went for Garfield and Stone and I enjoyed the movie because it didn’t really seem like an explosions/special effects/car chase bonanza. I’ve read several reviews now mentioning that it has sort of an indie vibe, and I totally get that. In fact, that’s precisely why I enjoyed it. It seemed like there were fewer action sequences and more quiet moments than your typical superhero movie (fine by me). In fact, when the film did slip into action sequences, I found myself bored and wished they would just go back to scenes with slightly-awkward but super-charming everyday interactions between Peter and Gwen.
The urge to compare this movie to the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies is inevitable, I suppose, so I’ll just go ahead and succumb to it. While I liked those movies (and saw them years ago, meaning some details are fuzzy), I have to say, I far preferred this movie. I never thought Maguire fit the Spider-Man role, and I thought Garfield did. I found Garfield ridiculously compelling here, a solid mix of endearing and sad and sarcastic. And let’s not even compare Kirsten Dunst to Emma Stone because poor Kirsten just doesn’t have a chance in that battle.
The rest of the cast was also quite good. Martin Sheen is awesome in everything and this was no exception; can anyone play the role of wise, noble moral compass better than him? Sally Field was also solid, and I loved the scene between her and Garfield at the end, where they seem to come to some sort of unspoken understanding that Peter is Spider-Man. And I also enjoyed Rhys Ifans, in the role of the villain here. I have to admit I never expected to think of Ifans as anything but Hugh Grant’s crazy and oft-naked roommate in Notting Hill, but after this movie and the Five Year Engagement, I may have to reconsider. Who knew?
All in all, The Amazing Spider-Man more than exceeded my expectations (and was far better than most other summer blockbusters). If you’ve seen Spider-Man, what did you think?
My Grade: A-
(Image via Almost Nerdy)