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The Amazing Spiderman

July 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The idea of anonymity is an all too familiar feeling for anyone who has participated in an internet forum, played an online game or chatted to people across the world in chat rooms. Anonymity enables you to say and do whatever you want without accountability to your society, friends and family. This is the arena of the troll, the ‘thinspiration’ blogger and the online sexual predator. However, it is also an arena that gives power to the otherwise gimped; it is the online society where appearance and status does not need to matter. This feeling of power through anonymity is how Marc Webb’s Spiderman feels when he wears his disguise.

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The controversy of Sony and Marvel fighting over ownership of the series is not what I am here to discuss. In my opinion, bureaucratic battles can sort themselves out; in the meantime, I am going to watch every Batman reboot and every reinterpretation of Frankenstein- I just want to be entertained. So was the Spiderman reboot worth all of the debate? Sure, Sam Raimi’s Spiderman films ended up served with a hefty slice of cheese, but Tobey Maguire made Spiderman a complex and tragic character, unlike Andrew Garfield as the pseudo-hip-to-be-square skater boy (probably not his fault).

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This rebooted version of Spiderman draws its strength in being more like a graphic novel on the screen as opposed to the Hollywood style showdowns of Raimi’s Blockbuster trilogy. It’s almost as if Webb’s Amazing Spiderman is trying to gain credibility as an indie flick in its own right whilst also cashing in on the franchise of yesteryear. Never the less, the incredible special effects of the action sequences absorb you into this world due to seamless editing and masterful computer generated imagery. Although some may argue that this imagery will appear too artificial, the surreal visuals thrust you further into the comic world and the 3D work is stunning.

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I wholeheartedly disagree with anyone who believes that this is simply a regurgitation of an old film. The story and its characters are miles different to Sam Raimi’s interpretation of the story. The decision to include Gwen Stacey in her Highschool years was a wise one, but was not explored as effectively as it should have been – Are we afraid to give our female leads more agency? What’s the worst that could happen? Let’s not also forget that Gwen Stacey’s character was treated as the dumb blonde model type in Raimi’s Spiderman 3. Although she has been reclassified in this version as an intelligent, powerful young woman who does not need Spidermans help, wouldn’t it have been more interesting if her supposedly intelligent character in point of fact helped Peter Parker with an actual scientific problem! It almost seems like a cop out to show us a female lead with potential and then have her play the whimsical love card yet again. Will we ever learn?

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Fans can be very protective over films that they love and there has been a slight ‘too-soon’ back lash to this film. However, let’s not forget the many errors that were made in previous Spiderman films and also the positive changes made in this reboot. One of my favourite changes was the use of artificial webbing instead of organic webbing. The use of artificial webs is truthful to the comic books. This creative choice also pinpoints the fact that Peter Parker is an intelligent young man capable of achieving his own superpowers without his Spider senses. This notion provides an essential lesson to youth about creativity and intelligence winning out over pure luck and inbuilt chemistry.

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I also liked the stripped back idea of the modern nerd being not just an ugly guy in glasses, but an outsider, of an almost James Dean like charisma. As much as my nerdy friends hate to admit it, they are not as uncool as they think they are. The internet has become such an integral part of our lives that you no longer need face-to-face social skills in order to advance in society- Geeks are inheriting the world. This reinterpretation of Spiderman expresses these changes much better than the fumbling Parker in Raimi’s films who always hides behind his many lenses. This modern day Spiderman has much more personal agency than any other depiction, he’s also thankfully less obnoxious (none of my friends agree).

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The subtle influence of the music of James Horner is unfortunately overshadowed by a pop soundtrack that would have been more effecting if it had been more relevant to the subject matter of the film. Director Marc Webb’s soundtrack for his debut feature film, 500 Days of Summer was in contrast, a huge success, due to the integration of indie artists as opposed to tired singles from the pop charts.

The acrobatics of Spiderman’s movements are more human like that any other superhero we see on the screen. It was rewarding to see this given justice on the screen. With the many negative factors impacting this film from its development, The Amazing Spiderman at its very essence is a coming of age story with super powers, to appeal to the layperson who struggles to find power and strength in their life. It’s a story that will continue to resonate with all ages, regardless of how many times it will continue to be rebooted in the future. At least this time it stayed true to its core values.

Filmbiotic’s Diagnosis: 4/5

Trivia: This was the first Hollywood production to be filmed with the Red Digital Cinema Camera Company’s RED Epic camera.

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