The Amazing Spider-Man

I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man tonight with my friends from Merge Ministry. And I must say it was, well, amazing. The movie did a really good job of setting itself apart from the original Spider-Man film trilogy in several key ways while staying true to the story of everyone’s favorite web-slinging superhero.

Many people were worried that it was way too soon for a reboot of the Spider-Man film franchise, considering the fact that Spider-Man 3 came out only five years ago, and many critics have claimed that The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t different enough from the original Spider-Man movie to justify a reboot. I would like to disagree. The original Spider-Man films were great, but I have been excited about this movie since I first heard about it, and I fully support the reboot for several reasons.

First of all, the new Spider-Man is just better than the old one. Andrew Garfield’s version of Peter Parker is more relatable and more realistic than Toby Maguire’s rendition. One thing that bothered me a lot about the original Spider-Man trilogy is that there is almost no mention of Peter’s parents. Peter lives with his aunt and uncle, and that is never questioned or explored. The Amazing Spider-Man begins with the story of how Peter came to live with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and Peter’s quest to discover more about his parents plays a large role in the events of the film. Peter’s struggle to find self-identity and the pain that he feels as a result of being abandoned by his parents make him a more relatable character in The Amazing Spider-Man than in the first Spider-Man movie.

Spider-Man is also more realistic in this film. There is trend in Marvel movies now to focus on ordinary people becoming superheroes through extraordinary means such as technology (Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk) rather than extraordinary individuals just being superheroes (X-Men, Fantastic Four), and this change can be seen when comparing the Spider-Man of the original trilogy to the rebooted Spider-Man. Sure, Spider-Man does gain powers supernaturally through a spider bite, but his main weapon and method of transportation, web-slinging, comes from a technology he develops himself in The Amazing Spider-Man rather than being a natural result of the spider bite as in the original movie. This makes Spider-Man more realistic and easier to grasp for the audience.

Another thing that really sets The Amazing Spider-Man apart from the original Spider-Man movie is the tone, and this is both good and bad. The tone of The Amazing Spider-Man is very dark. From the very first scene, the viewer can tell that The Amazing Spider-Man is not a feel-good movie. The themes of abandonment, not knowing oneself, betrayal, and guilt give the movie a very heavy feel. This is good in that it gives the movie an identity of its own, but it is also problematic. It is very obvious that the creators of The Amazing Spider-Man worked hard to make it different from the original films, so much so that (mini-spoiler alert) they sacrificed an important character to achieve this darkness, possibly upsetting some fans.

Finally, the movie has a much more modern feel than the original film. If you re-watch Spider-Man, you can already tell that it’s dated. The dialogue, rhythm, and comedy of The Amazing Spider-Man are very current, sometimes reminding me of less mainstream indie films that seem to be becoming more and more popular.

Overall, the movie was great. You should definitely go see it at least once.¬†Based on its success and the unresolved nature of the ending, I’m sure there will be a sequel in the near future, but I’m worried that there might not be an Avengers/Spider-Man crossover as I had previously predicted. First of all (mini-spoiler alert), there was no Samuel L. Jackson cameo as Nick Fury, something I had really been hoping for. Secondly, Spider-Man is much darker, edgier, and younger than any of the Avengers, and I’m not sure he would fit in with the Avengers franchise without a lot of work. However, I am very welcome to the possibility of seeing Spider-Man in The Avengers 2 if they can somehow make it work.

The bottom line is this: Whether you’ve seen the original Spider-Man trilogy or not, you need to go see The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s a great movie with a new take on the classic coming-of-age story of Peter Parker, the boy who became known as Spider-Man. And you won’t be behind when they release a sequel or a Spider-Man/Avengers crossover. I hope you enjoy the movie, and I can’t wait to see where they take the series from here.