As a writer, it fills me with an odd sense to despair to see people continuously recycling the same trash repeatedly, and even worse, still manage to make a fortune doing so.
And in the case of Spider-Man movies, I was even more disappointed to see the franchise being "rebooted" (because 'remake' has become a dirty word which people are no longer encouraged to use, apparently) so soon after the Tobey Maguire trilogy was put to rest.
Honestly, I was as about excited to watch an origin story all over again as I was to see Peter Parker battle a large lizard, but I watched the first 'Amazing Spider-Man' anyway, because ... Spider-Man!!
Pros & cons considered, it really wasn't the disaster I had anticipated. I mean, I don't expect to watch it again anytime in the near future, but it did manage to open me up to the possibility of watching the next film in the series.
A little while later, I find out that the main villain this time around would be Electro.
For those of you who didn't grow up watching '90s Spider-Man cartoons, Electro is about the most vapid bad guy anyone could give an insipid character design to, specifically meant to be inserted into filler episodes. This, of course, is less of a fact than an ultra-strong opinion on my end, but trust me on this one.
So, anyway, my hopes of seeing a great sequel were instantly dashed - especially after finding out that the part would be played by one Jamie Foxx after his performance in the magnificent Django Unchained (which I have yet to review! #Patience).
Now, Foxx is a terrific performer, but I was definitely afraid that he'd fall right into the curse of doing a terrible movie after shining in an Oscar-worthy film.
But then, I saw the first image of Jamie in character.
And then, I saw the movie preview.
And that's when I realized that there was no way I was going to pass up seeing this movie in theaters.
But you know what I truly appreciate about the Spider-Man character?
It's that even as a young adult, Peter Parker is a hero with a truly tragic story. Despite his incredible strength, agility and smarts, he's not invincible.
But it's not his physical body which gets torn apart; it's his heart.
The very same heart which gives him the courage to rise up each morning to fight malicious adversaries without ever feeling sorry for himself, or crying about why his life turned out the way it did.
He was cursed with an exceptional gift, and he uses it to help others.
And so, hope is brought up to become the main theme in the movie. Not just hope itself, but the act of giving hope to others when they most need it.
Hope of living to see better days.
Hope of seeing a movie which doesn't entirely disappoint.
And in that respect, this movie blew away my expectations.
First, the good:
Peter & Gwen.
After going through a trilogy of Peter & Mary Jane, this was a much needed breath of fresh air (despite my absolute love for redheads). And the fact that their relationship is portrayed more realistically than overly romanticized made me like it even more. Were it up to me, I would never even mention the 'Watson' name for as long as this series lasts.
That said, apparently plenty of people disliked the fact that a love story even exists as a subplot in this movie.
It is my sincere opinion that these people have never been in love before.
Also good, Electro!
Seriously! Props to the movie makers for taking a bum of a bad guy (indeed, his character is portrayed as an invisible individual who people rarely acknowledge - and when they do he's merely looked down upon) and transforming him into a misunderstood and sympathetic villain of epic, 'final boss' proportions.
I have no clue how they plan on making any future bad guys appear as an even bigger threat than this guy, but good luck to them!
But I also wonder if maybe they didn't purposely single out a 'piece-of-crap' character with high potential just to mold him into an unstoppable force - knowing fully well that nobody would expect the results.
And Harry Osborn!
One of the most annoying and terrible characters in the comic and cartoon actually becomes very important in this story, and nothing really comes off as being too strongly forced. The strands of conflict just naturally and gracefully fall into place, entwine and tighten into a mess which everyone becomes involved in and must fight in order to survive.
Major points to the writers and director for creating something this awesome.
On a separate note, I would also like to mention that Electro is not the only villain in the movie, but the way each fight is choreographed is also very refreshing to witness as Spidey has to learn to adapt and approach each battle differently.
Also, fighting in Times Square in my hometown of NYC??
Final Grade: A+
Now, I can't pretend that this movie is perfect, as I did have a few tiny issues with a line or two, and a scene or two which should really have been cut out of the final edit.
On a final note, I'd also like to mention that although I really would have loved an entirely different ending which would create its own path and in no way follow the comic books, you can't truly blame them for the way it ends.
In any case, none of this is enough to prevent me from granting this film the highest rating.
I truly worry about the announcement of ASM 3, 4, and two separate spin-offs (despite the fact that this movie was inexplicably given a rather shitty reception), but there's always hope to hold on to.
Hope that things will turn out better than we fear.
Thanks for reading!