Al does The Amazing Spider-Man

“Oh no! You found my weakness! Small knives!”

The Scoop: 2012 PG-13, directed Marc Webb by and starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans

Tagline: The untold story begins.

Summary Capsule: Hey, everyone! They made a movie about Spider-Man! Again!

Al’s Rating:  The Amazingly Similar Spider-Man!

Al’s Review: So, they made another Spider-Man movie and it’s pretty decent. I wanted to get that out of the way up front. I liked it and I’m interested in seeing a sequel.

My brain, though, is headed in a different direction right now. I’m looking at the box-office for The Amazing Spider-Man and, after 13 days in the theater, its worldwide gross is about $500,000,000. This is, by all accounts, a financially successful film and we are destined for another one. That’s not a bad thing in my book, but what message is this sending toHollywood?

Make no mistake: TASM (pronounced Tazz’Umm) is the same movie that Sam Raimi put out ten years ago. There are definitely differences and I’ll get to those, but—honestly—this is the same film, right down to the mentor-figure villain with voices in his head. So what happens when Christian Bale and Chris Nolan step down from Batman? What happens when Robert Downey, Jr decides he’s done with Iron Man? The answer seems clear: remake the first movie again with minimal changes and you’ll be rewarded with $500 million in two weeks. As someone who spends an awful lot of time lamenting the number of sequels, prequels, and remakes in the movie industry, that just sits wrong with me.


Well, enough about that. Let me start explaining why you should continue to be part of the problem and go see it.

First off: Emma Stone. She completely rocks in this movie. I never hated Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane the way some people did, but Emma Stone wins this Celebrity Deathmatch hands down. She is cute and tough and feisty and would be a perfect Mary Jane except for the fact that she’s actually Gwen Stacy. That’s okay, though. She made me completely love Gwen and I’m actually having a hard time coming up with another superhero love interest that I like as much. Emma Stone might just be the tops.

Also, Taz’Umm makes the interesting decision to completely forego all the iconic comic book moments you’re expecting. The plot is identical to the first Spidey in all the ways that count, but there’s no wrestling match and there’s no grumbly J Jonah Jameson. Uncle Ben doesn’t even get his “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” moment. Instead, the movie just tips its hat to these ideas and then attempts to reach the same goal while doing something different. It’s a bold choice and I applaud the effort, but it honestly doesn’t always pay off. Sam Raimi’s comic-book aesthetics may have fallen flat for some people, but there’s no denying he created memorable moments in his Spider-Man. Tazz’Umm doesn’t. I didn’t think anything they tried turned out badly, but we’re going to a Spider-Man movie because we want to see JJ chomping on cigars, we want to see Uncle Ben explain WGPCGR (pronounced Wugup’kuhgrr), and Bonesaw is ready to see Peter Parker trouncing pro wrestlers. What we don’t want to see is shadowy men talking about the secret origins and mysterious deaths of the Parker Parents. From what I can remember in the ‘90s, they turned out to be evil robots, and, well, let’s just not go there.

Wow, my attempt at telling you why you should see Tazz’Umm has become kind of a bummer, huh? I liked this movie! I did! I thought Andrew Garfield did a good job as Peter—he’s not the sweater-vest nerd that Tobey Maguire was, but he comes across as a believable high school outcast. I liked that they played up Peter’s intelligence and his antagonistic relationship with the police. I thought Martin Sheen and Sally Field were great as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. I liked how Spider-Man moves like a bug instead of a dude in spandex and how the film acknowledges that getting anywhere in New York City requires making lots of twists and turns. I like that Peter is still visibly new to crimefighting and I like that climbing up walls involves navigating things like window ledges and fire escapes.

In fact, there’s a lot to like in Tazz’Umm and, given the weird, broken position that the franchise was in after Spider-Man 3, I certainly wasn’t going to hate a reboot solely on principle. But I’m not totally sold on this yet. I want to see them take another shot now that the origin story is out of the way. I like their cast and I like their style. Now let’s just see if they can stop being Tazz’Umm and start being Spider-Man.

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, mopes however a spider can!


  • I loved Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. Loved loved loved. It actually saddened me to realize he won’t be coming back.
  • While I dig that Peter gets actual webshooters, having them in a live-action film just really brings out how absurd it is that he would wear them under his clothes while at school.
  • That was some really unsubtle American flag imagery in the last reel of the movie.
  • Also, while the scene on the bridge was pretty great and I enjoyed the payoff later on, I’m not quite sure the movie really earned it.
  • So, I’m assuming the guy in the hat is Norman Osborne?

Groovy Quotes

Peter Parker: We all have secrets: the ones we keep… and the ones that are kept from us.

Peter Parker: Ahem, you know, if you’re going to steal cars, don’t dress like a car thief.
Car Thief: You a cop?
Peter Parker: You seriously think I’m a cop? In a skintight red and blue suit?

George Stacy: Thirty-eight of New York’s finest, versus one guy in a unitard?

Peter Parker: I’ve got to stop him, because I created him.
Gwen Stacy: That’s not your job…
Peter Parker: Maybe it is.

Gwen Stacy: How did you get up here?
Peter Parker: The fire escape.
Gwen Stacy: That’s twenty stories.
Peter Parker: Your doorman’s intimidating.

Peter Parker: Oh no! You have found my weakness, small knives!

Miss Ritter: Peter, don’t make promises you can’t keep.
Peter Parker: But those are the best kind.

Gwen Stacy: Did you get expelled?
Peter Parker: No! No, I didn’t get expelled, I got community service.
[They smile at each other and wait around awkwardly, then Gwen turns to go]
Peter Parker: Um so, uh, you want to, uh… I dunno.
Gwen Stacy: Wanna what?
Peter Parker: I dunno. Just, uh… Um… I dunno, we could, I dunno, we could uh… Or we could do something else, or we could, with no… We, like, we could…
Gwen Stacy: [Smiling] Yeah!
Peter Parker: Yeah?
Gwen Stacy: Yeah, either one.
Peter Parker: Really?
Gwen Stacy: Sure.
Peter Parker: Okay, all right then. Sounds good.
Gwen Stacy: Cool.

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  1. The most disappointing thing about Tazz’Umm, in my opinion, is that it seems to have inspired people to really bash the original 2002 movie. It’s as if the only way many people can enjoy the movie is to convince themselves that the original was a piece of crap, and it’s sad considering how much I like the original and its first sequel.

    Also: how cool would it have been if they’d gone all James Bond and just recast everybody instead of rebooting (Emma Stone would have even been able to use her true hair color!).

  2. Good review, man. I’ll probably be giving my own two cents on it once the DVD comes out, so I won’t say too much here, but suffice it to say that while I liked Tazz’Umm (oh man, I’m going to have to start calling it that now), I got the same feeling from it that I got from Dark Knight – it was a good movie, but if you combined it with one of its earlier predecessors, it would have been great. Good, but incomplete, with the missing bits already having been done by other people. But good!

  3. Pingback: Al looks back at the films of 2012 « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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