on November 28, 2012
Ugh, this is such a hard movie to review.
While I was watching this on a theater, I was loving it. I was cheering and laughing, I was excited and inmersed. But, after I left the theater, I felt empty. I felt as if the movie didn't make an impact on me. I didn't think it was a bad film, it just wasn't a memorable one.
I really liked Raimi's films, even the third one (which I feel is unjustly treated), and, for better or worse, those movies were memorable. There are scenes in them I always keep on my mind, and on my heart. Sure, they were purposely cheesy, sometimes unnervingly, but they were lovable and entertaining and they felt true to the characters. I was mad at them ending for a reboot made for the wrong reasons, but after a while I kept an open mind and accepted it.
Now, let's talk about this film. The actors are, for the most part, well chosen. The obvious issue comes from Garfield. He's a great actor, yes, but in some scenes you can really tell he's three decades old, which sort of kills the mood. Emma Stone is as good and adorable as always as Gwen. Martin Sheen plays the perfect uncle Ben. He doesn't say "With great power comes great responsibility", but then again, neither did he in the original comic. Rhys Ifans makes an OK Dr. Connors, but the script has problems he can't solve. Sally Fields is wasted as Aunt May, she's almost an afterthought, since you barely see her. Denis Leary as Captain Stacy is one of the highlights, as he has good character motives and he's quite the badass.
The costume designs are hit and miss. I'm not a fan of Spidey's costume for the same reason I wasn't a fan of the costume in Raimi's films: it's too pretty. It's supposed to be handmade by a teenager, it shouldn't look that great. But I suppose that's a matter of personal preference. I'm not a fan of the silver lines either. Alex Ross makes a fantastic rendition of the homemade costume in Marvels, and it makes Spidey look more heroic. Anyway, The Lizard... well, that's a problem. I understand the choice of not giving him a muzzle, as it goes well with his first appereance in the comics, but the eyes... they're too human. I understand what they were going for, but there's no reason to humanize a monster that regularly turns back into a human. That being said, the skin and its wrinkles are wonderfully designed.
The special effects are great. They're quite better than in the original trilogy, and while you can easily tell the Lizard is CGI, most of the time the CGI Spidey is unnoticeable from the real one, and the same goes for CGI objects. I didn't care for the 3D in theaters and I didn't purchase the 3D Blu Ray, so I don't know how it looks on the disc, but I don't think it will look any better. Not that I think it would improve the movie at all.
The script is the real foe here. The movie is too obvious, as if the writers thought the audience would be too stupid. There's also the token guy who tries too hard to be hated by the audience, the lack of a good introduction for Spidey, the characters being too dumb to realize the obvious truth about the others, the lack of responsibility from Spidey's part (even though that's supposed to be his main theme), the fact that they take absolutely no advantage of the mechanical web-shooters (seriously, infinite webbing), the fact that Dr. Connors' family is nowhere to be seen (despite that being a very important part of his character) and he behaves too much like the Green Goblin, and all that about "The untold story" remaining untold throughout the entire film. And then there's the scene with the cranes... That is wrong for so many reasons.
That being said, this movie does handle a couple of things better. The character of Flash Thompson is very well handled and actually matures. The relationship between Peter and Gwen is great. Spidey actually jokes this time. Weirdly enough, though, the opinions of Gwen and George Stacy about Spidey are inverted from the ones in the comics. That's not a complaint, it's just... weird. And this is probably the best Stan Lee cameo to date.
Why the 4 stars review? As I said before, I don't think it's a bad film. It's entertaining and engaging, it just won't leave a mark on you.
About the Blu Ray: The quality is fantastic, both in video and audio. I haven't seen all the extras yet, but the ones I've watched are quite interesting. There are a bunch of conceptual art and models for Spider-Man and The Lizard. Some deleted scenes, including one in which post-injection Dr. Connors talks to his son Billy (why was this deleted?) and some details about how some scenes were filmed, which will surprise you when they show you how some things you believed to be real were actually CGI.
As an aside, this movie comes with a spanish (latin american) dub audio track, despite the fact that the Amazon page doesn't mention it.