I just got back from seeing the new Spiderman movie with Andrew Garfield. I didn’t expect much of it, to be honest, since I’d read mixed reviews. And wouldn’t you know it, I loved it! Not only did it entertain me a lot more than Dark Knight Rises – more on that in another post – but I even liked it better than the old Spiderman. Just thought I’d collect some points on this as a first impression:
Not as whiny
Peter Parker is a nerd, he gets bullied, nobody likes him, blah blah blah, we get it. I did really enjoy the old Spiderman back in 2002, and didn’t mind so much. But it was much more enjoyable to watch awkward and cute Andrew Garfield than it was watching totally whiny Tobey Maguire.
Sure, old Spidey had cool lines, too. He got to be a hero, too. But it all came more naturally to new Spidey, because he simply accepted that shit was going down and got on with it. He made decisions and stuck with them. Old Spidey was waaay more emo, as the following two films proved. I am glad the new film went in a different direction.
In a nutshell
Everything in the new film seemed to be held together more tightly. There wasn’t the huge time gap between high school and university as in the Maguire film. The whole process of becoming Spiderman happens faster. The film did take some time to pull the usual funny stunts of “sudden strength” but didn’t linger on it too much.
The costume was suddenly there, and this part of the film was a bit of a plot gap. But to be honest, I’d much rather watch Peter flirt with Gwen than to see him come up with costume ideas. Almost all scenes in the film seemed to have a clear point and goal that they fulfilled. It felt focussed, and not drawn out. I emphasise this because I read in a few reviews that people thought it was too long – nope, it was just right this way, actually.
Gwen beats Mary Jane
I’m so sorry Kirsten Dunst, but Emma Stone kicked ass. Gwen Stacey was a much more likeable love interest than Mary Jane. Gwen was funny and intelligent where MJ was mostly whiny and indecisive. New Spidey told Gwen who he was just like that, even though she wasn’t the love of his frickin’ life. Old Spidey never told her intentionally, being the coward that he is, and makes a huge big mess out of the whole relationship.New Spidey doesn’t take himself so damn seriously and even considers going back on a promise he made to a dying man! Because that’s just the kind of person he is in this film.
Gwen was just a cooler female character, too. She had a great job as an intern (no idea how she got that, though) and seems to be good at achieving goals and still be pretty casual about it. She takes the initiative and asks Peter over, again not making a big deal out of it. Old Spidey never even summoned the courage to talk to MJ properly.
Lizard vs. Green Goblin
The “bad guy plot” was pretty similar in both movies. But at least the Lizard had a good reason to go berserk – to try and fix himself. Green Goblin was after a weapons contract, and was cast as a bad guy from the very beginning. Connor may have had a few skeletons in his closet, but at least he seemed like a decent guy who turned nasty. Not a nasty guy who turned nastier. I also didn’t miss Harry and the whole “becoming like your father” and “best friend betrayal” plots.
Less is more
The whole new film had a little less of everything. It tried less to be grand, it had less characters and less subplots. Far from lacking something, the film gained more time to develop the plots of the people it did have. The one rescue scene with the little kid on the bridge really meant something both for the character of Spiderman and the film as a whole. The entire “find the killer” supblot was just dropped at that point, without any further whiny decision-making, because other stuff became more important. It made sense. We had less talk about “great responsibilities” and less pseudo-meaningful moments where people stare at each other teary-eyed. It was an action film in the truest sense, because stuff was happening all the time. In this instance, less introspection was really better.
So there you have it, my first thoughts on the new Spiderman film. Maybe I’ll need to re-watch the old one(s) again someday and see if they were really as whiny as I remember them. But before that I need to vent how awful I thought Dark Knight Rises was… in another post, though.