educator, writer, speaker, devoted family man, amateur philosopher, chess enthusiast, basketball junkie, connoisseur of fine hip hop, and purveyor of wit and wisdom
I haven’t been making a lot of headway on my 40 by 40 list lately, but yesterday I knocked off one-third of a task on my list. That’s right…one-third of a task. My quest to see The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-man and The Dark Knight Rises all on their opening days continued as I watched Spiderman kick butt yesterday morning in a theater that was not even half-filled. (A big difference compared to my Avengers experience.)
At first, I wondered why anyone would re-boot a superhero franchise only 10 years after the original. After watching the movie yesterday, it makes sense now. The original franchise was going nowhere, and for Spiderman to carry any more weight in Hollywood, something really good had to be done before Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire decided to spend more money and time ruining the franchise.
This year’s Spiderman was by far the best. I usually don’t watch movies in 3D but I did yesterday because when I arrived at the cineplex, I realized that I would’ve had to wait 90 minutes for the next regular 2D showing of the movie.
Man…I’m glad I saw it in 3D.
The effects were spectacular without being cartoon-y (like the Maguire-fueled Spiderman flicks). Some of the moves that Spiderman pulled off were brilliantly choreographed (or brilliantly shot or brilliantly CGI‘d). No matter what you may think of superhero movies or this franchise in particular, The Amazing Spider-man was truly gorgeous to watch.
(I still don’t understand why they hyphenated Spiderman’s name in the title of the movie. Having to go back and insert that damn hyphen while writing this blog post is slowing me down a bit.)
Andrew Garfield (as Peter Parker) and Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy) were really adept at playing awkward high school teenagers, and I loved the casting of Sally Field as Aunt May and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. And I hope that having the great (and greatly under-appreciated) actor Campbell Scott in the role of Peter’s dad means that we’ll get a chance to see him later in the franchise. (Oh…and Stan Lee’s cameo this time was kinda funny.)
If you have even a passing interest in Spiderman lore, you’ll remember from the comics that Peter Parker was raised by his Aunt May. In The Amazing Spider-man we learn some of the back story (only a bit, though) about why Peter was left with his aunt and uncle. For the sake of those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet, I’m not going to go to deeply into the plot here. I will point out, though, that this Spiderman film hit me kind of hard emotionally. Yes, it was a superhero movie with characters flying through the air and punching each other out. Yes, many of the elements that are essential in the telling of Spiderman’s story were there in the movie. But the thing that caught me by surprise was how much the film addressed Peter’s father issues.
Perhaps I was already on edge emotionally because I went into the movie already thinking of my father. (My father’s birthday is on July 4th, and I always have him on my mind around this time). So it was a bit heart-wrenching watching Peter Parker grow into manhood while struggling through his abandonment issues. Maybe it was just me, but there are times when the movie played out like a coming-of-age film.
Spiderman had always been my favorite superhero when I was a kid. (To this day, I still have a few comics and I even have an actual framed cell from the Spiderman cartoon hanging on my wall at home.) Spiderman was Stan Lee’s first hero that grew up in front of our eyes. I think what I always liked about Spiderman was that he was a regular kid who struggled to find himself. Peter Parker wasn’t a brilliant billionaire vigilante like Bruce Wayne. He wasn’t some superpowered flying alien from another planet like Superman. He wasn’t a handsome billionaire playboy/genius inventor like Tony Stark. He wasn’t born with mutant superpowers like Wolverine. Peter Parker was just this skinny sarcastic high school kid who made a lot of mistakes. It was refreshingly honest to know that Peter Parker was tempted to use his new-found powers to get revenge on the bullies who picked on him in school. (There are not too many kids I know who would go out and start saving the world right away with their new powers.)
Anyway, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, I recommend you go see it in 3D.
Up next…the last of my superhero movie trifecta…the long-awaited conclusion of THE trilogy…The Dark Knight Rises on July 20