I stand before you tonight, feet dirty because I promised my housemate I’d water her (rather sad) garden for a few days while she’s out of town. I also stand before you slightly pale from spending the majority of the weekend inside, researching. I also stand before you humbled (to get to my point), because after ranting, rather unattractively, about why I generally don’t like superhero movies (see this post: Super), I saw The Amazing Spider-Man (I guess I should get aboard the hyphen train, like a good English major) last night. And I liked it a lot.
Here’s what I liked:
1. Andrew Garfield. I’ve seen him in Never Let Me Go, which I viewed en route from Montreal to London. There were a few sex scenes, which I earnestly tried to shield (using everything from my hands to my empty bag of complementary pretzels) from the kindly old gentleman next to me. I’ve also seen him in The Social Network. In The Social Network, he does this scene:
And in Spider-Man, he’s similarly good, if generally less angry. He does this strange, half-anguished, slightly twitchy dip of the head when he’s trying to talk to love interest Gwen, for example. If you’ve been to a co-ed high school, you’ve probably seen the sequence a few times. It’s terribly endearing, and is why I like him as Spider-man. Because I believed he was a teenager, and what’s more impressive, I believed that he was a teenager who was suddenly injected with superhuman powers, and who had to figure out how to balance both. And because Garfield’s Spider-man doesn’t dive into the whole saving people thing. He focuses on what’s important to him: getting the girl and discovering the secret of his father’s research. It’s only at the end when he realizes that bigger things are at stake, and that he’s likely the only one who can confront them.
2. Cue my favorite part of the film: when the cranes are released by grateful citizens, so an injured Spider-man can swing to the rescue.
3. Emma Stone. What do I say about Emma Stone? She’s funny. She’s spunky. She’s a better match for Peter Parker than the simpering Mary Jane.
4. The story moved fast enough to hold attention, but wasn’t afraid to spend time on purely humorous scenes, like the one where a newly web-endowed Parker attempts to brush his teeth, and ends up accidentally destroying the bathroom.
5. The special effects were good, of course, but it didn’t feel like the movie had been made purely to showcase them. They were folded in, and pulled out appropriately (when they would enhance the scene).
5. Okay I’m out of reasons. But I liked it, really, and I didn’t even get to see it in 3D (the Morris Theatre isn’t there yet).