"Who Is Spider-Man?"
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a darker, more mature action-packed reboot of the SPIDER-MAN franchise without the humorous fun of the original. It tells supposedly the untold story of Peter Parker. It has very strong moral content reflecting the first SPIDER-MAN movie where Peter’s told to do good things, and Peter learns he has a moral duty to do good, but it leaves out the strong Christian references of the first movie and the dialogue is not as sharp.
The movie opens with a little Peter playing hide and seek with his parents. When he goes looking in his father’s office, it’s been trashed. Someone is trying to capture and kill his parents. His father, a genetic scientist who runs a research company with his partner, Kurt Connors, escapes with his top secret notes, Peter, and his wife. He drops Peter off with the notes with Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Peter’s parents disappear, never to be heard from again. Peter finds out later they died in a car crash.
As a teenage high school student, Peter is the school photographer. He has his eye on the prettiest girl in the school, Gwen Stacy. When the school bully, Flash, starts beating up on another classmate, Peter intervenes and gets badly beaten. Gwen, of course, comes to Peter’s aid. Peter is not so much a nerd as he is a skateboarder.
A flood in Uncle Ben and Aunt May’s house reveals Peter’s father’s briefcase with a secret pocket that includes the secret notes. Peter finds out his father had a partner, Curt Connors, who runs a genetics research firm called OsCorp. He goes to meet Connors and joins a group of potential interns led by Connors’ intern assistant, Gwen.
When Connors introduces himself to the interns, Peter answers a question that reveals he knows a lot about genetic engineering. Connors has lost one arm and is desperate to find a way to get lizard genes into his body so he can grow back his arm. Peter finds out his father had designed a device to scatter genetic materials throughout the city to make people invincible to disease, but he’s told the same device can be used for nefarious purposes.
Peter goes snooping around OsCorp and gets bitten by one of his father’s genetically engineered spiders. This of course turns him into Spider-Man.
Meanwhile, Aunt May and Uncle Ben grow worried about Peter’s gallivanting. Uncle Ben follows him, only to get killed by a petty thief. As Spider-Man, Peter goes on a crusade to find Uncle Ben’s killer. In the process, he angers Gwen’s father, Police Captain Stacy.
Still trying to make sense of everything, Peter goes to Dr. Connors and reveals to Connors his father’s formula, which allows genetic mutation to take place. The owner of OsCorp is about to pull his funding, so Connors injects himself with lizard genes and turns into a lizard who’s slightly bigger than the average man. He goes on a rampage to find and kill the OsCorp owner. Peter tries to stop him, and they get locked into an epic battle.
Eventually, Connors finds out who Peter is and is determined to kill him. Captain Stacy thinks Peter is the villain and is determined to kill Peter. Then, Connors plans to turn everyone into lizards. Can they stop Lizard Man? Will Captain Stacy let Peter go? Will Gwen survive Lizard Man?
The good news is that THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is very moral. Only one line suggests otherwise when Peter says he won’t keep his promise. However, this movie doesn’t deal with that. Most of the messages are Peter’s uncle and then his aunt telling him to do good things, that doing good things is a duty, and doing the right thing is not a choice. Thus, Peter goes through a tremendous, inspiring character arc from a revengeful teenager to a self-sacrificial, redemptive hero.
The action in SPIDER-MAN is almost non-stop. The CGI 3D IMAX is terrific. The direction and acting is very good. All this makes the movie very exciting.
Regrettably, the dialogue is usually serious and doesn’t have any of the humor that made the previous SPIDER-MAN movies so interesting. Walt Disney once said for every tear there has to be a laugh. The movie needed more laughter. Furthermore, the dialogue is not as clever and inspired as the original.
Also, although the movie sets up the villain right at the beginning, the development of the story delays the emergence of Lizard Man, who is Dr. Conner’s alter ego. Furthermore, although there’s a lot of action, there’s a lot of dramatic exposition. Finally, the original movie had much more of a playful attitude toward the romance between Peter and Mary Jane. Here, Peter and Gwen get passionate early in the story and have several passionate kisses, although Peter eventually decides to do the right thing.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is an extremely well made, entertaining movie, but it’s like the James Bond series when it changes the hero. There will be those SPIDER-MAN fans who don’t appreciate the changes. It must be pointed out THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN didn’t have as strong overt Christian content as the first three movies, but there is Christian content and even some strong patriotic content.
In the final analysis, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is worth watching, with a caution for children. Marvel is to be commended for continuing to see the world through a moral lens. However, if you really want to be entertained watch the original SPIDER-MAN.
(BBB, C, PP, Ev, L, VV, DD, M) Very strong moral worldview with light Christian undertones, redemptive and transformational elements, strong patriotic elements, and very light hints of evolution and the proposition of genetic mutation; three light obscenities and two light profanities (OMGs); lots of action violence, some of it darker than previous SPIDER-MAN movies, showing a little more blood with Spider-Man getting hurt, bully beats up Peter Parker, Peter Parker gets revenge against bully, uncle shot, Spider-Man goes on revenge kick until he learns how to be good, lizard man claws and rips apart people, people turn into lizards, people fall from great heights, people caught in burning cars, lizard rips cars apart, and people with gashes and claw marks in constant action adventure format; no explicit sex implied or depicted but French kissing several times between Peter Parker and his girlfriend; no real nudity, but some torn shirts; no alcohol use; no smoking but shooting up with genetic material to become more powerful but it’s seen as bad; and, hero indicates he may break his promise, bullying, bigotry, deception.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a darker, more mature action-packed reboot of the SPIDER-MAN franchise. A teenage Peter Parker goes searching for clues to his parents’ disappearance years ago. Peter goes snooping around the genetics company where his father’s former partner, Curt Connors, works. Dr. Connors only has one arm. While snooping, a genetically engineered spider bites Peter. This of course turns him into Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Aunt May and Uncle Ben grow worried about Peter. Uncle Ben follows him, only to get killed by a petty thief. As Spider-Man, Peter goes on a crusade to find Uncle Ben’s killer. Eventually, Dr. Connors injects himself with lizard genes to restore his missing arm, but this turns him into a violent monster. An epic battle ensues.
The action in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is non-stop. The 3D CGI is terrific. The direction and acting are very good. All this makes the movie very exciting. The movie’s a little darker, however, and could have used more humor. But, though the Christian content is lighter, the movie still has strong moral, patriotic values. In the end, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is well worth watching, with a caution for children.