4.45 out of 5 Stars
I remember going to see The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield in theaters, so I was really worried stepping into the movies to see this one. I had seen the trailers, and watched some interviews, and saw that it was getting good reviews online, but I was still on the cautious side, because I had really liked the other movies.
I really had nothing to worry about. This movie portrayed Spidey in a way that was younger and more geeky, which is different from the others, but I liked this aspect because it made it so much easier to suspend my disbelief about a 15 year-old super hero and it drove home the magnitude of what Peter Parker did, all because it seemed more realistic for someone of that age. It didn't take away from the hero complex of the character either. If anything, they emphasized it by putting the character of Spider-Man in juxtaposition with Tony Stark and having Peter really want to join the Avengers. It modeled a father and son dynamic which increased the motivation to do good in the city.
What's taking away from this movie is that I feel like there are a few too many stereotypical tropes played out. Granted, these things are stereotypical for a reason, and Marvel does call itself out on it at one point via Tony Stark, but I thought it still was a bit too heavy handed. They had the moments, hero underappreciated by those he wants it from, hero has a moment where he messes up, hero has revelation about who he is, etc. etc. That's all fine and good, but the way they made it in this movie seemed too on the nose to me.
One of the scenes that I both applaud Marvel for, but also am mentally giving them the side eye for, is the scene with the elevator. Ummmmm.... I don't know about other viewers, but I watched that and all I could think of was Gwen Stacy dying at the bottom of an elevator shaft in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Oh my word, love the cameo, but dang it was kinda cruel. Also, I loved the branzino reference, also from the other Spider-Man movies.
Michael Keaton as the villain was fantastic. I loved his character, partly because he was a real person without some weird scientific mishap, and partly because Michael Keaton did a great job with it. It was so good because it gave the villain a genuine reason to be doing what he was doing. This is not to justify was he did, but the motivation was good, so in a way the villain is not completely damnable. Still is, and I'm glad that Peter got him in prison, but he isn't a complete sociopath either. I'm interested to see where his character goes though because if you stuck around for the after credits (like you should) there is that scene where he doesn't give up Peter's identity, but he still has this evil look in his eye, like, "I'll be the one getting revenge". Cue evil laughter... I wonder if they'll carry his character immediately into the next Spidey movie?
The fight scenes in this movie were really great. I loved seeing Spidey flip all over the place and learn how to fight against the new alien tech weapons. My favorite fight scene would have to be when he and the Vulture were both outside the jet and from the moment they engaged out there to the moment the fight ends on the beach, I just loved it. It wasn't too fast or too slow and while I think Peter would be more injured than how he is shown, the fight was really well balanced and a great end to that plot line.
Lastly, I loved Tony Stark in this movie. I already touched on the father-son dynamic he and Peter seem to have, but what I really loved about his role in this movie is that it was light and sarcastic again, like from the first Iron Man movie. He has that sarcasm in all of the movies, but some of the later ones it feels more forced; but in this movie, it was just natural and flowed so much easier, like how it does in Stark's first movie. My only question concerning his character is, how does he know Mae? He references her in the beginning and obviously he has to have known Peter from somewhere, but did they ever mention that, either in this movie or in Captain America: Civil War?
I feel like Andrew Garfield will forever be my Spider-Man (like how Whovians have their Doctors ***coughDavidTennantcough***), but Tom Holland definitely pulled off this role so spectacularly that I will definitely watch the rest of his movies and I am really looking forward to seeing him with the other Marvel heroes. He was nerdy, he was funny, he was younger, and he without a doubt made the role his own. I think that is the greatest success of the entire movie. Everyone in the cast did great, but really I think Tom had the greatest challenge with two major predecessors and consequentially had the greatest success by still managing to create a role for his own Spider-Man.
I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did and thanks for reading!