As a craftsman admires another’s craft

Yesterday, I took my nephew to see The Amazing Spiderman for his birthday and I’m confused as to where all the hate for it has come from. Checking The Guardian this morning, I’m glad to see Peter Bradshaw offering a sensible review. It’s an enjoyable watch, that much is irrefutable to me.

***HEREAFTER BE SPOILERERS – YEE’VE BEEN WARNED***

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t emotionally moved beyond all end, it didn’t shatter my world but it wasn’t so bad it was offensive. It was professionally done and I admired various parts of it as a craftsman admires various parts of another’s craft.

***

Since I first saw him in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, I knew that Andrew Garfield was, is, and will continue to be a good actor. For me, he really got the Spidey shtick – that smart-alec, self-effacing kind – while combining it with the awkwardness of a teenager. I even thought his time on screen with Emma Stone was enjoyable – who hasn’t thought about Spidey getting a first kiss like that?

The subway-train revelation of his powers was really enjoyable in a very comic-book like way. It’s a stand-out scene for me.

There are other stand-out scenes: I liked Rhys Ifans‘ first appearance, he was as engaging and warm as Dr. Connors should be.

I must admit, though, that at points I found myself laughing at the operatic nature of the storytelling. The part where the cranes all align so Spidey can get to Osbourne Tower to defeat The Lizard after being shot in the leg was a little too hammy for me to swallow so I found myself laughing even though I didn’t want to.

I also felt that a good deal of the first hour was rushed: the camera itself didn’t want to cut away from certain scenes – especially any with Uncle Ben, Aunt May, or Gwen Stacy – and yet the director made it. Perhaps, in order to focus again on the absence of Spidey’s father, this was intentional but unfortunately it simply gave the impression of trying to cram too much in.

Which isn’t to take away from the professionalism of the camera-work, that was indeed well done. The action scenes that flowed as weirdly, as gangly as I’ve always imagined Spiderman to be were also well done.

Well done, however, doesn’t make for moving.

Though I was unmoved – except by sterling, small moments of Andrew Garfield’s – my nephew was both elated and moved.
Sat next to him, I could feel the shudders of him crying and the deep breaths of awe when Spidey’s fights won out. I am 27, he turns 15. Perhaps, to him, the cinematography didn’t feel rushed – perhaps it felt too slow – because when I asked him how he felt about it afterward, he said “It was AWESOME. I want to see it again.” I could tell there was something he didn’t want to say – probably about how moved he was – and it must be a generational thing.

To those critics who’ve damned it – take your nephew.

To those that have loved it – calm your spurs…it is only a well-made work, it’s too bulky to be a true Spidey.

We’ve another 2 films to find out if Marc Webb can spin as a spider should, yet.

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3 thoughts on “As a craftsman admires another’s craft

  1. Glad you think so, sir. ‘An excellent romp’ is a good way to put it.

    I too thought he was excellent – he’s already been quite challenged with films like Never Let Me Go but I’m wondering when there’s going to be a film which really lets him shine…

    Maybe he needs to age a little? i don’t know. I probably shouldn’t discuss him like he’s wine either…

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