Where’d the time go? It was only a couple of weeks ago that I was interviewing 3ality Technica chief Steve Schklair about his company’s work on The Amazing Spider-Man. At the time it seemed an aeon away. Now the webbed wonder is just hours from taking up residence in theaters around the country. Will this be one of the big event movies of the summer? I think it will be, and here’s a few reasons why:
1. Glorious 3-D: Despite my lukewarm feelings about Prometheus, I was left awestruck by the 3-d effects. It felt organic; like it absorbed me completely. 3ality Technica was the same company that did the 3-D for Prometheus, so I’m expecting quite a show.
2. Action and Romance: Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb’s other big feature film was the quirky but overall likeable (500) Days of Summer. He’s also got the stylistic action angle covered, too: Webb made his bones directing rock videos for some of popular music’s biggest names. If anyone can handle the kindling romance between Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker – and balance it with web=slinging action – it’s Webb.
3. Monster! Even people who aren’t big on comic book heroes will probably be drawn in to watch Spidey fight a gruesome lizard-man. Plus, The Lizard is a semi-tragic figure. Why? Wait and see, Spider-Man neophytes.
4. Star Power: Andrew Garfield is a known talent with several big productions under his belt (The Social Network, Never Let Me Go), and – wow – where do I even begin with Emma Stone? Gorgeous and unbelievably talented, Stone’s star power will ensure that Gwen Stacy is no mere mandatory “love interest.” And you want to talk about star power: Martin Sheen and Sally Field are playing Uncle Ben and Aunt May, for Pete’s sake. Rhys Ifans is a bit of a wild card, admittedly, but I think with a character like Dr. Curt Connors, this is going to work in the film’s favor.
5. Name Recognition: There are maybe a half dozen super heroes that the uninitiated, average filmgoer can name off the top of his or her head, and Spider-Man is probably going to be among the first three. Everyone knows Spidey, and they’ll be willing to give a new film a shot just on that basis alone.
6. Solid Art Direction: At least half of making a good fantasy film is ensuring that it looks right, and the film’s supervising art director, Dave F. Klassen, is associated with several big productions, among them Django Unchained and both of the Iron Man films.
7. Humor: From early reports, The Amazing Spider-Man captures an essential element that was mostly neglected in Sam Raimi’s films: Spider-Man’s smart-Alec sense of humor. Comic book readers know that Spider-Man is as notorious for his sarcasm and taunting jokes as he is his web-shooters and acrobatic ability.
8. Faithfulness to the Source Material: It might seem like a small thing to some, but Raimi’s organic interpretation of Spider-Man’s web-shooters irked many hardcore fans. It looks like this movie will showcase Parker’s amazing technological aptitude as well as his mutant abilities. Spidey’s good at science: It’s an essential part of his character.
9. Pure Curiosity: Many movie-goers will be curious as to whether The Amazing Spider-Man will be able to reinvigorate the once-popular franchise. I think it will.