My take on The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises

My take on The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises

During the Silver Age of comics, most readers were either DC fans or Marvel fans.

The division was pretty simple, at least in the beginning. DC heroes were very different from regular people, typically with different motivations. Marvel heroes (especially Spider-Man and the X-Men) were regular people (you know, outside of the super-powers)…they had to pay the rent, maintain relationships, buy groceries, that kind of thing.

At the time, I preferred DC: I didn’t want my superheroes to have acne. 🙂

That’s part of why it’s so interesting to look at the latest blockbusters from Marvel and DC.

Sure, Peter Parker is angsty in The Amazing Spider-Man…but it’s a very accessible movie. It isn’t hard to watch…that’s more like the Silver Age DC heroes.

On the other hand, Batman, in The Dark Knight Rises, is anything but easy. It’s part of what I haven’t liked about Christian Bale’s interpretation. I was telling people that I wouldn’t want a ten-year old to watch the last movie, The Dark Knight, because I wouldn’t want them to be afraid of Batman for the rest of their lives. 😉

No question: The Dark Knight Rises is an infinitely more complex movie. My favorite thing in entertainment is to be surprised, and that didn’t happen once for me in The Amazing Spider-Man. The Dark Knight Rises did surprise me, and more than once.

That said, The Amazing Spider-Man was entertaining. I would have loved to have seen more from the characters, which is not the fault of the actors. I think Emma Stone is magic, and I could watch Stone in anything. However, I think Emma made a conscious choice to play Gwen Stacy as a “typical high school girl”. In the script, this is a much more complex character…child of a police captain, in a leadership position in a science intern program…and dating Spider-Man. It felt to me like there was a lot more opportunity, but director Marc Webb seemed to want to keep everything in a certain emotional stratum.

I was concerned about the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. For me, one of the core elements is that Catwoman likes to see people suffer…not just likes it, but enjoys it. It’s like the idea of the cat and mouse game…playing with your victim. I thought, “If Hathaway can give me that vibe, I’ll really be impressed with the acting…because I’ve never seen that from Hathaway in interviews or roles.” Well, it didn’t happen. Julie Newmar is the gold standard for me…people talk about how Newmar looked, but you can see how delicious pain is, and how social standards are only there to be manipulated.

The Dark Knight Rises will stay with you. Tom Hardy’s Bane is a great performance, and there are surreal scenes of social commentary. It’s a full seven course meal. The Amazing Spider-Man is like a dish of ice cream…you love it at the time, it’s satisfying…but you aren’t really thinking about it the next day.

While The Dark Knight Rises hits higher heights, it also had more rough spots for me than the Amazing Spider-Man.

Bottom line: I liked both movies. The Dark Knight Rises is much more ambitious, and deserves credit for that. It will get more critical praise, and probably more recognition in awards season.  The Amazing Spider-Man, though, delivered on all of its goals…and fun counts. 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


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