No secret: I’ve been very bearish on the prospects of The Amazing Spider-Man over the past few months, slowly decreasing my expectations for the film on both a level of quality and box office earnings. With that said, my feelings on each:
The movie: Solid. I can’t say that I enjoyed the film more than Raimi’s first two entries in 2002 and 2004, but the at-times-awful marketing campaign of TASM was indeed hiding something of actual substance. Does it feel like a retread at times? Definitely. But does it do the job of re-establishing a universe with all new faces and a slightly different spin on the fate of Peter Parker? Generally, yes. The film is not without its visual flaws (particularly some of the action sequences and CG), but the cast is nothing short of outstanding. Garfield, Stone, Sheen, Leary, and Field all provide excellent character moments on par with some the best moments of Raimi’s film. Granted, the cast is not what I was ever worried about — but the script certainly gave them something to work with. At the end of the day I can say that I’ll probably see this again in theaters, that I’m curious to see where they take the sequels, and that as a Spider-Man fan — I left entertained. The franchise still needs work (a more “cinematic” vision being a key necessity in the next sequel), but this is the film I *wanted* to see in 2007. Kudos for that, Sony and co. But there’s still some work to do.
Box office: With an estimated $35 million opening day, its clear that the Spider-Man brand is still relatively bulletproof. Its anyone’s guess as to where the film winds up (as a reboot to a modern franchise, we’re still in somewhat new territory here), but if it follows the pace of 2007′s Transformers (which opened the Tuesday before Independence Day), it has a legitimate shot at $275-300 million — pending word of mouth. I maintain that the film has some quiet moments that make it a little less kid-friendly than first three films or something like The Avengers, as well as the fact that The Dark Knight Rises will immediately cut off adult interest in the film two weeks from now, but the fact remains that the reviews are decent and audiences are generally enjoying the film on some level.
Win some, lose some. Its nice to be wrong about things sometimes because that’s how I find the best lessons are learned. I bought into some of the pre-release negative buzz on the film and — in some ways — began to judge it based solely on what I still feel was an incredibly flawed marketing campaign. I’m happy to say, as a fan of the character, that a lot of that negative buzz was bull$#@!. It happens to us all, and I’m glad that a lot of it proved to be (in my opinion) untrue — or at least “misleading”.
I won’t defend the flaws of the film, and I won’t defend the hit-and-miss marketing campaign. But this opening day is a testament to the power of the character. Even when considering that it has inflation, 3D, and IMAX prices on its side, its still a reboot of a well-established franchise that only left the big screen five years ago — with a poorly received film, at that. It featured new faces and, above all, it attempted to convince us that we as audiences should see a remake of a great movie that’s only ten years old. Mission: successful. It may not be a superior film from my point of view, and I may still wish that Marvel had full control of the Spider-Man film franchise, but The Amazing Spider-Man turned out to be something that I can only say about two or three other movies this summer: it was worth the price of admission.