Review: The Amazing Spider-Man
What We ThoughtGenre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
What We Liked :Character Relationships, Original Material
What We Disliked:Rehashed too much, Plot lacking, Forgettable soundtrack
The Amazing Spider-Man was better than it had any right to be, though rehashing too much material was still disappointing.
Rebooting a franchise is always a difficult procedure. How much of the same story do you show audiences? How soon is too soon to reboot a movie series? The Amazing Spider-Man is the latest series to receive the reboot treatment, but does it justify its existence or does further deteriorate the superhero?
The Amazing-Spider Man follows the life of high-school student, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield). Peter’s Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) have raised him from a child, after his parents quickly got out of town. Life at school is tough for Peter. He’s pushed around and seen as a typical geek. He also has a pretty strong crush for heartthrob Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone). His hopes of actually getting her attention are slim at best.
Peter is obsessed with unraveling the secrets behind his parent’s disappearance. After finding some documents that his father had left behind, Peter heads to the scientific monolith that is Oscorp Tower. Peter determines if he can talk to his father’s former partner, Dr. Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans), that perhaps he can discover what his father was trying to hide. Dr. Connors has been continuing the research interspecies genetic mutation, but was always missing the secret. Peter has provided him with the equation he was missing. Then just like ten years ago, Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider transforming him into the hero Spider-Man.
The strength of the reboot lies in the interactions between Peter and Gwen. Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) proved his prowess in romantic entanglements with his previous film. The chemistry that Garfield and Stone share in the movie feels real and they make a much better pair then Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Their romance feels young and exciting which is a major plus for this film, where the original Spider-Man saga seemed eager to bring the characters out of high school. Sony Pictures has been very vocal about their new direction for the Spider-Man series and the romance is more impressive than the action.
That’s not to say Marc Webb didn’t try to create a visual spectacle. There are very specific shots in The Amazing Spider-Man that seem made for 3D. It’s very easy to pinpoint why exactly those shots exist. A sequence earlier in the film with Peter riding his skateboard, with musical accompaniment from Coldplay, seems to be a result of this vision. Also, a shot where Spider-Man struggles to get to Oscorp Tower falls into this issue.
Maybe Marc Webb was pigeon-holed into using The Lizard for this entry, but there had to be a better way to go about those combat sequences. Police Chief Stacey (Denis Leary) makes jokes about Godzilla, but it unfortunately the picture feels very close to that idea. The Lizard character has some memorable sequences and they stay true to the character, but the double talk that the character is known for gave this reviewer too many flashbacks to the earlier franchise.
The Amazing Spider-Man was better than it had any right to be. After a mostly rehashed first hour, the film’s original material was strong enough to make it worth the recap. No offensive to Marc Webb, but I’d like to see a different director for the inevitable sequel. While his character building was impressive, he might not have been the right choice for an action extravaganza. The Amazing Spider-Man is more true to the original comics and is a solid foundation for future entries. Hopefully, the next film will be able to fully make its own way without comparisons to an earlier entry.