When I previously discussed The Amazing Spider-Man, I had this to say:
I like that we’re actually going to see Peter’s parents (who are completely absent from the previous three films).
Plus, I really like the poster they’ve released, and it seems like they’re focusing on a different aspect of Spider-Man’s past (Gwen Stacy instead of Mary Jane, for example). And it’s certainly not impossible for a reboot to be just as good as (or even better than) the original.
For God’s sake, Spider-Man came out in 2002. 2002!! It’s only just now been ten years. Why in the name of sanity are they remaking it FROM THE BEGINNING? EVERYBODY REMEMBERS THE ORIGIN STORY, GANG.
However, the Marvel fangirl side of my personality won out, and my brother, with whom I have discussed every superhero movie to come out in the past decade in excruciating detail, gave it a rave review. Thus, my roommates and I went to see it last weekend.
Did they redo the origin story? Yes.
Did it bore me a tad? Yes.
But did it work? Absolutely.
For the first time (at least, for the first time in the movies), we get to see Peter’s parents, however briefly. We get to see why he lives with Uncle Ben and Aunt May, answering a little question that nevertheless adds an extra facet to the story that most of us know.
And while the general gist of the origin story remains the same, enough has changed—and enough of it falls on Peter’s shoulders—that it brings with it more emotional resonance than the first time around. In particular, the convenience store robbery and the events that precede Uncle Ben’s death rest a lot more on Peter’s shoulders.
Andrew Garfield is a perfect choice for Peter Parker. He’s rebellious, awkward, and far too smart for his own good. He’s not particularly popular nor particularly picked on, except when he stands up for the others who are.
The love interest in this movie is not Spider-Man’s perennial love, Mary Jane, but Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). I liked her a lot more than MJ from the previous films because she was far from a damsel in distress. She wasn’t kidnapped and didn’t scream herself hoarse. She helped Peter, as one of his few allies.
Gwen and Peter have a couple of great moments with some endearingly awkward teenage dialogue, and even more great moments after they’re caught up in the Lizard’s plot, Peter because he feels responsible and Gwen because she wants to help him.
And, as you probably guessed, Denis Leary is fantastic as Gwen’s father, the police captain who sees Spider-Man as a vengeance-fueled vigilante. Equally good is Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/the Lizard, a villain who is an old colleague of Peter’s father. The secrets of what Connors and the elder Parker worked on at OsCorp will probably go on into the second movie (because you know there’ll be a sequel).
Plus, Spider-Man’s fighting style gets an upgrade for this movie. He’s back to the mechanical web shooters, but he uses that webbing a lot more when he fights and in much more creative ways. He seemed to be a lot more agile and he made more wisecracks, much more like the Spidey from the comics.
All that being said, there were aspects I didn’t like. The CGI was a little obvious at times, and I didn’t care for the first-person POV shots where Spider-Man was rocketing through the streets of Manhattan. They made me dizzy, and it was difficult to tell what was going on. (Fortunately, those shots are few and far between.)
Also, the score wasn’t quite as good as it was with the previous films. That’s not to say it was bad, but it wasn’t as memorable.
My roommate Jon, who is a huge fan of Marvel comics and of Spider-Man in particular, was THRILLED with this movie. (To say he hated the previous three films is an understatement, as any time “Spider-Man” and “movies” are brought up anywhere CLOSE to the same sentence, he goes on a ten-minute rant about how much he hated Tobey Maguire. I wish I were exaggerating.)
And really, The Amazing Spider-Man does a brilliant job of washing away the stain of Spider-Man 3. It’s definitely one of the better superhero films to come out.
Take the opportunity to see it while it’s still in theaters.