Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans
Look, I don’t know about ‘amazing.’
With Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 dangling just five years previous to the latest reboot of Spidey’s origin story, The Amazing Spider-Man needed to have swung in a more distinctive and original direction if it was going to be anything close to amazing. But despite this, The Amazing Spider-Man does have its amusing moments, and with the help of a charming Andrew Garfield and (yeah, I guess) Emma Stone, this latest comic-book flick has its likeable qualities along with its sticky problems.
Marc Webb’s Spider-Man takes Peter Parker’s (Garfield) story all the way back to a traumatic childhood memory. As his genetic scientist father and mother have to bail on Peter because of a deadly secret algorithm, little Peter is left in the care of his Uncle Ben (the loveable Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) – a cute couple if ever there was one. When he grows to be a lanky outsider in high school, Peter discovers his father’s briefcase and picks up where his father left off on the algorithm work – leading his father’s partner, Curt Connors (Ifans) to a cross-genetic solution that ultimately turns the great scientist into a gigantic, angry, and power-hungry lizard. Oh, and of course, at some point, Peter gets bitten by a radioactive spider, which gives him lots of power, and lots of responsibility (thanks Uncle Ben).
What seems to set the standard for judging the latest Spider-Man is how much it sets itself apart from Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man. But even after swapping Peter Parker’s uber awkwardness with a skateboard, and the Green Goblin with a big Green croc-lizard, The Amazing Spider-Man actually does little in making its plot worthy reboot material.
For one thing, The Amazing Spider-Man under-develops a lot of promising plot twists and surprises – getting caught up in its own sporadic moments of humor and 3D spectacle to weave an engaging story. Spending far too much time on exposition, and not enough time on ideas and themes that deserved attention, The Amazing Spider-Man simply recycles what we got from the Raimi’sSpider-Man and does so without much creativity or originality.
But like any other comic book-turned-movie franchise, you can’t help but enjoy the karate chop action and explosions that divert our attention from the plot holes and hiccups. Balancing a good amount of physical combat with large scale 3D swings, The Amazing Spider-Man does deliver fun action – even if it isn’t that much of an improvement from Tobey Maguire’s flips and kicks.
It’s no Dark Knight, but The Amazing Spider-Man will spin what audiences came for – Andrew Garfield, smartass Spidey lines, and crocodile wrestling.