MOVIE REVIEW: “The Amazing Spider-Man” a better but still flawed reboot
“The Amazing Spider-Man” is, in many ways, as heroic and immature as Peter Parker.
Director Mark Webb’s (“(500) Days of Summer”) reboot of Sam Raimi’s trilogy is thoughtful, marvelously acted and, well, amazing. But it lacks the depth and focus to fully re-define the origins of one of the world’s most beloved superheroes.
To be fair, any Spider-Man reboot was going to be as outnumbered as the web-head vs. the Sinister Six. It would have to contend with comparisons to Raimi’s films, which, well-made or not, did establish Spider-Man in popular culture for movie-goers. It would also have to fight for the spotlight amongst this summer’s mammoth superhero flicks: “The Avengers” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” And it would have to meet the high expectations of Spidey’s millions of fans, young and old alike.
Being one of those fans myself, I do think this film a better version than the 2002 original. At times, it felt like a new girlfriend showing up in your ex’s clothes; but overall it captured the essence of a younger, inexperienced Peter Parker bravely trying to come to terms with the great power and responsibilities of being Spider-Man.
The great acting makes the characters of the Spider-Man universe feel like real people. Andrew Garfield plays Peter as a sweet-natured yet cheeky outsider, who feels more like a punk than a nerd. The lovely Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) has the right chemistry for him, and it’s enjoyable watching their romance spark. The film also boasts an A-list supporting cast with veteran talent like Martin Sheen, Sally Field and Denis Leary.
The plot is essentially true to the well-known origin, but with different emphasis. The story begins as Peter’s search to uncover his parents disappearance. This leads him to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s old colleague, and Oscorp Industries, home to all things villainous in Spidey’s world.
Naturally, we see the fateful trip to the lab, the bite from the radioactive spider, and the irresponsible behavior leading to the death of Uncle Ben. But all the major moments feels rushed. The real emotional scenes happen in the filler.
The film has its humor, but the writing doesn’t compare to the brilliant wit of Joss Whedon, or the psychological depth of Christopher Nolan. What it does excel at is giving the audience all Spidey’s glorious acrobatic fighting style and web swinging skills.
A major flaw, however, is the way the film intricately weaves in many different plot-lines in it’s web, but then never wraps them up. Peter never catches the killer, never really finds out what happened to his parents and never finds out what’s up with the mysterious and apparently dying Norman Osborn.
But not to worry, Spidey-fans. A post-credits scene reveals that Spidey’s troubles with Oscorp have only just begun.
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