The Amazing Spider-Man — with Marc Webb in the director’s chair and Andrew Garfield as our new Peter Parker/Spider-Man — dips a little further into the Spider-Man well than the Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire trilogy did.
We get the origin story, but this time with Gwen Stacy rather than Mary Jane Watson. We get the Uncle Ben and Aunt May B-story, but with a variation on the classic line, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and we get some intrigue involving Peter’s scientist father, a thread that ties right into this adventure’s villain’s story. And, we get better-than-ever special effects and truly immersive 3D.
Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man
Garfield is winsome and entirely believable as an angsty teenager and a superhero. He and real-life gal-pal Emma Stone generate serious sparks, and Stone, not to knock Kirsten Dunst, is a wonderfully natural talent.
Martin Sheen brings tremendous gravitas to his few minutes as Uncle Ben and Dennis Leary provides welcome comic relief and a working-class fighting spirit to his scenes as Captain Stacy, who’s not just Gwen’s father, but New York City’s top cop, who thinks Spider-Man is nothing more than a masked vigilante and, basically, a criminal.
Character of Dr Curt Connors
Best of all, Webb devotes ample scenes to developing the character of Dr Curt Connors, a scientist who’s desperate to regenerate his amputated right arm. Connors is a good man and he takes a liking to Peter, whose father was his former partner.
Rhys Ifans pulls off the tricky feat of making you like and sympathize with Connors and, thus, compelling you to still feel that humanity when he morphs into the Lizard and the you-know-what hits the fan.
The Amazing Spider-Man‘s problem
The problem with The Amazing Spider-Man is this: it’s a terrific film, a little too long and a touch too slow in parts, but it’s thoroughly entertaining, superbly acted and… didn’t we just see this, right down to the patented Stan Lee cameo?
It’s not just that Raimi started his Spider-Man series barely 10 years ago or he ended his Spidey trio a mere five years, it’s that ALL of these comic-book-based films are starting to blur together. There are too many of them, released too close to one another.
Even if you want to judge The Amazing Spider-Man on its own merits, there’s simply no dismissing the proximity – in time and in structure – of Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The X-Men films, the Fantastic Four flicks, Thor, Iron Man 1 and 2, Captain America, Green Lantern and… you get the idea.
They should probably call The Amazing Spider-Man something a little less grandiose. Maybe, The Really Good, Kinda-Repetitive Spider-Man. That’d do the trick; truth in advertising!