‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Movie Review – We’ve Seen This Before
This week in should-there-be-a-reboot news, we get the opening of Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Even though Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy ended just five years ago, we already are getting a reboot. And while there were redeeming qualities, and the film is better than at least Spider-Man 3 (although, is that saying much?), it’s very tough for me to like this film. I tried really hard, but I have to let my true feelings out: The Amazing Spider-Man just wasn’t the movie it could have been.
Placing the blame is tough, too, since I like the talent (especially Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone), the director (Webb, from (500) Days of Summer), and the genre. When it comes down to it, the film sputters because it is a reboot, playing a little too close to the original and being bogged down simply because it has to be an origin story.
For those interested in the plot, Peter Parker (Garfield) has a transformation from punky/nerdy Peter to superawesome spider-like Peter. I’ll leave the specifics up to your viewing, but the rest of the story is supposed to deal with him handling both his personas.
His love interest, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), is a fellow high school student who works with Peter’s dad’s colleague, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). Dr. Connors’ organization is working on an experimental process that uses cross-animal methods to genetically alter species, with his end goal being the restoration of his lost arm. The process, though, has unforeseen consequences.
Like I’ve said, though, The Amazing Spider-Man has to retell the story we already got 10 years ago in Spider-Man. It’s not frame-for-frame the same movie, but the key points are still there – with a different love interest.
While I’m here, I will praise Stacy over Mary Jane, simply because she’s more independent, making it less of a hero-saving-the-chick cliche. This doesn’t, though, change the fact that Stacy disappears for a good portion of the film, and I actually forgot she was in the movie at one point.
Back to the origins, Parker again struggles with his newfound powers as he tries to make sense of his parents’ disappearance and his uncle’s senseless murder. He transforms from no powers to super powers in hopes to do good in the world. Garfield himself is a good actor. He is especially good when he plays the nerdier Peter Parker because he can play a similar character to his The Social Network role.
But…that doesn’t make it easier to believe he is the fractured person he is supposed to be. Not only does this movie look nothing like a real high school, but Garfield (and Peter Parker) looks like he should be graduating college. Also, there’s no way he would have a problem scoring with the ladies either. The movie partly hinges on whether you can believe this.
I should touch on the villain, too. It’s a bit unfortunate we’re not given too much background on The Lizard. Aesthetically, he looks good, but I don’t quite buy why he is a villain. Now, I could’ve missed something, but the sign of a good antagonist is the justification. In the case of The Amazing Spider-Man, I’m not so sure we’re given a story worth believing.
And believability is a huge part to me. I think other superhero and action movies have portrayed this before, but it’s still close to a 50-50 success rate – for every successful one, there is an unsuccessful one. In this case, I really wanted to like it, but I simply didn’t.
Unlike this year’s Big Three (The Hunger Games, The Avengers, and Prometheus), Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man can’t quite overcome the preparation and anticipation. The performances are decent, but the motivations don’t hold up. Then, when the movie must over-explain the origins, it sputters to a conclusion. It may look good to some, but I’m not sure it justifies a complete reboot quite yet.