Entertaining, But Not Too Amazing
I will freely admit that I was a bit uncertain about going to see The Amazing Spider-Man movie. First off, the costume wasn’t impressing me. I’m not so much a purist that I demand every single detail in a comic book-based movie has to be perfect, but if they do effect a change—I do demand that it has a good reason; say aesthetically. And frankly, it wasn’t. The costume looked stupid in my opinion. Clearly one of Spider-Man's superpowers is not fashion design or the ability to sew.
I was also unsure as to why they were bothering to reboot the franchise. There are several reasons to do so; it’s too old, the series of movies were horrible, the writers wrote themselves into a deep, deep hole… I believed that they would simply be retreading ground that had already been covered by Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man and covered rather well.
However, this movie retold Spider-Man’s story by putting him back in his high school days and while I admit that I missed Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the inclusion of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) was more than a perfectly acceptable replacement. In fact, I thought Gwen was a much stronger and more interesting character dynamic with her father being a police officer/captain who embraces a stern disdain for vigilantes and Spider-Man in particular.
I also liked how the writers focused on Peter Parker’s parents who were barely given a mention in the first series. I was extremely uncertain as to Tobey Maguire’s replacement of Andrew Garfield; but I was pleasantly surprised as I actually thought he portrayed a much better Peter Parker. He was a lot more goofier, geekier, and much more awkward than Maguire and I found his sarcastic wit as Spider-Man to be rather funny and a new cast to the character. Maguire was able to convey being an emotional loner and suitably heroic as Spidey, but he never seemed to be a comedian.
The fact that Peter never captured the robber who shot his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) was also a good plot point that it gave Peter motivation towards capturing criminals and ultimately learning how to become a hero. I also found that Sheen was a much more interesting Uncle Ben with a sense of humor as Raimi’s version never really got developed too much before he was killed off.
The rest of the storyline was done well enough and the rest of the actors did an excellent job. However the rest of the special effects were only so-so in my opinion. The action scenes of Spidey included a lot more dazzling acrobatics than Raimi’s, but Spider-Man always seemed much more powerful, inhumanly flexible and nimble, and more superhuman than this version did—who appeared much more limited and human. I also felt the character design of the Lizard wasn’t quite menacing enough. The Lizard looked more strange than something scary and monstrous. Plus, I did mention this earlier that I simply did not like Spider-Man’s costume.
Basically, the film is entertaining fair, but it won’t shock you or amaze you.
RATING: 3 and 1/2 STARS.