Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written By: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 2 hr 16 min
Marc Webb’s Spider-Man origin story arrives ten years after Sam Raimi’s back in 2002, and only five years after the complete misfire Spider-Man 3. So why is the teenage hero back so soon?
Well there is the rights reversion thing that would allow another company *cough* Marvel to potentially re-acquire the rights to the Spider-Man property IF Sony Pictures didn’t produce another movie. There’s also the story that Sony were actually intending to release a fourth installment of their current franchise, but that deal fell apart. The real reason though has to be box-office gold. Tobey Maguire’s turn as Spider-Man made over three billion dollars at the world box office. The first two films are also critically acclaimed so when you have a property like that, you don’t leave it on the shelf very long.
Does it hurt The Amazing Spider-Man being released so soon after the last franchise ended? Maybe. With the last franchise still fresh in the memory, it’s a lot easier to start making comparisons as the new film plays through. Tobey Maguire versus Andrew Garfield, Marc Webb versus Sam Raimi, origin story comparisons, love interest comparisons. No doubt we’ve ended up with folks either being in the Webb camp, or team Raimi.
I would describe Marc Webb’s Spider-Man as a solid first effort. I enjoyed the alternate take on the origin story, and the mystery surrounding Peter Parker’s father. I thought Andrew Garfield played the part of the confused teenager with emerging super abilities very well, and he brings a lot more emotional resonance to the role. Rhys Ifans is also very well cast as a nicely developed villain , The Lizard, and I thought his journey and motives were clear and believable. The only slight casting mishap I found was with Emma Stone as Peter Parker’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy. At 24 years old when this movie was made, she almost looked the part of a high school senior, but I found she played the role with the poise and confidence of a much older person, and I’d sooner believe she was a teacher at the school than one of the students.
The Amazing Spider-Man for me was a collection of great moments that never seemed to connect. The film also frequently loses momentum to develop several subplots not entirely essential to the larger story.
If you’re a fan of the Spider-Man comic book character, I think you’ll be happy with this movie. It serves the character well, and restores Spider-Man’s web-slingers as wearable devices instead of the last franchises decision to make web production a byproduct of the genetic mutation. I thought the last franchises take on the origin story was more entertaining as a whole, but this versions extra detail about Peter’s father was appreciated.
Best viewing format:
This is big budget summer movie, so a large screen is ideal. At home a HD viewing is recommended. Watching this on a laptop, tablet or phone will reduce its impact.
When Spider-Man saves the child from the burning mini-van hanging from a bridge. I also really enjoyed Stan Lee’s cameo in this as the school librarian listening to music while Spider-Man and The Lizard battle behind him. Possibly the best Stan Lee cameo I’ve seen to date.