Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man - Movie Review

Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz.  Directed by Marc Webb.


This was a reboot I didn't think I wanted, but now I know I did.  Of course we don't "need" a Spider-Man reboot, but if Sam Raimi had done a Part 4, as he planned, with John Malkovich as Vulture, well, based on the drop-off of quality between the first two and Part 3, he was venturing dangerously close to Schumacher territory.

Now Webb has re-established the character and put a new twist on it, and it's refreshing, just like it was refreshing to have Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk in The Avengers instead of Edward Norton.

We go back to high school for the origin of Peter Parker, played with gawky energy by Andrew Garfield, and one element I appreciated that this film re-introduced was Peter's intelligence.  Gone are the organic webshooters out of his wrist.  We see Peter invent his webslingers, just like in the comic book.  We also get a real romance between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and it's where I recognized Webb's touch most.  Webb directed 500 Days of Summer, so he knows how to make a boy and a girl talk to each other.

Norman Osbourne is spoken of but not seen.  Instead our villain is Dr. Chuck Conners, an Oscorp employee who becomes the Lizard. (I am sad Dylan Baker played the one-armed doc for three films but never got to become the green guy himself.)  I like that there's only one villain.  In a way it follows the Batman Begins or Superman origin stories, in that the title character really is the main character.

This is a superhero movie I walk out of with my mind racing about what they'll do for the sequel.  They could revisit Green Goblin or Venom if they wanted to, or bring to life some of the other big baddies we haven't seen in live-action yet, like Mysterio or Electro.  The groundwork's been laid.  I look forward to seeing Peter and Gwen's relationship progress, seeing more of Sally Field as Aunt Mae, hopefully meeting J. Jonah Jameson next time.

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