136 min., dir. by Marc Webb with Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans
Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but like many others, I was befuddled when I learned the Spider-Man series was already being rebooted. I know, it has been 10 years since the first Sam Raimi film, but it feels too soon…and it is. A few different characters and slight changes (that are really holdovers from the comic book, I gather) doesn’t alter the fact that you’ll spend more than two hours watching the same movie as before, with no major surprises.
For fear that something terrible is going to befall his family due to revolutionary research he’s working on, Richard Parker takes his son Peter (Andrew Garfield), to live with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). From that day forward, Peter never sees his parents again.
Peter is a slight outcast in high school who loves photography. He’s in love with the prettiest girl alive, Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone), and in this version, Parker gets bitten by a genetically mutated spider, his uncle is shot, he sets out on a personal vendetta against the man responsible, and becomes a hero of the people. Standing in his way this time is Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who turns into a giant hulking lizard when he injects himself with a serum that he hopes will grow his missing arm back.
The Amazing Spider-Man might have been a good movie — if there wasn’t the fairly recent Sam Raimi picture which, in comparison, is superior. This film may look darker and may attempt to evoke a more serious tone, but really, it’s the same exact thing. There is no big moment of shock and awe. In fact, as you will discover, the film missed its chance for that moment at the end.
The performances are good enough to keep parts of the film entertaining. Martin Sheen and Sally Field take over as Uncle Ben and Aunt May, providing their wisdom in both acting and character delivery. Andrew Garfield works as the more antisocial, flippant version of Peter Parker that matches the film’s change in mood, and Emma Stone can’t help but be her magnetically charming self. She has become the actress that makes everyone smile a bit when she pops on screen, and is easily the best casting choice made for this film.
A trip down the most familiar of roads, The Amazing Spider-Man tries to present itself as an experience much closer to the comic books. The issue is, however, that the story really doesn’t change from comic, to Raimi film, to reboot. The Amazing Spider-Man suffers from not venturing significantly from the source, rendering it vastly unmemorable.