It’s safe to say that many haven’t gotten over the fact we’re already getting a Spider-Man reboot half a decade after Spider-Man 3. I for one am in the minority of people who didn’t mind the third film, even if it was the weakest in Raimi’s trilogy. Not to mention we sort of got a reboot with The Incredible Hulk five years after the Ang Lee version, and I don’t recall many people complaining about that. But I digress.
Needless to say, when The Amazing Spider-Man was announced, I simply rolled my eyes and spewed a “screw you, Hollywood” phrase so unoriginal it’d probably make them sigh in response. Then footage started coming out and while I still wasn’t entirely sold, my enticement at least crept upward. Generally speaking, the early reviews have been favorable, though I’m surprised people aren’t more immensely gratified. Then again, the two sites I consistently visit have glowing reviews for that abominable Katy Perry movie, so I took the reception with more than a single grain of salt. Thankfully, two YouTubers I’m fond of (Chris Stuckmann and Jeremy Jahns) both had great things to say about the movie, so I went in quite hopeful.
The end result: I freaking loved it.
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, the film covers very familiar territory, especially at the beginning. Yet what ultimately matters is just how well everything is told, which The Amazing Spider-Man accomplishes very successfully. Aunt May and Uncle Ben felt way more developed in this film, which makes the subsequent events hit that much harder. The level of depth and interaction between them and/or Peter is so much more realized and complete than the Raimi version. Another area the film really works well is the chemistry between Peter and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey, which is so much more believable and strong than Peter and MJ in Raimi’s trilogy. The fact Emma’s a way prettier face than Kirsten Dunst is a nice plus too. What’s more is that Andrew Garfield is a way more interesting Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Sure, Tobey Maguire might come off to some as the quintessential Peter Parker, but Garfield’s performance is just more interesting and varied. As a result, we identify and grow to like him even more.
All of this is even more important when the story has to be told, because without investible characters there’s not much left to care about. I came to love these characters, their interactions and the entire movie so much that I didn’t want it to end. I can already tell that this is one movie I’ll be watching over and over on Blu-ray simply because it does so much so well.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I liked this movie more than The Avengers. Yes, send the outburst-filled posts my way, my mind is clear. The Avengers might be the bigger, more action-oriented film but when you break it down The Avengers is superhero action done right, whereas The Amazing Spider-Man is a superhero story done right altogether. Of course the action scenes and final 30 minutes of The Avengers is better than any of the action here, but there’s simply more (and arguably better) development in the latest Spidey iteration.
There were honestly very few things I didn’t like about the film and I have no major qualms. Anything holding the film back simply involves our villain, the Lizard. He’s not a bad villain per se, but there’s a good chance I won’t remember him much down the line. The CGI is really most apparent when he’s on-screen and his shifting motivations are very jumbled to say the least. In many ways The Lizard is merely a plot device, which I suppose is a serious problem, but it does lead to an at least decent climax, so I’m not too bothered by it.
Even if you’re a huge fan of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, I think this version by Marc Webb is definitely worth your time. The cast and characters are great, the story holds up, the action and choreography all suffice and it ends in a way that keeps us guessing. I can safely say that I’m all for this version and can’t wait to see just where it’ll be taken next.