The Amazing Spider-Man Directed by Marc Webb A hero who wants revenge, power demanding great responsibility, and a green-colored bad guy: We've been here.

Call it (3,650) Days of Memory. The Amazing Spider-Man, (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb’s reboot of a series that kicked off just a decade ago, may have three credited screenwriters, but none apparently could completely shake off the specifics of Sam Raimi’s 2002 original. Of course, this being an origin story, some details had to stay the same: nerdy high school kid, spider bite, discovery of powers, bad-guy beatings, shy romance. Beyond the fact that it was (yawn) shot in 3-D, this iteration brings absolutely nothing new to the Marvel franchise. Peter Parker is Peter Parker, and here he swings and misses.

Replacing Tobey Maguire is the nearly 29-year-old (!) Andrew Garfield, perhaps best known for playing one of Facebook’s college-age co-founders in The Social Network, though indie enthusiasts will remember him as a journalist in the Red Riding trilogy way back in 2009. Despite these big-boy roles, Garfield was cast to reprise the teenage Peter—and, surprisingly, he’s geeky enough (part skinniness and mussed hair, part good acting) to make it work.

Peter’s a student at a science-focused school who’s largely invisible except when he’s getting bullied. He was orphaned at a young age—his parents disappeared under mysterious circumstances—and raised by his aunt (Sally Field) and uncle (Martin Sheen). One day, he finds one of his dad’s old briefcases, which contains some cryptic equations and a photograph. His uncle tells him that the man in the photo with his dad is Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans).

Peter investigates the scientist, who’s working on cross-species genetics in the hope of not only helping the infirm but replacing his own severed right forearm. Soon after Peter meets Connors, his uncle is killed by a convenience-store thief whom Peter didn’t help stop. And he’s bitten by a science-experiment spider. So we get what we get in almost every comic-book flick: a guy with superpowers and a thirst for vengeance. Let the swinging through New York City begin. Fun!

But there’s little of it to be found in The Amazing Spider-Man. In fairness, the trio of scripters have injected a bit of humor into the story—as when Peter takes a split second to smash his screaming alarm clock, or apologizes to antagonizers he’s too-forcefully fended off on the subway after first discovering his strength. (That particular fight scene is nicely choreographed; too much of the action, however, is visually chaotic, a victim of poor editing and too many dimensions.) And there’s no Daily Bugle or J. Jonah Jameson, a change to the mythos Webb was foolish to make. When Stan Lee’s cameo is one of your most entertaining scenes, something’s missing.

Ifans’ villain, the Lizard, isn’t all that menacing, either. (He looks like a green version of The Thing.) Nor is he thematically interesting: The scientist and the reptile may represent the rational and evil sides of Curt Connors, but Willem Dafoe’s bad-guy from the 2002 Spider-Man faced a similar internal conflict (and he was green, too).

There just aren’t many thrills here, and what works feels redundant. Even Spidey 2.0’s flights through the city are less graceful than Maguire’s. The only subplot that comes close to raising one’s pulse is the tentative romance between Peter and classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, whose only actorly challenge is walking around in thigh-high boots). Garfield and Stone share a few believably tender moments, particularly when Gwen’s conflicted about whether she wants to get involved with someone with a hobby as dangerous as her police-chief father’s (Denis Leary) gig.

And yes, there are frequent mentions of responsibility, but no signature line that viewers will remember a decade from now. There’s not even a flicker of excitement when someone asks the ultimate superhero question, “Who are you?” Yeah, yeah, we already know.

Our Readers Say

A Review of the review...

Brings nothing new to the table? Yeah, other than the entire back story about Peter Parker's parents that gave an emotional heart to the film. Also, the sequences where Garfield first goes to Gwen's place brought even more truth and emotion to the old trilogies haphazardly inserted love interest scenes. Webber spent a lot of time on character work that really made the action sequences pay off. I cared for once. Plus, we never saw Gwen Stacey before. MJ and J. Jonah don't come into the picture yet.

90% of the fight scenes were fluid and exciting in how they staged them. The praise of the original films falls short when you compare the two. I'll giving you some editing. A strange jump occurs when Spiderman first pursues his Uncle's killer in "Amazing." Somehow they follow him up onto multiple roofs in an instant. Other than that, they made sense and I easily followed them. They flowed and excited. The only other 2 items I'd change is the "construction workers/City bands together for Spiderman" and the lizards. I'm not big on the Ewoks coming to the rescue. Yet, they were far less annoying than when we usually see this, and it gives something for the kids.

However, everything about this movie rehabilitated Spiderman to a more believable form otherwise. That includes the costume design and color pallet. It had a more textured realism, and much more heart. The acting of Sheen that delivered the 'with great power, comes great responsibility line' merely put it into better written speech that doesn't sound like a movie tagline echoing through the thing. Aunt May's heart to heart with Peter in Spiderman 3 crossed well over the line into parody. Sally Field, however, a 2 time Oscar winner, can extract empathy from you with a squint of her apple shaped face. They brought superior performances. And Garfield and Stone? Amazing chemistry. Garfield mastered the Spiderman poses, connected them with fluid movements, and brought a physicality the other Spiderman films lacked. It was method mastery. This even came into the mocking attitude absent from Tobey's repertoire. Stone managed a demure character who still had Stone's trademark spunk and grace. It also lacked the gaping plot holes and lack of character motivations that plagued all of Raimi's films.'

Maybe you weren't in the mood, but you should judge a movie based on what it does. If you offer "something's missing" try to tell us what it is. All I got was the Daily Bugle. I'll pass on that argument.

Great movie, already saw it in 3D and 2D. Stick with the 2D. 3D was not worth it on this one. It wasn't as immersive like Hugo or Avatar.
I was a big fan of Spider-Man, and the old films always left me disappointed. I never really felt like I was watching the Spider-Man that I had read about. The way the character moved and fought was never right. When I saw this new version... I couldn't help but think to myself... "This was the Spider-Man I was looking for". I thought the Amazing Spider-Man was simply Amazing. A lot of the reviews I have read keep comparing this new film to the old ones... I keep comparing to Spider-Man from the comics... and this time they got it...
A review of the review of the review...

Let me correct a few of your mistakes before I get into why you are totally and wholly wrong. Peter Parker's parents gave no "emotional heart" to the film whatsoever. So much (or little) so, that they were clearly cut from the entire second half of the film and inexplicably never mentioned again. The director's name is Webb, not Webber. We have seen Gwen Stacy before, have you not seen Spider-Man 3? "Giving something for the kids" is not a thing, or at least it shouldn't be. Maybe something that can be admired by adults as well as children, but not explicitly for children.

Now, out of its many blunders, the omission of With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility is the greatest indication of misinterpretation of the source material that The Amazing Spider-Man has. Blurring the line into subtext and attempting to make it "more real" is a reoccurring theme of this film. The attempted realism of the movie only serves to point out how ridiculous the fantastical elements of the material are whilst contrasted to the "realistic" ones. I was laughing out loud at the movie that had me begging to take it seriously while cops were turning into lizards and then back into humans at the puff of magic blue pixie dust. It was pathetic. This is one of many examples of the movie not understanding what it is, or what it should be. Too many times were "realism" and camp juxtaposed next to one another.

Your description of Sally Field is hilarious. Objectively, not even in context to the review of The Amazing Spider-Man whatsoever. Thankfully for my funnybone, it's hilarious in context as well. Sally and Martin were far too distracting. All I could ever see were the actors, never their performances.

"Lacked gaping plot holes and lack of character motivations that plagued all of Raimi's films" Oh man, oh man oh man oh man. I'm going to stick to The Lizard for this one, because he was my favorite character with complete lack of motivation. What was the Lizard doing? Trying to turn everyone into Lizards. Why was he doing it? Who the hell knows. I don't. The Lizard is obviously self-aware and knows that he is Curt Connors. He know's that he's an accident. What was he gaining from doing it? Nothing, literally nothing. More Lizard people. Yay? Did it have anything to do with Spider-Man? No. Was he gaining revenge in some way? Nope, that indian guy is gone from the movie after the bridge scene. Success? Why was Curt Connors so obsessed with growing his arm back? Science, man. Oh and Norman Osborn. I should care about him because he's dying even though I never see him. Right. Plot holes. Let's bring back that "Parents are cut from the second half of the movie" thing I mentioned earlier. Need I say more? No, but I will. There was a HUGE emphasis placed on Peter's father and Curt Connors being in cahoots in the beginning of the film, and it's just plain not there. I could go to town on Captain Stacy as well, but I've had enough fun for one day.

I will squash any of your rebuttals like a spider.

p.s. Spiderman is my favorite and this movie is terrible.
This is the worst review i have ever read. No idea how to review an amazing reboot.
I have a very good feeling that you have sourced this film review from Mark Harrison's "Comparing The Amazing Spider-Man with Spider-Man" on this website: http://www.denofgeek.us/movies/spider-man/21992/comparing-the-amazing-spider-man-with-spider-man
I just couldn't help noticing that the first two paragraphs of you film review highly resembles (although slightly worded differently) Mark Harrison's article.

Hmmmm.... interesting.

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