The Amazing Spider-Man

Following a falling out between Sony and Director Sam Raimi, Sony decided to reboot its successful Spider-Man franchise. To do so, they brought in director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) and assembled a new cast consisting of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifans, Dennis Leary and Sally Field.

The marketing initially pushed the film as “The Untold Origin,” but it’s ultimately extremely similar to the one we’ve already seen. A few changes were made, but it seems like most of the “Untold Origin” was cut from the movie. It’s definitely understandable that they wanted to distance themselves from the previous trilogy, starting all the way back at the beginning. It just makes the movie occasionally feel like it’s going through the motions.  Even with the rehash of the origin, I preferred this version to “Spider-Man.”

The cast is the biggest reason why the movie is so successful. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are easily the highlights. Where the relationship between Maguire and Dunst always struck me as false, they actually have the chemistry and humor to back it up. Garfield is a great Peter Parker, handling both the comedy and the more serious aspects extremely well.  The rest of the cast makes the most of what they get, elevating the material.
The only weak link is Rhys Ifans, who plays Dr. Curt Connors. He never makes an impression when he’s on the screen, he’s just there. It’s not entirely his fault, as the script does the bare minimum in giving Dr. Connors a motivation. His arc occurs abruptly, and the audience isn’t given enough to understand where he’s coming from. His plan doesn’t make a lot of sense and he never feels like much of a threat.  Unfortunately, he’s just a completely forgettable villain.

The emphasis on practical web slinging is a great choice that helps ground the action and makes it feel more tangible, and helps ground it in reality. In fact, the transition between practical Spider-Man and the digital double is never noticeable. The Lizard doesn’t come across nearly as well, though. The CG is occasionally great, but for the most part it’s merely serviceable.

Overall, it’s a successful relaunch of the Spider-Man franchise. It had all the elements it needed to be great, so hopefully the sequel can improve upon this.

Additional Info

-The 3D is sort of a mixed bag, it looks great during the action sequences that take place high up in the air, but is unnoticeable in most of the conversational scenes.

-Also, there’s a teaser about halfway through the credits for a sequel, though it’s sort of anticlimactic.

Written by Richie Lyman

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