It’s only been 10 years since Sam Rami delivered Tobey Macguire as the Marvel action hero Spiderman. The world moves fast these days, so maybe that’s why we have a reboot of that 2002 story, this quick.
Does this version of Spiderman improve upon the trilogy from the 2000s? In some ways, it does with better character development, action that you can follow and pretty decent acting performances. In other ways, this Spiderman fell like a web of repetition.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is an emo high school teenager, in search of clues about his parent’s death. Ike most teenagers, their overriding theme, and the theme of the movie is self-discovery. That leads him to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans.) This is where Spider-man’s origin story is retold and altered to fit the modern day setting. Parker courts Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) as Spider-man moves closer to a showdown with Dr. Connor’s alter ego, The Lizard.
The relationship between Peter and Gwen is what drives the quality of this movie. Garfield and Stone are pretty decent actors who have believable chemistry. The rest of their backstory is useless. Not for one second did I believe that either were high school students, and it was enough of a problem that it distracted me from the story. Come on! Gwen is a high school student, who is also a lead representative of a bio-genetics firm? Garfield has youthful tendencies, but too advanced intellectually. (Apologies to teens of today)
Much like the introduction of Daniel Craig as the latest James Bond, Garfield is a grittier version of Spider-man. Rough around the edges and nervy, with a youthful carelessness. Throw in a Footloose-like solo barn dance scene with a skateboard and you’ve got something perfectly marketed to the youth of today.
Dennis Leary also plays Gwen's father, New York Police Captain Stacy. He was actually my favorite character. His Leary-like frustrations carried the otherwise useless plotline of Spider-Man being chased by the Police as a vigilante.
I do hold all superheroes to a higher moral standard. The Amazing Spider-Man shows us how the young Spidey may be on the road to righteousness, but he’s not there yet. For that, I was disappointed. Since we’re in fantasy land already, I also expect my superheroes to have super powers. This Spider-Man was more like a regular guy who’s really good at parkour.
This movie is also another example of poor use of 3D technology. One more critical note: if Peter Parker/Spider-Man relies so much on a cell phone is this one, why does he use a camera that has film? Go digital already. Most of the movie is CGI anyway.