Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for The Amazing Spider-Man

The Untold Story

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, C. Thomas Howell

Director: Marc Webb

2012  |  136 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Really? You seriously think I’m a cop? Cop in a skin-tight red and blue suit?” – Spider-Man

After Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, he becomes the web-slinging Amazing Spider-Man.  His first test as a teenage super hero will be against Dr. Curt Connors aka The Lizard!

The complaint I kept hearing about The Amazing Spider-Man, prior to and after its release, was that it was completely pointless.  We had seen it all before… and not all that long ago.  So… I didn’t see it.  Now, with Spidey officially in the MCU via a very sweet compromise of a deal between Marvel and Sony, I have finally given it a viewing.  It ain’t great but maybe it’s not as bad as I had initially heard.

First off, I’m really impressed with Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker.  I wouldn’t have made Peter a skateboarder since that probably gives him a few cool kid points but other than that he’s just the right amount of nerdy.  I loved seeing him getting all stammer and nervous around Gwen.

Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is also SUPER cute and innocent.  I don’t think I could believe someone if they didn’t fall instantly in love with her character.

The other thing that struck me very early on was how awesome this version of Spidey looks while web swinging.  It’s like Spidey-parkour.  Tons of fun to watch.  And, of course, it’s great to have web shooters rather than organic web coming out of Peter Parker’s wrists.

The early “just got his powers” scenes felt all too similar to what we had seen in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.  I think this is where the been-there-done-that of the Amazing Spider-Man movies begins.  They tend to tread over some of the same waters as the previous movies, making some positive and some negative changes along the way.

One thing I really don’t care for is how every hero and villain in this universe gets their powers from Oscorp.  I know we don’t actually realize this fact just yet but TAS1 laid the groundwork for what was to come in TAS2.  Doc Connors should have been able to be Peter’s teacher and mentor rather than a somewhat random scientist in the Oscorp complex.

I’m also not a fan of the look they gave The Lizard.  They tried to keep a humanoid look to his face when they really should have given him a big, chompy lizard face.  At least we get a glimpse of The Lizard with his lab coat on before it shreds off.

Maybe my biggest annoyance though was how incredibly hard the writers tried to not have Uncle Ben say “With great power comes great responsibility.”  I don’t understand why.  It makes exactly ZERO sense.  It’s a great line!  It always has been!  The way this message is given to Peter is just SO awkward and fumbly.

Light up web shooters?  Secret agent parents?  Change for the sake of change is rarely a good thing.  And rebooting for the sake of retaining a property’s film rights is also not great…  The aptly named director, Marc Webb, brought a few positive updates and changes from the previous series of Spidey flicks but he ultimately fell short in bringing us something really special.  At least the failure of these “Amazing” movies has led us to Spider-Man back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fold.

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