Of course, the first question everyone asked when The Amazing Spiderman was announced was “Why do we need a Spiderman reboot?” And the obvious answer was that we don’t. However, that’s not to say that the newest offering in the Spiderman universe isn’t good. Because it’s even better than that: it’s very nearly amazing. And a lot of that has to do with its young co-stars, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
First up, I saw the movie in 2D, as I always do when given the chance. And even in the middle of a day on Sunday, as with The Avengers, I had to stand in line for this one. Maybe a reboot wasn’t needed, but it’s obvious people want to see it. I was sold on the idea of a new Spiderman film the minute I saw Andrew Garfield stepping on stage at last year’s Comic Con dressed in full Spiderman gear, giving an emotional speech about why playing the iconic superhero was a dream come true for him.
That also sold me on Garfield as Peter Parker, because it was obvious then that he approached the role with a lot of love. And this love shows in his performance. I am not going to compare his portrayal of Peter to that of Tobey Maguire because comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. However, Garfield’s Peter is a more angst-ridden tortured soul and the film reflects that. It’s a darker story that focuses much more on Peter and the loss of his parents at an early age than the previous films. In fact, the movie starts out with a young Peter where we get to see a little bit of his relationship with his secretive father and we even learn how he ended up living with Uncle Ben and Aunt Mae.
Garfield’s Peter is both cool and uber-geek at the same time. His unkempt hair, sloppy clothes and skateboard make him identifiable with other teens, but his super-smarts makes him an outcast – the guy who gets picked on by the class bully. Garfield brings life to this character, as well as a great deal of emotion. I caught myself wiping at tears during the course of the film because he’s just that good. This guy has boatloads of talent and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his work.
Emma Stone has always been a favorite of mine. She does not disappoint as Peter’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Stone’s Gwen is an empowered female who is even smarter than Peter, and she is certainly no damsel in distress. In fact, Gwen goes to great lengths to help her boyfriend, who she learns is Spiderman early on in the movie. This role was written for Stone and I can’t imagine anyone else playing her.
Mix the two together and you get great chemistry between two wonderfully talented young actors. I can’t wait to see them together again in The Amazing Spiderman 2.
The other actors in the film are equally as amazing. Sally Field and Martin Sheen are wonderful as Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben and bring enough life to the characters that you feel their losses and triumphs. Rhys Ifans’ Lizard is a sympathetic villain, not necessarily the completely evil and insane mad scientist that we’re used to seeing in Spidey stories. And Denis Leary as Police Captain Stacy (as in Gwen’s dad) gives a great performance of a cop torn between law and order and allowing a spider-suited vigilante to save lives.
One little plot thing bothered me, but it’s minor. When Peter first visits Oscorp, he literally waltzes through the front doors, claims to be an intern without any identification and ends up in the top secret lab (that doesn’t even require an ID to enter, just a passcode, that Peter easily figures out) where he gets the infamous bite from the spider. I find it hard to believe that men who are basically willing to kill over the technology within that lab would be so lax with security.
But all in all, it was a great movie. The action sequences stand out and aren’t the long boring kind that make you take a bathroom break just so you can stretch your legs. The fight scenes between the Lizard and Spiderman are so realistic and intense, you’ll forget they’re CGI. It’s amazing that even between the break between the last Spiderman movie and this one, effects have improved greatly.
If I had to compare The Amazing Spiderman to any other movie, though, I would compare it to The Dark Knight. It has a similar tone, that feeling of darkness and lost hope to it and ends with Peter being warned that he will be hunted for what he has become.