Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans

I know what you’re all thinking, and it’s probably something along the lines of us doing fine without another franchise reboot. If so, then you’re more specifically questioning the necessity of another go at an already (very) successful sect of the Marvel canon, a.k.a. The Amazing Spider-Man. Surprisingly enough, Marc Webb’s second full-length effort is admirably adept in handling the Spidey mythos, even if it explores a huge chunk of what we’ve all familiarized ourselves with over the past decade and beyond, depending on how avid a fan you consider yourself of the webbed crusader’s earlier printed escapades.

For starters, it’s easy to compare Sam Raimi’s initial trilogy’s camp with that of Webb’s strict adherence to plausibility and actual human emotion. While Raimi wasn’t afraid to embrace the sillier side of Peter Parker’s transformation into Spider-Man, this particular effort strives to wholly embody the essence of who Peter truly is as both a person and headstrong purveyor of justice. There’s the requisite acquisition of superpowers following a refreshingly subdued, moreover unique employment of them as our central character begins to familiarize himself with his vigilante alter ego, making both friends and enemies as his intentions are initially made unclear to authorities.

Like I said, it’s hard to forgive how glaringly reminiscent The Amazing Spider-Man is of its predecessors, however something as simple as subbing in a new love interest and villain manages to push the film past mediocrity thanks to its simply stellar leading man and lady. Garfield, as always, never ceases to impress, and his easy, wonderfully believable chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy stands by my notion of how far direction can go by way of crafting a familiar, yet noticeably diverse production. The build-up is slow as to be expected, but once the action gets going, tension’s maintained throughout as Oscorp geneticist-turned-Lizard Dr. Curt Connors continues to pose a greater threat to Spidey’s native NYC, even if it all can’t quite stack up to the superb presentation of the film’s first half.

Does The Amazing Spider-Man reinvent the wheel? Of course not, but in all reality, it doesn’t have to. By using improvisation and substituting new approaches to this origins story for old ones, Marc Webb’s deft direction does enough for Marvel’s famed wisecracking web-slinger to carry it through to its gratifying conclusion. Those looking for something wholly different will obviously be disappointed, but for those interested in seeing an authentic emotional underbelly and an altogether evenness of tone paired with this sense of familiarity, this is the Spider-Man for you thanks to a very well-rounded and mostly involving script. Best wishes for Garfield and his presumed, newfound superstar status, and all in all, you as viable parts of the movie-going public could do worse than check him out in Marvel’s latest.


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