In 2002, director Sam Raimi did what many thought to be impossible; he brought Spider-Man to the big screen as a live action feature film. Now a decade later, and five years removed from the atrocity that was Spider-Man 3, director Marc Webb brings us The Amazing Spider-Man, a film that discards Raimi’s trilogy and reintroduces the sarcastic web slinger to audiences once more.
Andrew Garfield replaces Toby Maguire as the titular character. And for those still feeling a bit burned by Maguire’s last turn as the web slinger in Spider-Man 3, it should be noted that Garfield not only looks the part but also delivers on it fully as Garfield’s performance is about as close to the classic comic book interpretation of the character that a fan could ask for. In fact, everything about The Amazing Spider-Man is about as close to the comic book as one could ask for.
The Amazing Spider-Man retells Spider-Man’s origin story and in many ways does it better than Raimi’s Spider-Man did. Peter’s parents play a role in the story and in his development as a person, Uncle Ben and Aunt May are more than just window dressing and a catalyst for a major plot point, and it is the time spent on these relationships that help to develop Peter as a character while building a solid foundation for Spider-Man as a hero. The origin story in The Amazing Spider-Man is more detailed and told with better care than Raimi’s version but it also has a sense of been there done that before. And that there is the primary issue The Amazing Spider-Man suffers from.
Reboots and Re-launches are nothing new in entertainment but generally speaking these things do not happen just five years after the ending of a financially successful film trilogy. While The Amazing Spider-Man does many things better than Spider-Man did, so much of it is just retread ground and I was somewhat bored by the goings on of the film. I appreciate the artistry and respect Webb’s vision but I did not need an hour devoted to Spider-Man becoming Spider-Man again, I wanted him to be Spider-Man and do cool things like fight the Lizard (Rhys Ifans). The funny thing is that Webb’s film excels in the front half setting up Peter as Spider-Man but once it gets on to climaxing it comes up short
Unlike The Avengers, which also suffered from a slow first half but pulls out all the stops for the finale, The Amazing Spider-Man feels like it puts on the breaks. The final act relies heavily on forced emotions and an awkward character turn from Captain Stacy (Dennis Leary) which diminishes what should be its strong point. It is not that the action is poorly done though; in fact, it looks fantastic. However, it fails to live up to the spectacle that is expected of a Spider-Man film.
The word that best describes The Amazing Spider-Man is sadly, unnecessary. In a summer where The Avengers is the current king and Batman looms on the horizon, Spider-Man plays like an afterthought and that shouldn’t be. Ultimately, I feel history will be kinder to Marc Webb’s vision of the web slinger than Sam Raimi’s but, as of right now The Amazing Spider-Man is just an excuse to get out of the heat, not a must see event.
3 / 5