Everybody loves Spider-Man, but as a reboot, can he make an impactful re-appearance to the big screen after the famous Raimi trilogy that debuted 10 years ago? Let’s take a look.
Everyone knows by now what the story of Spider-Man is all about: boy goes to high school; boy gets bitten by radioactive spider; boy ends up fighting crime with spider-powers. Complaining about the origin is pointless because going into this film, you need to expect that, so the writers needed to either shake it up, or add a new element that the audiences have never seen before. Of course, I’m talking about the whole “mystery” about Peter Parker’s parents, which I’ll get to later in this review. The villain in this film is the Lizard, a character that we’ve never seen onscreen before, which was a good choice on the writer’s part. Then there's Lizard's origin, which by itself, was fantastic, however the Lizard's overall plan was... dumb... I won’t spoil it, but they could have delved much more into his plan, and why he wanted to do it, because it felt rushed and senseless. There was also the other plot point that involves Spider-Man and his relationship to the NYPD, which was very well done, as it too was never fully delved in Raimi’s trilogy.
Marc Webb (his last name is WEBB!) did an excellent job as director. Previously, he directed a little film called (500) Days of Summer, which is hands down the best romantic comedy on the planet. The Amazing Spider-Man marks his very first big-budget film in general, and he nailed it. The color pallet set the tone more so than anything released this year so far, as it was dark when it needed to be and light when it needed to be. The POV stuff that was shot was definitely interesting, but nothing was really iconic in this film as far as camerawork, editing, etc. is concerned, but that doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable in the slightest. The music in this film also deserves a mention, as it too set the tone beautifully, which is odd to me personally, because I never tend to pay attention to that sort of thing. It stood out, and it was fantastic.
The acting in this film was top-notch with a cast that exceeded expectations across the board. Andrew Garfield was born to play Spider-Man. He pulled off the shyness, awkwardness, geekiness, and comedy better than any incarnation ever seen before. In fact, Garfield’s performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man was very much like that of Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal as Tony Stark/Iron Man. They could not have hired a better man for the job. Emma Stone played the perfect love interest in Gwen Stacy. Peter and Gwen's relationship felt real, and the way their dialogue bounced back and forth couldn't have been better. Rhys Ifans played a fantastic villain, even if the villain himself isn’t quite as memorable as the Green Goblin or Dr. Octopus. Surprisingly, the men who deserve a big mention are Dennis Leary and Martin Sheen, who play Captain George Stacy and Peter's Uncle Ben, respectively. They completely knocked it out of the park with their performances, and were, again, perfect for their parts. Also, Stan Lee does have a cameo, of course, and it was his best one yet.
It's not a surprise that Sony only made this film to hold on to Spidey's rights, so nobody there specifically said "Hey, you know what needs to be retold awesomely? Spider-Man! Amirght?!" Did that effect how the movie was?
As good as this film was, there are several plot points that are completely overlooked. While a majority of them are minor, one of them is extremely important to not only the film, but to Spider-Man's origin in general. Something there was never fully explained, which hurt the film, but not to the point where it’s unforgiveable. Surely they will address it in the inevitable sequel. There is a mid-credit scene, and it was awesome... if you didn't watch the trailers. The important part in the scene was literally in the trailer, and that ruined the impact of the scene in its entirety. It wasn't the director's fault in the least, but it was Sony that ruined it in that regard. Had this movie been marketed differently than what it was, this film would've been tons more enjoyable, and that's entirely Sony's fault. In fact, the trailers go out of the way to say "This is the untold story! Peter's parents! GIVE US MONEY!!!" I'm not saying that they don't address it in the film, but it's a small, small part that means next to nothing in the overall plot, so don’t go into the movie with the expectations that Sony tried to implant into your brains.
Since this film is yet another origin movie, you're not going to get the intense villainous plot points and gratuitous action until the sequel, but if the trilogy goes where this particular comic nerd thinks it's going to go, the sequel will be The Dark Knight of Spider-Man films, and that's completely alright to wait for. This was a very fun time at the movies, and I'll recommend it to anyone and everyone. Even if Sony dropped the ball in terms of marketing and making stupid-ass decisions in how the final cut was edited, I won't hold that against the film, because it wasn't the fault of anyone on the set. I'm going to do something a bit different in this review, and start giving letter grades instead of number grades. Without further adieu, for The Amazing Spider-Man, I give it an A-. Go see it, and have fun at the movies.