The Amazing Spider-Man Review

By Adrian Nathaniel Groves – July 2 2012

Spider-Man/Peter – Andrew Garfield
Gwen Stacy – Emma Stone
Lizard/Dr. Connors – Rhys Ifans
Capt. George Stacy – Denis Leary
Uncle Ben – Martin Sheen
Aunt May – Sally Field

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Marc Webb. Written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves, based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

I’ll honestly say I went into last nights screening of  The Amazing Spiderman with mixed feelings. Having grown up a huge fan of everything to do with the teenaged hero I like to think of the original 2002 Spider-Man as the pinnacle of my childhood. The realization of every comic book and cartoon come to life, admirably I might add.  The sequel only bolstered the saga by adding a few layers to the already wounded hero. What I believed to be the greatest comic book adaption at the time was swiftly followed by a shallow and widely discredited sequel. Looking to recapitalize on the potential cash cow, Sony put together a new crew and went to work on a reboot only ten years after the original. Most look at the film as superfluous, unnecessary. At it’s heart, The Amazing Spider-Man is a retread of the origins of Spider-Man but with a very drastic change in tone.

Andrew Garfield is without a shadow of doubt, the superior Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He effectively injects the troubled Peter with a nerdy charm and humour  that trumps Tobey Maguire’s often whiney take on the character. Combined with Emma Stone’s effortless likeability as Gwen Stacy, their sparkling chemistry steals the show almost out from under some of the flashier set pieces. There’s a lot to like about this cast, Dennis Leary in particular maximizes his minutes as Gwen’s hard as nails father, police captain George Stacy producing some of the funniest moments in the film as well as putting Peter into an interesting predicament when he puts out a warrant for Spider-Man’s arrest. Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben comes off here as a fully realized character, a good man who desperately tries to teach Peter about the responsibility those with great gifts are obligated to abide. His passing here comes as a more crushing blow than it had in the original and acts as the catalyst for Peter’s eventual foray into vigilantism. Rhys Ifans is the obligatory scientist turned super villain, but with the added twist of being monster to Peter’s Dr.Frankstein, he’s got a lot to offer.

With a film like this there’s a certain expectation for the action set pieces to deliver on the grand scale. The Amazing Spider-Man, delivers. The action is seamless and easy to follow, especially Spider-Man himself whose fluidity and acrobatics don’t jumble into a mess of blue and red. There also seems to be a real focus on giving the audience as real a depiction as possible of what it’s like for a man to swing from building to building above a sweeping metropolis like New York, including a short but effective POV sequence. I’d have to say the real draw here are the characters, Peter spends a lot of time without his mask in this incarnation. The original set about establishing the Spider-Man persona as fast as possible, while this version is more focused on Peter’s journey to that decision. The losses Peter sustains as well as his own sense of guilt help craft the man who dons a mask to protect the innocent from the hands of criminals.