After Sam Raimi made two great Spider-Man films and then mucked up the third, I was hoping to see him salvage his reputation and give us the most awesome Spider-Man film yet. The studio had other plans and decided to reboot the franchise and sent Raimi packing, along with stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. This didn’t sit well with fans and the film became the least appealing superhero movie since the dreadful Batman & Robin (1997). Needless to say, I was not too excited to be venturing out to see it. Then something truly magical happened. It won me over. It didn’t suck. And I forgot why I was so against it and enjoyed the heck out of it.
The film starts with a young Peter Parker being dropped off at his aunt and uncle’s house (Sally Field and Martin Sheen) after his parents find themselves in some sort of trouble. Skip ahead a few years and Parker is now a scrawny teen who gets beat up at school and has a crush on the blond in class, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Then Parker finds documents his dad left behind that lead him to Dr. Connors (Rhys Ifans). Hoping Dr. Connors might know something about his parents, he heads over to his lab where he is bitten by a special spider. He gains superhuman powers, such as the ability to stick to things. Then his uncle is gunned down and Dr. Connors uses the info Parker gave him to turn himself into a giant lizard and Parker sets out to save the world and Spider-Man is born.
Director Marc Webb (who made the wonderful (500) Days of Summer in 2009) has brought a less flashy style of filmmaking to the series and mixes action and comedy better than Raimi did. This Spider-Man feels more like the cartoon series from the ‘60s and it’s fun to watch all the way through.
While I had doubts about Andrew Garfield portraying the character, he ended up being a better fit than Maguire. He’s also a much better actor and you actually want to see him win. Stone is wonderful as Stacy and the chemistry between her and Garfield is perfect. Denis Leary, who plays Captain Stacy, is also a great fit, as is the rest of the supporting cast.
One other thing that should be noted is that the trailer makes the effects look second-rate. In reality, they are stellar, as is the use of 3-D, which really helps the swinging from building to building scenes standout.
In the end The Amazing Spider-Man was pretty amazing and is sure to be remembered as one of the great superhero films of our time. Leave your preconceived notions about it at home and go enjoy it.
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
Directed by: Marc Webb
Top image: A scene from The Amazing Spider-Man. Courtesy Sony Pictures.