Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man / Peter Parker
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans as The Lizard / Dr. Curt Connors
Denis Leary as Captain Stacy
Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben
Sally Field as Aunt May
Written by James Vanderbilt and Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves
Directed by Marc Webb
Running Time: 2:16
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence.
The Amazing Spider-Man didn't break much new ground in the Spider-Man saga, but I found it pretty entertaining with great 3D action.
A young Peter Parker was abandoned by his parents late one night and send off to live with his Aunt and Uncle. Years later he comes upon a briefcase his father left behind that has a formula in it. He visits the offices of Dr. Curt Connors, Mr. Parker's partner all those years ago, and finds that they were trying to work on something that would allow humans to cross species with animals allowing, among other things, for humans to regrow limbs when needed. While in the offices, Peter is bitten by a spider which suddenly gives him powers beyond imagination. But when his formula allows Dr. Connors to also cross himself an animal, this time a lizard, it leads to disastrous consequences, giving rise to a creature unlike any other.
To me, the original Spider-Man trilogy isn't very memorable. With the other major superheroes, you can undeniably state that right now, and years from now, people will look back and say yes, The Dark Knight is the best Batman movie ever made and Superman was not only the best Superman movie ever made, but the base line for all comic book movies made since. But Spider-Man? I know most people feel that Spider-Man 2 was the best of the original trilogy, and that may be true, but to me it was still over-the-top cheesy. Kind of like what Joel Schumacher did to the Batman series years ago (though not as bad). They've been replayed on TV a number of times since the theatrical release and when I watch them I find that I simply don't like them anymore. Not like I did at the time when they were new and exciting. The Dark Knight and Superman both hold up remarkably well and will likely continue to do so.
All that being said, while I enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man more than I expected, it still isn't the definitive Spider-Man movie, though I do feel they're headed in the right direction. It's a bit strange to go over the origin of Spider-Man again so soon after we've already done it, but I liked it more this time because I enjoyed Andrew Garfield a lot more than Tobey Maguire. I never once thought he was the right person to play Spider-Man and Garfield proves that out even more. He's got more emotional depth than Maguire ever had and doesn't spin between gloom and doom and hyper-happiness with no emotion in between. Garfield plays him like a kid who discovers this awesome power and has some fun with it before realizing he's got to step up and be a man.
Emma Stone is world's better as the love interest than Kirsten 'one note' Dunst. Dunst always looked like she was waiting to be rescued, while Stone is more than happy to mix it up a little. As far as villains go, while the Lizard wasn't the greatest villain in the world, he wasn't as cheesy as Doc Ock or the Green Goblin. There was some humanity left in him, even while he was vicious. Doc Ock only came to realize what he was doing when it was far too late.
Visually the movie was tremendous, with nothing looking like CGI, even the flying sequences through the streets of New York. The 3D in this case was far and away better than 99% of the 3D movies out today, so I'd highly recommend seeing it in 3D. When Spider-Man goes flying through the city, you're right along with him and it honestly feels like you're on a ride at Disney World. The movie did play a little longer than it needed to, so there are a couple of times when it drags slightly, but for the most part they do a good job keeping you entertained, and a lot of them comes from Garfield bringing you into his world and not letting you go. He wasn't an obvious choice for the role but he did a damn fine job with it. I'm hoping with the inevitable sequel they ratchet up the bad guys and bring a little more depth to Spider-Man, but not allow him to go all maudlin and brood for half the film. I know in this day and age people want a superhero with issues but let them have some fun, especially when the superhero is a young kid.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I enjoyed The Amazing Spider-Man more than I thought I would. Yes, it still feels much too early for a reboot, but they did a really good job of making this feel new and fresh and it's definitely worth seeing in 3D on the big screen.