Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)Director: Marc Webb
Screenplay: Steve Kloves, Alvin Sargent, James Vanderbilt
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen
Runtime: 136 minutes
Release date(s): USA: July 3 2012; Australia & New Zealand: July 4 2012

Just five years after the release of the much-maligned Spider-Man 3, we are treated to a reboot of the franchise of one of Marvel’s greatest heroes. With a streamlined story, a more intriguing origin and, of course, a completely different cast, we all wondered how The Amazing Spider-Man would pan out.

As far as casting goes, it was spot on. Each role was cast perfectly starting from the top with Andrew Garfield as everyone’s favorite web slinger to Emma Stone as Peter Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy, to Rhys Ifans as The Lizard / Dr. Curt Connors all the way down to Denis Leary, Martin Sheen and Sally Field. Every role in this film was as good as the last.

The question on everyone’s mind is how does Andrew Garfield compare to Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man. To tell you the truth, I was pretty ambivalent to his portrayal of Peter Parker / Spider-Man. He did not do anything poorly. He just never struck me as the right person for the role. With that being said, Garfield seems born for this role. It could be that Peter Parker is a more dynamic character in The Amazing Spider-Man, but Garfield took everything that he was given and made the character his own. In this version, Parker had a cooler edge about him. Sure, he was still the Science nerd that we would expect, but subtle differences like him being a skateboarder gave the character the much-needed extra edge.

As far as Emma Stone goes, she was the most intriguing character in the entire film. She played the role of Gwen Stacy perfectly adding a little playful edge to Stacy. Her maneurisms and facial gestures kept you wanting more out of her which is a true testament to how well she did as Spider-Man is obviously the main focus of the film.

Now, on to Rhys Ifans as The Lizard / Dr. Curt Connors. Ifans seems made for the role whether he is portraying the sane Science genius or the deranged Connors ready to unleash The Lizard, and as far as The Lizard goes, the effects were simply awesome. The look of the villian was great and the transformation scenes looked very good.

Director Marc Webb did a fine job with his direction of the film capturing what seems like every key facial gesture of the characters. While you could make a case of the film being divided into two parts with the first half setting up the backstory of the main characters and the second half being the battle between hero and villain, I found myself appreciating the first half of the film. Like I said, I found the characters to be more intriguing than the story itself. The funny thing is that I enjoyed the film for the elements that most moviegoers will dislike it.

Overall, as far as Summer blockbusters go, you could do much worse than The Amazing Spider-Man. It was a clever film and a breath of fresh air into the franchise. If the rest of the Summer films are half as good as this one was, this will be a Summer that I can enjoy.

The Amazing Spider-Man