The Amazing Spider Man Movie Review

Just 10 years after Sam Raimi's now-iconic Spider-man, Marvel has decided to tell the character's origin story again, using a slightly different mythology. The main difference is the presence of appropriately named director Marc Webb, whose last film was the imaginative romantic-comedy (500) Days of Summer. Sure enough, the interpersonal drama is the best thing about this reboot. Much less successful is the action storyline, which feels awkwardly forced into the film to justify its blockbuster status.

A huge asset here is gifted lead actor Andrew Garfield, who takes on the role of Peter Parker with real passion. Peter is a 17-year-old science nerd in high school who has real depth due to his personal history. Growing up in New York with his aunt and uncle (Field and Sheen) after his parents disappeared, he's more than a little unsettled when the object of his secret crush, sexy-brainy Gwen (Stone), notices him. Meanwhile, he's bitten by a mutant spider and develops some strange powers, which he exercises by chasing down bad guys all over the city.

Their tentative relationship has a couple of key obstacles: Gwen's dad (Leary) is the cop who's trying to capture this vigilante spider-man, while Gwen's boss (Ifans) is a former colleague of Peter's father who is obsessed with using lizard DNA to regrow his missing arm. And it's this lizard subplot that doesn't really fit in here. As Ifans transforms into a digitally animated monster who terrorises the city with his nefarious apocalyptic plan, he never feels like more than a distraction to the movie's real story about a boy trying to get the girl of his dreams while working out who he is.

Maybe one day we'll get a superhero movie that doesn't require a massively overwrought climactic battle, but not quite yet. Still, Webb deploys the same visual inventiveness that be brought to (500) Days of Summer in sharply engaging scenes of the spandex-clad Peter swinging through streets to catch criminals. There's an underlying wit that helps make up for the fact that the story is far too familiar to ever be truly suspenseful. And when Garfield and Stone have the screen to themselves, their chemistry helps the film find its real tone.

Rich Cline


The Amazing Spider Man Rating

" Good "

Rating: 12, 2012


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