A lot of people, myself included, scoffed at the idea of rebooting the Spider-Man franchise so quickly. After all, it’s only been five years since “Spider-Man 3,” and even though that movie was 50 shades of awful, it still made a boatload of money and all signs pointed toward a fourth film. For whatever reason, that never happened and now we’ve got “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
I’ve always been a big fan of Spider-Man the character, but I was never overly thrilled with the other movies. I know they were very popular, but there was just something about them that didn’t do it for me. So while I thought the idea of a reboot so soon after “Spider-Man 3” sounded silly, I adopted a “wait and see” attitude and hoped maybe they’d do it better this time around.
Know what? “The Amazing Spider-Man” actually is kind of amazing. My initial skepticism washed away within the first 10 minutes, and I settled in to thoroughly enjoy one heck of a thrill-ride.
The story this time around is different from Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” in a lot of key ways, but we still wind up in the same place. Nerdy high school loner bitten by radioactive spider becomes masked superhero. The big difference this time is the tone.
Raimi’s Spider-movies were usually full of his trademark quirks and humor and, to me, came off as a bit campy. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is hardly dark and gothic, but it does have an overall more serious manner than the other movies.
The cast is definitely a trade-up in every way. I never much cared for Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, and it’s not just because he bears a passing resemblance to me, leading to every person I met for about three years commenting that I looked like Spider-Man. It was fun for a minute and got old fast. Andrew Garfield is much better, awkward without being off-putting, and throwing in some of the one-liners that the comic version is known for.
Future Mrs. Presley, Emma Stone, continues to be the best and brightest young actress in Hollywood and definitely makes you forget all about the queen of average, Kirsten Dunst. Knowing her character’s fate from the comic book mythology makes the whole thing kind of bittersweet, though.
Rhys Ifans is more than serviceable as Curt Connors, the do-gooding scientist who turns into the do-badding Lizard. Maybe not as great a villain as Willem Dafoe or Alfred Molina, but he’ll do.
Martin Sheen is a particularly brilliant choice as Uncle Ben, and though she doesn’t have as much to do, Sally Field is a hundred times better as Aunt May than that annoying old lady they had in the original.
The music is great, the special effects and stunts are spectacular, and the story keeps you invested throughout.
The movie still had my single biggest pet peeve from the other three (and most superhero movies, in general): Why does Spider-Man always have to lose his mask for the climactic battle? I wasn’t going to those other movies to see Tobey Maguire any more than I was going to this one to see Andrew Garfield. It’s Spider-Man we want.
So, was it worth rebooting Spider-Man this quickly? Yes it was. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is better than all three of Raimi’s films combined. Plus Spidey himself is Marvel’s flagship character, so it would have been silly not to remind everyone of that in the wake of the hype surrounding “The Avengers.”
I’ve never used any kind of rating system for my reviews, but let’s try one today: I give “The Amazing-Spider Man” four and a half lizard tails out of five.
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