Michael's Review of The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man(2012)
While as a lifelong Spider-man fanatic I enjoyed the first two entries in Sam Raimi's original Spidey trilogy immensely (the less said about the much maligned third film, the better), I always felt there were elements missing from those films to make it exactly like the character I grew to know and love from the comic. That is why I was both excited but enormously concerned when I heard "500 Days of Summer" director Marc Webb was being positioned to reboot the series. Having now viewed the finished product of Webb's first spin with the character, I am ecstatic to say not only did this film live up to the three original Spidey films, it surpassed them. How you ask? First and foremost, a wealth of credit must be given to Andrew Garfield. His take on Peter Parker, more inspired by the brilliantly written "Ultimate Spider-man" storyline than the classic mythos, has the perfect balance of awkward yet undeniably charming that I feel Tobey Maguire tried to hit but could never quite reach (while Maguire could do nerdy Parker well and played the part with aplomb in the first Spider-man film, he didn't nail his transition out of that personality as a result of acquiring his powers nearly as well). His scenes with Emma Stone are so strong and sparking with such lively chemistry, they are as fun to watch as the more kinetic action sequences in the film (Emma Stone, it should be noted, is pitch perfect here as Gwen Stacy, and a HUGE improvement over the rather bland interpretation of Mary Jane Watson that Kirsten Dunst delivered. She is a strength in this film, rather than be a stock character girlfriend role). Webb showed he could create a highly entertaining film about young love with "500 Days of Summer", and his work here further verifies he has a John Hughes-like quality in his approach to these relationships. The rest of the cast is commendable as well; Martin Sheen and Sally Field are a considerable promotion of actors in regards to the Uncle Ben and Aunt May roles, and in his human form Rhys Ifans is a terrific villain with momentary glimpses of humanity that provoke sympathy out of the viewer. So what kept this film from getting a coveted 5-star review from me? To put it simply, The Lizard. Thankfully the central villain in this tale plays a very minor role in the overall story, and he isn't completely a failure either. His scenes chasing Peter at his high school were among my favorite in the film, and he has some great moments here and there. But the creature design and some of his motives (including turning the entire city into lizard minions) was slightly off to me. However, this is VERY faint criticism. Overall, I felt like I was a 6 year old watching this film it had me so excited. I finally had the wise-cracking, young, hyper-intelligent Spider-man I had always wanted to see, but never thought would get the chance to grace the silver screen. This makes me so happy I practically want to write a love letter to Marc Webb to express my gratitude.