The Amazing Spider-Man Review

It’s been ten years since the first Spider-Man movie came out. At the time, it was one of the biggest super hero movies to ever come out. A lot has changed since then though, super hero movies have become big money makers for studios, as “The Avengers” proved, recently becoming the top grossing movie of all time. So in an effort to make more money, Sony Entertainement rebooted the Spider-Man franchise with a whole new cast and crew.

I enjoyed the first two Spider-Man movies and hated the third. Those movies always felt a little off though, like the actors were working off a first draft copy of the script. The dialogue was a little stiff and kind of cheesy at times, and while that may work fine for the original comics, it did not work for the movies. The cast felt a little flat, Kirsten Dunst’s lines had no feeling behind them and Tobey Macguire always looked like he was about to cry. In the new movie, the dialogue flows naturally and all the lines sound like people would say them in real life. I know this seems like nit-picking, but some of the awkward dialogue ruined a few scenes in the original trilogy, mostly the lines between Peter and Aunt May or Mary Jane.

It’s hard to review a movie reboot without referencing the original when there’s been such a relatively short time between them, but I will try and keep it to a minimum. With that said, the new movie does tread some familiar ground as they have to go through the whole origin story over again. Luckily, the movie speeds through it rather quickly. It’s not that it’s a bad or boring story, it’s just everyone knows it by now; there’s no reason to dwell on it. The only downside is that Peter seems a little too accepting of the fact that he gets superpowers from a spider bite, but he does make his own webshooters in this movie, so it’s a compromise I’m willing to make.

All the actors perform perfectly in the roles they were cast. Martin Sheen is fantastic as Uncle Ben, never letting his lines get overly hammy (The famous, “With great power comes great responsibility,” line is only paraphrased in the movie, probably because it’s just so awkward to squeeze into dialogue.). Denis Leary is a very convincing cop, falling into the necessary hard-ass role perfectly. Emma Stone, who I never saw as a particularly strong actor, is great as Gwen Stacy. Andrew Garfield is a perfect Peter Parker though; he’s awkward in a believable way, being more of a loner than a target of ridicule for the entire school. When he becomes Spider-Man, he’s cocky and sarcastic without becoming annoying and unbelievable.

The plot itself is basic, and doesn’t fall into the trap of having too many plot lines going on at once that many super hero movies tend to do. Peter gets bit by the spider, becomes a super hero, and Dr. Curtis Conners turns himself into a giant lizard creature that wants to turn everyone else in New York into giant lizard creatures, because turning yourself into a monster has the side effect of making you crazy. There are a few twists that fans of the comics will recognize, but I won’t spoil anything.

Missing from the movie are a few familiar faces, like newspaper mogul J. Jonah Jameson (although I don’t think anyone could improve on J.K. Simmons performance in the original), and Mary Jane. Peter being a photographer was probably cut for time, plus he is still in high school, so it would be a little unrealistic for a major paper to hire him as a photographer. Mary Jane was cut in favor of Gwen Stacy, Peter’s first girlfriend in the comics, much to the upset of some fans. Including her could have been done, but in the end it probably would have upset or confused fans anyway.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” was an unnecessary reboot to an existing franchise, but that doesn’t stop it from being fun. Everything is loyal to the source material, with only minor changes throughout. The cast does a stellar job, falling into their roles perfectly. While the plot may be on the lighter side, that doesn’t make the movie less enjoyable. It’s a good start to a new series and I look forward to seeing what they will do in the next movie.

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    • Liz
    • July 20th, 2012

    Mary Jane ain’t got nothin’ on Gwen Stacy. For real.

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