The Amazing Spider-Man Review
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It seems like just yesterday that Sam Raimi took on the Spider-Man franchise, kicking off a superhero trilogy with Tobey Maguire in the lead role. But now, just 10 years later (and just five years after Raimi’s Spider-Man 3), (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb is already rebooting the franchise, taking a step back to analyze the hero’s origins in The Amazing Spider-Man.

Webb’s new take on the story stars self-proclaimed Spider-Man fanboy Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, a nerdy, mild-mannered teen who’s lived with his aunt and uncle (Sally Field and Martin Sheen) since he was a little boy—ever since his parents tried to escape an unknown danger before being killed in a car accident. When Peter finds his father’s old briefcase, though, he uncovers valuable information about his father’s work in cross-species genetics, which then leads him to his father’s former partner, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans).

While exploring the lab, Peter is bitten by a genetically-engineered spider that gives him mysterious powers. And, while trying to adjust to his new abilities, he also manages to help Connors solve an equation that could change everything—for better or for worse.

Though fans of summer superhero movies will most likely expect hours of non-stop thrills from the latest Spider-Man incarnation, The Amazing Spider-Man focuses more on Peter and his story than on the web-slinging, crime-fighting action. It takes its time in setting the stage, following Peter as he adjusts to his strange new powers, as he works with his father’s old partner, and as he deals with the usual teenage troubles. It isn’t until well into the film that the real action begins.

Fortunately, though, you won’t really mind taking the extra time to explore Peter’s story—because Garfield is such a lovable star. He’s scruffy and a little bit scrawny, making him perfectly believable as an awkward teen—but, at the same time, he’s still cool enough to make him believable as a masked crime fighter. And, as a result, his Peter Parker is the perfect mix of superhero and science nerd—complete with plenty of weaknesses and imperfections to make him relatable to the mere mortals in the audience.

Emma Stone, meanwhile, is lacking her usual spunk as Peter’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Though the character has a few standout moments, she’s softer and less sarcastic than Stone’s typical character—and it often feels as though she could have been played by just about any young actress.

As for the crime-fighting action, when it does finally kick in, it’s definitely fun to watch. The effects are eye-catching, and the web-swinging scenes shot from Spider-Man’s point of view will have audiences soaring along with the red-suited crusader. And though the first half of the film may be unhurried, the second half speeds along—a fun-filled blur of web-slinging, cop-evading, lizard-hunting action.

Sure, it isn’t the most fast-paced superhero movie—and it doesn’t have the same kind of fun and flashy action and adventure of The Avengers—but The Amazing Spider-Man will still satisfy fanboys with its history, humanity, and heart.

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