After Spider-Man made an ass out of himself because of Venom in the last film, Sony thought it was time for a reboot. Toby, Raimi and co have been kicked out the door and an injection of new blood has been inserted into the franchise. The Amazing Spider-Man promises an untold story we’ve never heard before. Or it would be a story retold, which would be a little too soon after the last Spider-Man was swinging around on the big screen. Does The Amazing Spider-Man swing into a bold new direction? Or does it get washed down the sink?
The Amazing Spider-Man is neither. It focusses on how Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man once more, how he got bitten, how he comes up with the suit idea, how Uncle Ben moves him into action, basically everything covered before but with a few changes. The untold origin story promised in the trailers doesn’t seem to be overly present, a few hints about his fathers involvement is all we get. It doesn’t make for the most riveting viewing having to spend so much time on largely the same material once more, but a great cast helps. Andrew Garfield makes for an excellent Spidey, one who wise cracks and manages to look like a teen nerd, unlike Toby Maguire. The love interest Gwen Stacey played by Emma Stone is also a great choice. The two have a real feeling of chemistry and the romance makes for The Amazing Spider-Man’s strongest moments. It doesn’t feel too heavy-handed, it avoids being cheesy. And got to love the boots, high socks combo.
Then we have The Lizard who acts as the main advisory for Spidey. He starts off as a one-armed scientist longing for a full set, then slowly devolves into an aggressive jerk as the lizard injection he gives himself starts to transform him into a monster. His story is interesting, his actions are not. He never comes across as a truly engaging villain and while the confrontations between himself and Spider-Man are action packed and stuffed full of special effects, there is never a real sense of urgency or emotion wrapped around these confrontations. His flat face is rubbish too, like he’s come from the Super Mario Bros. movie. Goomba!
It goes for the rest of the film too, everything is solid yet never amazing. It feels too safe in execution, leading to a film which feels like a recast version of Raimi’s trilogy. It even has a cringey pro-American scene involving cranes and the American flag displayed proudly in the background. The film has no stand out scenes, memorable quotes or mood shifting music, it just maintains one set quality from start to finish. A bit like processed food.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a film forced out onto the streets so Sony can keep hold of the Spider-Man franchise. It is too soon and it doesn’t offer anything unique, but with a great cast and solid set up, a sequel has a ton of potential to become that amazing Spider-Man film people have been waiting. This is there to get the set up out the way while erasing Spider-Man 3 from our memories. A success in a way.