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The Amazing Spider-Man– Movie Review

Submitted by on July 7, 2012 – 9:54 amOne Comment

The difference between Marvel and DC comics is often described like this: Marvel heroes (Spider-Man, the X-Men) are regular people whose secret identities are superheroes. DC heroes (Superman, Batman) are superheroes whose secret identities are regular people. The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb, definitely bears out this sentiment, painting a heartfelt picture of a teenager’s struggle to understand himself in the midst of personal hardship- including a giant lizard trying to kill him in stunning CGI 3D.

You know the story: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is an awkward kid in Brooklyn who develops superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. In this installation, Parker is haunted by the disappearance of his parents, who suddenly dropped him off with Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) and were “killed in a plane crash” soon after. Parker hunts down his father’s old research partner at Oscorp, and helps Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) develop inter-species genetic splicing. Connors tests it on himself… with poor results. Peter must fight the new villain in New York, all while winning the girl (Emma Stone), whose father just happens to be the police captain in charge of hunting Spider-Man.

Garfield is a first rate Peter Parker, endowing teenage tics and mumbling with roiling internal life. Webb constructs a film that could almost stand on its own as a high school dramedy, but he isn’t afraid to unleash the comic book campiness when needed.

However, this campiness raises the much-discussed question: why bother rebooting the entire franchise from the original story, especially after Sam Raimi‘s successful Spider-Man in 2002? Many pointed to a taste for grittier superhero films unleashed by Christopher Nolan‘s masterful Batman films. But while The Amazing Spider-Man might boast good acting and heart, gritty it is not. The villainous dialogue and plot loopholes become just as convoluted as in other films.

The only other major difference to this Spider-Man was the discussion of Peter’s parents. The marketing campaign leaned heavily on this concept- but I’m telling you now, don’t get your hopes up. The few hints that the film drops aren’t really hints; at this point, they gratingly felt like extraneous plot points meant to set up sequels.

Did you see The Amazing Spider-Man? What did you think?

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