Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but like many others, I was befuddled when I learned the Spider-man series was already being reset and rebooted. I know, I know, it’s been 10 years since the first Raimi film, but it feels too soon… and it is. A few different characters and slight changes (that are really holdovers from the comic book, I gather) doesn’t alter the fact that you’ll spend over two hours watching the same movie as before, with no major surprises.
For fear something terrible is going to befall his family due to revolutionary research he’s working on, Richard Parker takes his son Peter (Andrew Garfield), to live with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). From that day forward, Peter never sees his parents again. Besides showing everyone this event, everything else is just as you remember it.
Peter is a slight outcast in high school who loves photography. He’s in love with the prettiest girl alive, Gwen Stacey (played by Emma Stone) in this version, he gets bitten by a genetically mutated spider, his uncle is shot, he sets out on a personal vendetta against the man responsible, and becomes a hero of the people. Standing in his way this time is Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who turns into a giant hulking lizard when he injects himself with a serum that he hopes will grow his missing arm back.
The Amazing Spider-man might have been a good movie, if there wasn’t the original Sam Raimi picture. This film may look darker and attempts to evoke a more serious tone, but really, it’s the same freaking thing, all over again. Even so, there was no big moment of shock and awe. In fact, the film missed its chance for that moment at the end. I rarely do this, but to illustrate how misguided this film became, I’m going head down the SPOILER route. Skip the next paragraph if you want to stay, uninformed.
As his master plan, The Lizard intends to transform the entire city into monsters, just like himself. We see him release canisters of gas on a group of cops who all change into lizard-men, and that’s the last we see of them. Sure, we see them getting cured at the end, but there is no rampage on the city by these new minions, nor a fight between Spidey and an army of dinosaur men. Instead, they’re forgotten about as if it never happened, which actually should have been the case, based on how it was handled. With respect to another spoiler point; who in their right mind makes a 17 year old high school girl such an important part of a billion dollar lab, to the point that they give her full access and evacuation codes?
The performances are good enough to keep parts of the film entertaining. Martin Sheen and Sally Field take over as Uncle Ben and Aunt May, providing their wisdom in both acting and character delivery. Andrew Garfield works as the more anti-social, flippant version of Peter Parker that matches the film’s change in mood, and Emma Stone can’t help but be her magnetically charming self. She has become the actress that makes everyone smile a bit when she pops on screen, and is easily best casting choice they made.
A trip down the most familiar of roads, The Amazing Spider-man tried to present itself as an experience much closer to the comic books. The issue is, the story really doesn’t change from comic, to Raimi film, to reboot. From awkwardly discovering his powers to a battle on a bridge, The Amazing Spider-man suffers from not venturing significantly from the source, yielding it vastly unmemorable.
Rating: 2 and a half out of 5 ‘Staches