Main cast: Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Rhys Ifans (Dr Curt Connors), Denis Leary (Capt George Stacy), Sally Field (May Parker), Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson), and Martin Sheen (Ben Parker)
Director: Marc Webb
It just seemed like yesterday when the previous Spider-Man movie franchise crashed and burned, so I am not too enthusiastic about a reboot. Superhero movies is like this decade’s version of Pixar cartoons – there is a new one out every other month, it seems. Still, as a dedicated movie-watcher of questionable taste, I feel that it is my obligation to give this one a try. I’m glad with how the whole thing turns out in the end, what a pleasant surprise.
As this is the first movie in a planned franchise, this one predictably enough covers the origins part of Spider-Man’s story. There are some creative liberties taken, of course. Peter Parker is still a geek, and here is one area where the movie scores a big one: Andrew Garfield looks just right for the part. He is cute – darling is making his living as an actor, after all, and butt ugly usually doesn’t cut it unless you have materials for use to blackmail casting directors – but not too handsome. He looks and is build just right as a believable geek in high school. Mr Garfield also has a more expressive face and he throws himself right into the role, making him a nice change from Tobey Maguire, who seemed increasingly miscast as the previous franchise dragged on.
Anyway, this Peter Parker has a crush on Gwen Stacy, who doesn’t seem to own a pair of skirts that go below her knees. She is smart, and she ends up working as an intern in Oscorp. Meanwhile, Peter is blue about his parents, who are MIA since he was a boy, and he finds some papers linking his father to Oscorp. He sneaks inside, bumping into Gwen – who is wearing knee-length skirts in a lab – and getting bitten by the magic spider in the process. You know the rest of the big picture if you have any familiarity with the whole Spider-Man thing: Peter gets cocky, Uncle Ben dies, Peter feels guilty, blue emo all around. Meanwhile, a mad scientist goes wild with the magic DNA in Oscorp, eventually going on a rampage and threatening to destroy everything. Spider-Man is here to save the day, but this puts him at odds with Captain George Stacy, and that creates some complications for his blossoming relationship with Gwen.
Now, Peter is destined to end up with a certain Mary Jane, and since I doubt this particular reboot would mess with the canon, I hope folks don’t get too invested in Gwen and Peter. I have to admit, though, Mr Garfield and Emma Stone has some really good chemistry here, and their characters’ love story feels natural and even worth rooting for to a cynic like me.
The cast is all top-notch, by the way. Mr Garfield is solid in his role, as I’ve mentioned, and he and Ms Stone carried the show very well. The secondary cast isn’t bad at all. Martin Sheen and Sally Field aren’t stretching themselves by any means, but they play off the two comparative newcomers to the big screen very well. Denis Leary and Rhys Ifans also provide ample stage presence and, really, everyone here makes the movie move at just the right note. With a plot that is focused at just the right things in the right pace, this movie is very watchable from start to end. Even towards the end, when things threaten to go maudlin on a snail’s pace, the movie instead tugs on my heart strings. I’m pleasantly surprised by how easily this movie gets under my skin, in a good way.
The Amazing Spider-Man probably doesn’t need a reboot, but if this movie is anything to go by, I’m definitely looking forward to more.