Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012 Marc Webb)
It's been ten years since the first modern Spider-Man movie was made so it's time to let another director get a crack at it. The new film markets itself as a reboot. It is better than the last movie, not only special effects wise but also story-wise. This movie is worth seeing again on DVD and should be part of your movie collection.
The basics of the story are the same. A young Peter Parker grows up with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May and is socially underdeveloped in high school. He gets bitten by a genetically-developed spider that gives him special powers. In this Spider-Man reboot, the movie provides more of a background story between Peter's parents and how he became Spider-Man. Peter's father is a genetic scientist and suddenly brings a young Peter to Uncle Ben and Aunt May and disappears from his life. Ten years later, Peter Parker is in high school and has a major crush on blond and brilliant Gwen Stacy. While helping to clean up the basement, Peter finds his dad's old briefcase containing a file filled with notes of the genetic modification project that his father was working on before he disappeared. With a little bit of internet research he finds his father's former employer, Oscorp, and his research partner, Dr. Curt Connors. Dr. Connors is missing an arm and he sees his work with Richard Parker (Peter's father) in genetic modification as a way of strengthening human genetics. Personally, he hopes the research will help towards fixing his arm.
Peter goes to look for the Dr. Connors at Oscorp in the hopes of getting more information. Due to a mistaken identity, Peter ends up with a group of new interns and finds that it is headed by Gwen Stacy. He slips away from the group and discovers a secure room that contains the experiments resulting from his father's work but gets bitten by a genetically modified spider. Peter suffers from the effects of the bite and finds that he has superhuman strength, agility and capabilities. Slowly he hones his skills after school but an encounter with the high school bully results in Uncle Ben being required to come to school. The altercation has Peter rebelling against his uncle and leaves the house at night. Concerned, Uncle Ben looks for Peter but is shot and killed by a robber.
Peter goes to Dr. Connors to help him solve a genetic problem. Under pressure, Dr. Connors, uses an experimental solution and his missing limb regenerates but develops some unexpected side effects that will pit him against Spider-Man.
Tall and rangy Andrew Garfield, is appealing as Peter Parker. He is a regular high school guy who is not part of the in crowd but is not as socially inept or alienated as Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker. The character of Gwen Stacy is wonderfully played by Emma Stone. She is confident, extremely smart, stylish and kind. She makes a great foil for Peter Parker. Martin Sheen as gentle Uncle Ben is a noble, hard-working guy who tries to teach Peter to always do the right thing. Aunt May played by Sally Field is the heart of the household. Dennis Leary plays Gwen's father, Captain Stacy of the New York Police Dept. What's great about Leary is he doesn't play the part as the traditional Irish cop. Because the premise of the story is outlandish enough, that the actors are playing it straight supports the believability of the movie. It's great ensemble acting. Unlike the Sam Raimi movie, there is no outsize personality or shallow comic character. It's a very well written movie and one that supplants the original Spider-Man. The special effects are of course top-notch and the new costume is much better than the old although it stays within the style. I can't wait for the next installment.
- Rated R
- Runtime: 136 minutes
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