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The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the better movies that didn't need to be made
Don't misinterpret what I'm going to say, but, as I said in the title of this hub, The Amazing Spider-Man may be one of the better movies that really didn't need to be made.
Now, I will freely admit that Spider-Man 3 had major problems. Most of all, it tried to do way too much. Get rid of at least one of your villains. Split the thing into two movies. Do something to spread out your story and keep it from being a big muddy mess.
But it really didn't need a reboot.
They didn't reboot Star Trek after movies 1, 3, 5, or 7. Sometimes a franchise just makes a misstep. But reinventing it from the ground up means you lose so much of the benifit of making a franchise movie in the first place.
Now, that being said, The Amazing Spider-Man is actually a great, very well-made version of the story. It'll suffer from the fact that people will be comparing it to the first Spider-Man origin movie, but there are actually several things that set this one apart.
But first, the story:
The movie starts while Peter Parker is a little kid (Max Charles). He finds that someone has broken into his father's study and this causes his parents to panic. We're never given any clear answers regarding it all, but young Peter is given to his Aunt May (Sally Fields) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) to care for until his parents return from some mysterious mission. Which, clearly, they never do.
A teenage Peter (Andrew Garfield) is having an awkward time at high-school. He's tongue tied around the girl he likes—Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone)—he gets beaten up by the school tough-guy—Flash (Chris Zylka)—and he's just uncovered some mysterious key to his parent's past. That key leads him to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans).
While visiting Connors' lab, Peter wanders off in search of answers. Either that or the bathroom. Either one. But instead he finds ... dun dun duuuunnnnn ... his destiny.
The effects are great and the action is well shot. This one was actually filmed in 3D, rather than converted, so if you're a fan of the format, it's competently done. But most of the movie really doesn't take full advantage of the added dimension. Now, there are a number shots and sequences that really pop in 3D, but the movie works perfectly well in 2D.
One of the things that sets this movie apart from its competition in the franchise is that it does seem to move much more deliberately through the story. It takes a good while before we see the real meat of the conflict. Not that the movie's boring up to that point. The more deliberate pace allows them to work on a more nuanced character development.
Which leads to the second thing I'd point out.
This one definitely plays up the "teen angst" aspect more fully. Not that the Toby Maguire movies don't have angst in them as well. But if Toby Maguire's angst were Hugh Jackman, Andrew Garfield's angst is Arnold Schwarzenegger. And that's "original Terminator" Schwarzenegger, not "flabby governator with too-much-face-work" Schwarzenegger.
Now, I've been hoping for the Lizard to appear in the movies ever since Dr. Connors was mentioned in the first Spider-Man. So it's great to finally see him in all his scaly glory. It takes a good long while before we do, but he's there nonetheless.
But one thing that I actually liked in the first movies was the fact that Parker's web shooters were part of his Spider-Man transformation. It just doesn't make sense that a teenager would, basically on a whim, invent such a sophisticated and amazing device as the web shooters. It makes more sense for them to be part of his "does whatever a spider can" package deal. But while this movie makes the web shooters a technological development once more, it's done much more believably than "lookie lookie what I made with my home chemistry set!"
But what do you think?
It's hard for me to rank this one without comparing it to the previous movies, but in general I'd probably give it an 8 / 10. (Maybe a 7, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt here.)
The Amazing Spider-Man is rated PG-13 for action violence (with a little bit of blood, but really not that much), a bit of teen sensuality and mild language.