The Amazing Spider-Man Review

This was going to be a review of The Dark Knight Rises, but my attempt to see the midnight opening turned into something of a failure. I’m not crass enough to complain, but I didn’t end up seeing the movie. So instead of The Dark Knight Rises, I guess I’ll finally get around reviewing Amazing Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man does not live up to its name. While it certainly hews closer to the comics than Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, it feels wholly unnecessary with that film in mind. Did anyone need to see Spidey’s origin again, especially with so few changes and even fewer improvements? Its not that the movie is that bad, just that for every good thing it does, it does at least two bafflingly stupid things.

Let’s start with the bright spots. Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May are terrific. Rhys Ifans makes a lackluster villain at least somewhat interesting. Emma Stone is perfect as Gwen Stacy. The only real weakness in the cast was Andrew Garfield as Peter. He doesn’t look like a teenager, for one thing. Also, instead of seeming like a nerdy outcast, Peter comes off as an autistic creeper. He takes pictures of Gwen when she isn’t looking and uses them as computer backgrounds; its strange. He also sort of nods and shakes uncomfortably all the time. I’d rather have the somewhat mopey Tobey Maguire.

There is a satisfying kineticism to the fights and the webslinging. It is really solid stuff. Too bad it is ruined by some awful plotting. The basic story is as good as ever, but everything built around it is done rather poorly. Peter sneaks into Oscorp by taking a name badge with no I.D. check, then breaks into the experimental spider room because it is locked by a simple video game mini-game. Oscorp leaves a potentially deadly weapon just sitting in the middle of a poorly guarded lab. Baffling stupidity like that is the norm for this movie. Anyone of them would be fine, but they build on each other until it becomes kind of unbearable. Which is sad, because it ruins some great character scenes between Peter and Uncle Ben, Gwen and Captain Stacy.

Amazing Spider-Man simply feels unnecessary. Most of the plot did not need a retread, despite the slight improvements it made in some parts. Since it has been a relatively short time since Spider-Man, it is hard not to compare the two movies, and the comparison is not favorable to Amazing Spider-Man. Amazing this movie simply is not, it is borderline dull; a tired exercise in repeating better movies and superhero cliché.

*1/2

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