The Amazing Spider-Man, yet another movie based on the popular comic book series, has swung into theatres as a reboot. Gone is Tobey Maguire, Drake Bell, or anyone else who donned the mask. Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) now portrays Peter Parker and Emma Stone plays his gal Gwen Stacy, replacing Kristen Dunst as Mary. It’s been five years since Spider-Man conquered evil on the big screen, so no wonder fan anticipation has reached a peak. Fortunately, the movie is garnering many positive reviews.
Peter lives with Aunt May (Sally Field) and his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), and this prequel takes us back to the time when Peter was a young boy living with his parents. The story of what his father (Campbell Scott) does for a career is minimal but sets the scene for Peter’s later discoveries.
Transported to a now grown Peter, his life with Aunt May appears typical for a young teen getting through school and dealing with puberty. It’s when he’s visiting one of his father’s former colleagues, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), in his lab that the incident of the spider bite happens. One of the best scenes in the movie occurs during a ride on the subway when Peter’s powers explode, surprising even him. Peter is a little standoffish, which results in some bullying at school until he begins to use his powers -- still unrevealed to anyone else -- to handle matters in his own way.
Those powers soon have Peter creating his disguise, and setting out to conquer evil. Drama intensifies as Peter and Gwen grow closer. That’s because of his awkward presence while duty calls in the company of her father (Denis Leary), a Captain in the police department. Gwen is warned to stay away from Peter, but when has a smitten teen ever listened to a parent?
Garfield comes through as Spider-Man in handling the multi-characters of a superhero, a young adult who actually bleeds and hurts from his spectacular feats, and a romantic falling hard for his first love. “The character of Spider-Man has meant a great deal to me since I was a child; my attraction to the character began early,” Garfield said about his role. “I found hope in Peter Parker’s struggles and the trials he went through week in and week out in the comics, and I connected with that.”
I really liked Stone in her role, for I felt she was Gwen every moment. Ifans also excels as Connors, a part that requires a lot of belief suspension.
Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) does a good job tackling a summer blockbuster. And what would one of these movies be without a wild and huge villain? Sony Pictures Imageworks, overseen by Jerome Chen, an Academy Award®-nominated VFX supervisor, creates amazing special effects that make the Lizard villain feel authentic and scary.
Longtime fans may have a problem with a reboot, but what’s wrong with continuing a series that boasts so much appeal? The Amazing Spider-Man will also bring in an entire new group of fans who will know the story from its beginning.
I enjoyed this film very much and want to tell those who don’t like 3D that I watched the entire movie without the glasses. Only a few scenes actually required them -- everything else was visible with normal viewing.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated “PG-13” for action and violence.)
Review also posted at www.reviewexpress.com.