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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.04%
Worth A Look34.69%
Average: 24.49%
Pretty Bad34.69%
Total Crap: 4.08%

5 reviews, 19 user ratings

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Amazing Spider-Man, The (2012)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"More like The Mildly Amusing Spider-Man."
3 stars

Usually I donít stump for the extra surcharge and the glasses, but "The Amazing Spider-Man" is probably worth seeing in 3D, on the biggest screen you can find, just for the swinging scenes. No, not "Ice Storm" swinging; Spider-Man swinging.

The guilt-stricken hero shoots his webs, which are stronger than any cable, and slings himself all over New York City, from precipice to precipice. Itís a beautiful sight, and from time to time director Marc Webb slows down or even pauses the action so that Spider-Man hangs suspended in the night air for a pregnant moment. Computer effects have improved vastly since the first Spider-Man movie ten summers ago, so Spider-Man actually seems to have weight and mass. I didnít care much about where he was swinging to, but it looks terrific.

As you may have heard, this is a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, ignoring Sam Raimiís trilogy of films and starting from scratch. Once again, we see the origin story: dorky Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is bitten by a genetically altered spider and gains a variety of powers. He can crawl up walls and across ceilings; his strength and endurance are enhanced, and he has what the comic books refer to as ďspider-sense,Ē enabling him to intuit danger. (This has never helped the myriad spiders Iíve squished with a newspaper, but we donít look to Spider-Man for verisimilitude.) All told, itís about an hour before Peter finally climbs into his red-and-blue costume; before that, he swings around (on homemade web-slingers, not organic as in the prior films) in his civvies and then in a luchador-inspired mask.

The original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics had an elegant simplicity. Peter never knew his parents; he was brought up by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May (played here by Martin Sheen and Sally Field). Here, much is made of Peterís parents disappearing into the night for some reason connected to the fatherís scientific research, which in turn is connected to the lifeís work of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who hopes to merge various speciesí DNA to cure human ailments. Connors, who has only one arm, injects himself with some reptile stuff and becomes the Lizard, the big villain this time out. (In the Raimi films, Dylan Baker played this role and was obviously being groomed to be the villain in a future Raimi Spider-Man film, but now his character seems to have no reason to be in those movies.)

The problem here is that the reboot forces links where there neednít be any. The conflict between Spider-Man and the Lizard seems to be part of a larger arc that will unfold across another trilogy, probably connected to OsCorp, Connorsí employer, named for Norman Osborn, better known as the Green Goblin. In other words, the film seems to be setting up a vast conspiracy involving Peter and his parents, the endgame of which will be made clear ... in a few years. I go to a Spider-Man movie to see the guy duke it out with powerful bad guys. Iím simple that way. I donít need a welter of convolutions. Itís become a bad habit, not only among screenwriters adapting comics for movies but among comics writers, to take a basic, enjoyable origin story with an element of randomness (high-school boy is bitten by spider, becomes hero) and remove the randomness.

Meanwhile, thereís a faltering romance between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), whip-smart daughter of the same police captain (Denis Leary) who wants to arrest Spider-Man. Stone is entertaining as always, but her character doesnít go anywhere special here; longtime fans of the comics, of course, know what befell Gwen, though the juryís out on whether the movies will have the guts to go there. Despite Marc Webbís fancy talk about how the filmís theme is that ďweíre all missing a piece,Ē that just seems pasted onto what reads as a soulless ploy by Sony to retain the rights to Spider-Man. Still, I did recommend that you spend the extra dough for the 3D, so here are some other things I enjoyed: Connorsí expression when he first realizes who Peter is; Stan Leeís obligatory cameo, probably his funniest yet; Spider-Man using his webs to detect the Lizardís movement; Denis Learyís horror when faced with an allegedly menstruating teenage daughter.

Few of these things have much to do with the superhero I grew up with, and this movie doesnít even have time for Peterís and Spider-Manís ultimate nemesis, J. Jonah Jameson. I never thought Iíd miss the old coot so much.

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originally posted: 07/08/12 06:55:15
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell not amazing by anymeans 2 stars
3/29/16 Aj wales Seen one spiderman you have seem them all. Nothing new to add to series. 1 stars
1/14/16 Dr.Lao Has its moments, but I didn't like the go-nowhere subplot about Peter's parents 3 stars
9/02/14 Jeff Might have been pointless but who cares? 5 stars
5/16/14 Toni Peluso There was a really good movie in there somewhere, pretty CGI 2 stars
4/22/14 Terry Pointless reboot. The film had no soul comparing to Raimi's versions. 2 stars
7/19/13 Joe Pretty good for an unnecessary reboot. 4 stars
1/06/13 jcar a good movie that is true to comic book lore and effects are good and performances are good 4 stars
8/25/12 roscoe flawed because mostly a remake 4 stars
7/29/12 Lenny Zane Insufferable first 45 minutes dig too deep a hole for film to get out of. 2 stars
7/27/12 mr.mike A bit long and no chemistry between Garfield and Stone. 4 stars
7/24/12 Mick Gillies too busy being tangled up in its own web 1 stars
7/12/12 Man Out Six Bucks Why the fuck do they keep rebooting this story until it's hammered shit? 2 stars
7/10/12 Andy One of the best spiderman film.. Good character development 4 stars
7/09/12 Ming Kwong Good special effects but not as good as Raimi's original 3 stars
7/08/12 Terry Very disappointing. Hope the new Batman is much better. 3 stars
7/08/12 Kcaj better than spider man 3 but thats not saying much 3 stars
7/08/12 action movie fan nothing amamzing this time the lizard is true to the source but nothing else 3 stars
7/06/12 damalc special effects were Amazing, but overall not as good as Raimi's first two 3 stars
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  03-Jul-2012 (PG-13)
  DVD: 06-Nov-2012


  DVD: 06-Nov-2012

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