Unnecessary? Perhaps. But it sure lives up to its title.
**** ½ out of 5
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Article first published as Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man on Blogcritics.
Spider-man,” we meet young Peter Parker (Max Charles) playing a night game of hide and seek. When Peter discovers someone has broken into his father Richard’s (Campbell Scott) office, Richard grabs Peter, mother Mary (Embeth Davidtz), and a satchel. They make their way to Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May’s (Sally Field) house where Peter is left to live with them. Now in his teens, Peter (Andrew Garfield) is the awkward teen we know and love who pines for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), walks around with his camera in tow, and takes a beating by Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka) for standing up for the little man at Midtown Science High School.
When Uncle Ben has Peter look into their flooding basement, Peter discovers his father’s satchel. In it, Peter finds an Oscorp employee badge and a photo of his father with the one-armed scientist, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). Curt Connors worked with Richard, and is obsessed with regenerating his right arm, but hasn’t been seen or heard from since Richard and Mary abandoned Peter. Peter finagles his way into Oscorp pretending to be an intern only to run into Gwen who works directly under Dr. Connors. It’s here that Peter sneaks away to the “Biocable Development Unit” where what could be thousands of genetically altered arachnids are contributing to the making of a new kind of super strong cable and Peter is of course bitten.
Most of the story remains the same, but as it’s based on the comic book that should come as no surprise. Yes, Andrew Garfield looks too old to be playing a high schooler, but a 28-year-old was probably cast in order to have the same actor for multiple films; as should be the case for all franchises. Thankfully, with Spider-Man, Marvel has never gone the route of The Hulk where he’s been played by a new actor at every turn. Gwen Stacy, as played by Emma Stone, is a far better love interest than Mary Jane Watson. Garfield and Stone have more chemistry than most actors could ever dream of having on screen. It comes as no surprise the two are currently dating in real life and only adds more depth to the fate that could belie their relationship.
Zodiac”), Alvin Sargent (“Spider-Man 2” and “3”), and Steve Kloves (who wrote all but one of the “Harry Potter” films). But Webb delivers some astounding action sequences while dousing the proceedings with the appropriate amount of characterization, only further helping make “The Amazing Spider-man” live up to its name and relaunch the series to new heights.
Photos courtesy Columbia Pictures