How Amazing is The Amazing Spider-Man?

June 25, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man opened in the U.S. on July 3, and the reviews have already come in from a the critics. The two or three people in the world who were hoping to see more of Tobey McGuire will be disappointed, because the new film is a reboot of the previous series and stars Andrew Garfield, the relatively untested co-star of The Social Network.

Pretty much everyone else has had good things to report, so far.

The Good

Jordan Mintzer of the Hollywood Reporter said, "This satisfying reboot slings a darker Spidey, a stronger romance and a welcome slew of tongue-in-cheek humor." Given the more intense themes, Garfield makes sense in the role; he gives off the same Peter Parker-appropriate underdog vibe that Tobey McGuire does, but he has the range to convey pathos as well as comic meekness.

Mintzer adds, "Directed with emotional depth and plenty of comedic touches, this somewhat darker depiction inserts a touching portrait of adolescent angst into an otherwise predictable dose of CGI-fueled action."

The director being referred to is Mark Webb, who was hired on the strength of his only other film-- 500 Days of Summer.

More praise came in from Andrew Pulver in The Guardian. "Marc Webb's successful synthesis of action and emotion, together with a terrific performance by Andrew Garfield, means that this Spider-Man is as enjoyable as it is impressive."

Pulver goes on to note some differences between the old series and the new. "Parker, as played by Andrew Garfield, who is no hapless super-nerd, but a mumbling, shambling skateboarder who, though perhaps not extra-strength catnip to the ladies, has no trouble in catching their eye. Moreover, the central love interest here isn't girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson, but the considerably kookier Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), promoted from a more incidental role in Spider-Man 3."

We also meet Parker's parents, who factor significantly in the actual Spider-Man mythology but are never even seen in Raimi's version. (Speaking of the original comics: check out All Access Weekly's exclusive interview with Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee.)

The Not-So-Good

Praise aside, some critics think the new film isn't enough of a departure from Raimi's trilogy. The Daily Mail reviewer Chris Tookey said, "The publicity promises us 'the untold story', but most of the tale has been told before, quite adequately, in Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man movie, and that was only ten years ago."

Fair point-- Hollywood filmmakers do usually wait until a release has faded from public consciousness before they rip it off. The premature reboot could have something to do with the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man was actually going to be the fourth in the previous series, before original director Sam Raimi backed out.

Either way, this is a summer blockbuster at its finest, people. Go see it.

Last but not least, report to All Access Weekly every Thursday at midnight on Spike TV for a rundown of what's going on in the worlds of tech, gaming and pop culture.

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Source: Columbia Pictures