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The Amazing Spider-Man Review
By Darrin Jones / July 3

Ingredients: If you liked the characters of Spider-Man 2, the action of The Avengers (2012), and the sincerity of X-Men: First Class, then you will like this movie.

Really? Another superhero movie? Who could hope to even compete with The Avengers this summer? Well The Amazing Spider-Man took up the challenge and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t live up to its name. A young Peter Parker (as played by Andrew Garfield) grows up with his aunt and uncle after the mysterious death of his parents. While searching for clues to his father’s past, Peter finds his father’s scientific research which leads him to Oscorp and his father’s old partner, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans.) Peter sneaks into a lab trying to piece together his father’s research notes but is bitten by one Oscorp’s engineered spiders. The spider’s bite gives Peter incredible spider-like powers that he has to learn to control while starting a relationship with his high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone.) Peter helps Dr. Connors complete the research Peter’s father started, which Connors hopes will help him re-grow his lost arm. After Peter’s uncle is killed during a convenance store robbery, Peter becomes the infamous Spider-Man to hunt down his uncle’s killer. Meanwhile, Connors is forced to take drastic actions when Oscorp threatens to take away his experiments. He takes the experimental drug and becomes a monstrous human lizard creature bent on spreading the drug throughout the city. Spider-Man has to become more then a vigilante to stop The Lizard, he has to become the city’s hero. 

It’s hard to put into words just how amazing this movie is. The acting is incredible, the writing is superb, and the action scenes are a seamless transition between high quality CGI and practical effects. Anyone familiar with the director, Marc Webb, will know that he is very good at making likable, quirky characters. Also, his name is Marc Webb, he was born to direct a Spider-Man movie. But let’s get a little fanboy-ish here. Andrew Garfield does a terrific job portraying Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Something Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy was missing was the youthful energy and immaturity that Spider-Man was known for. The Amazing Spider-Man is also a little closer to the comic books then previous Spider-Man franchise; what with Gwen Stacy being Peter Parker’s first girlfriend and the fact that he has to uses web-shooters instead of having spiderwebbing come from his wrists. The film makes a bigger deal of noting that Peter Parker isn’t just super-powered, he’s also very intelligent with a keen scientific mind. The flick does take some liberties the the Spider-Man mythos, as well. For instance, the setting is deeply-rooted in the 21st century; Peter wears contacts, is a skateboarder, always has his cellphone on him and, of course, flocks to the good-old internet anytime he has a question.

But with any franchise reboot, the biggest question always is, “How does it stack up with the previous franchise?” So here’s a few quick comparisons of the two. The Gwen Stacy character is NOT just Mary Jane with blonde hair. Gwen Stacy ditches the damsel-in-distress card in favor of a more active role. In fact, all the characters have a far more active role. Martien Sheen and Sally Fields as Uncle Ben and Aunt May were, thankfully, not underused; the relationship between them and Peter is given time to develop in ways that were lacking from the previous franchise. Also, as hammy as it was that Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man immediately launched into heroics after Uncle Ben’s death, Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man had a more believable arc to him. Peter Parker becomes a vigilante for the sole purpose of finding the thug that killed his Uncle. It’s only after a very intense and personal moment while saving a child from a burning car that Peter realizes that he has to save people because he can. (The scene itself is very reminiscent of another that some might recognize from Spider-Man 2. It was a nice little call back.) And, of course, like every Spider-Man movie, The Lizard eventually finds out Spider-Man’s identity and, let’s face it, with how often super-villains find out Peter Parker’s alter-ego, it’s a wonder why he bothers wearing a mask at all. But at least there’s still a hilarious Stan Lee cameo. All in all, a fantastic movie, a great watch for superhero fans and, in true Marvel movie fashion, stay through the credits to catch an extra scene and maybe a glimpse of things to come.

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