Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
dealing with bullies
not being raised by your parent
spiders in the Bible
Andrew Garfield … Spider-Man/Peter Parker
Emma Stone … Gwen Stacy
Rhys Ifans … The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors
Denis Leary … Captain Stacy
Martin Sheen … Uncle Ben
Sally Field … Aunt May
C. Thomas Howell … Jack’s Father
Irrfan Khan … Rajit Ratha
Campbell Scott … Richard Parker
Embeth Davidtz … Mary Parker
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|Director||Marc Webb—“(500) Days of Summer”|
Laura Ziskin Productions
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|Distributor||Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures|
“The untold story”
You can never underestimate the power of a good story. Let’s face it, if a story is compelling enough, people will forgive the fact that they’ve heard it before. Often times, people claim they want something new and different, but what they really want is the same thing packaged slightly different. It’s these feelings of nostalgia that Marvel Studios is counting on as they release “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Just five years after “Spider-Man 3”, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is attempting to make plenty of money selling the same product with different packaging.
Almost everyone who has lived in America over the last decade knows the basic story of Spider-Man, from either the comics or the multi-billion dollar film trilogy. Our hero, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) lives with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) after the disappearance of his father. A series of coincidences results in a timely spider bite, giving Parker special powers similar to that of a spider. In this particular incarnation, Parker is battling his father’s former partner, Dr. Curt Connors, who has gained special powers of his own. Parker’s love interest, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) happens to be the daughter of the Chief of Police (Denis Leary) who is trying to catch Spider-Man.
While this new film takes itself more seriously, the similarities between “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the 2002 “Spider-Man” are many. Both films have lessons about using your powers for good and taking responsibility for your actions. The first hour of the film is almost a carbon copy of the original, as Peter learns how to use his powers while also designing his signature spandex outfit. The content of the movie is similarly clean, with only a handful of profanities and some mild flirting and kissing between the two leads.
There are some differences in this reboot, including a new villain and Parker’s romantic lead being Gwen, instead of Mary Jane. Also, the new film features a Peter Parker that does not initially take his responsibility seriously. While this does create a somewhat darker version of Peter Parker, it’s probably a more realistic reaction to such newfound powers. Peter has to work through his rebellion, before becoming a selfless hero. “The Amazing Spider-Man” also features heavy use of 3D, a technology that was not readily used in 2002.
The good news about “The Amazing Spider-Man” is that the story being repeated is a great one. It’s a story of redemption and responsibility, and viewers may still be drawn to the exposition, even if it seems familiar. For teenagers who missed out on seeing the original in the theater, this will give them the opportunity to have a similar experience, while being unique, at the same time. Also, the technology for making big-budget motion pictures has become an art form. Viewed in glorious IMAX 3D, the film is quite a spectacle for the eye. New director Marc Webb has infused all of Spider-Man’s flying sequences with a sense of poetry and grace. It’s almost worth going to the theaters just to see Spidey trapeze through the city with ease.
The bad news about “The Amazing Spider-Man” is that it is, at its core, redundant. There is really nothing new here, aside from a different cast. The new cast is fine in their respective roles, although it’s hard to believe that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are in high school. While the action set pieces are excellent, it takes an hour of exposition to get to them. The exposition is well executed, but because we’ve seen it before, I found myself wanting Peter to get it all together, so we could see something new.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” is undoubtedly a great story and good entertainment. For fans of Spider-Man, and those unfamiliar with the original trilogy, the story and entertainment will result in an excellent time at the movies. For those who are wondering why the film was even made, it may be an uphill battle to win them over, although, you should never underestimate the power of a good story, even it seems a bit familiar.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate—“Oh my G_d” (3), “Oh God,” “hell” (3), “damn,” “_ss” / Sex/Nudity: Moderate—woman shown in bra after Peter accidentally rips off her blouse; Peter kisses Gwen passionately; talk about kissing (between Peter and Gwen); shirtless Peter; high school couple kissing at Peter’s locker
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.