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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man


Gone are the days of the Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi Spider-Man as the series is now rebooted with a fresh-faced young cast and new director. It makes you feel old, doesn't it? A film series less than ten years old being rebooted. Perhaps this is one of the Marc Webb directed The Amazing Spider-Man's main problems, it simply does not cover enough new ground to justify this update.

Peter Parker is lead to the labs of Oscorp in the hope of finding clues as to why his parent's disappeared when he was just a child. It is there he meets Dr. Curt Connors, a scientist cross-breeding reptilian DNA with that of other creatures. It is not long until Dr. Connors becomes his own guinea pig, transforming into "The Lizard" wreaking havoc throughout New York. It is up to Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man) to stop him.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a lot of fun and a thoroughly enjoyable Summer blockbuster. Webb's film gets the casting completely right and for the most part gets the emotional tone of the film spot on. Unfortunately, much of the film simply feels like a retread of what was already covered in Raimi's original Spider-Man. Little deviates from the sequences where Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker is bitten and discovers his powers to the updated Garfield version. We see Uncle Ben shot and Peter hunt down the criminal that did so, like in the original.  Rhys Ifan's Curt Connors strikes some incredibly similar parallels with Willem Dafoe's Norman Osbourne, likewise Emma Stone's Gwen Stacey to Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane.

Webb spends slightly more time exploring the character of Peter Parker where Andrew Garfield proves to be one of the film's strongest assets. The young actor captures the emotional instability in Parker, someone who has never recovered from the disappearance of his parents, with Garfield also bringing a wry charm to the shy character. Seeing Garfield put on the Spider-Man mask, allows us to see Peter's transformation from an awkward teen to a confident crime-fighter. The star also shares wonderful chemistry with Emma Stone, who as always is a joy to watch. One cannot help that the role does not challenge the actress much as it relies on her simply doing her magnetic "Emma Stone thing".

Martin Sheen and Sally Field impress as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. However, Uncle Ben's death sequence comes nowhere close to the emotional punch of that in Raimi's Spider-Man, simply due to the brief time spent on this scene. Rhys Ifans turn as Dr. Connors also proves enjoyable, with the actor bringing his natural charisma and depth to the part of the one armed scientist. However, his transformation into the Lizard steps into generic monster territory - once Dr. Connors has transformed, The Lizard is simply any other movie monster.

This increase in emotional depth, leaves the action scenes feeling somewhat sparse compared to the previous efforts. However, there are still more than enough - from set-pieces on bridges, to sewers and school classrooms (which also allows for one of Stan Lee's best cameos). Webb also handles the aerial scenes of Spider-Man swinging through the city flawlessly.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a fun, entertaining Summer blockbuster, but does not deviate enough from Sam Raimi's 2002 feature to justify rebooting a young franchise. Fortunately, an energetic cast and slight increase in emotional depth keep the film of some interest.

Rating: 3/5

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