amazing spider-manColumbia Pictures
2012
PG-13

“You know, in the future, if you’re going to steal cars, don’t dress like a car thief, man.”

For the longest time, I avoided watching The Amazing Spider-Man. I didn’t want to watch a movie that I felt was completely unnecessary. It had only been ten years since the first Spider-Man film tickled my fanboy sensibilities, and to me this whole rebooting nonsense was getting ridiculous. And thus, true to my curmudgeonly ways, I held off watching The Amazing Spider-Man for a couple of years. Until now, of course. The fanboy curiosity got the best of me, finally, coincidentally when it had been on DVD long enough to be rented for cheep. Fancy that.

First things first–The Amazing Spider-Man came about not from a strong desire to reboot the franchise (though, given Spider-Man 3, I wouldn’t have been that surprised if that was the case); seems Sony was more than willing to do a Spider-Man 4 with Sam Raimi, but his schedule was a bit busy, and Sony was in danger of having the rights revert back to Marvel in the intern, so they had to go forward without Raimi; but, instead of doing SM4 without him, they opted to do an entirely new take with another director. So…okay, understandable. Personally, I think Spider-Man belongs back home at Marvel Studios, but that’s not the point.

Also, kind of wanted to point out that I’m not out to compare The Amazing Spider-Man with the 2002 adjective-less Spider-Man. I shall be reviewing this on its own merits. So, with that in mind, how did The Amazing Spider-Man fare? Did the movie do live action justice to one of my all-time favorite comic book characters? Or is this the worst thing to happen since One More Day?

The Amazing Spider-Man is your basic origin story for the character, and anyone familiar with the comics know it well: Geekity-nerd Peter Parker, unpopular with his high school comrades, but popular with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, gets bitten by an experimented-on spider while at a science lab, and suddenly finds himself going through puberty…er, I mean, gaining the proportional speed and agility of spider, and using that power to be a jerk to his loved ones (are we sure his isn’t puberty, here?). His Uncle Ben dies at the hands of the thief Peter could have stopped but didn’t (see: “jerk”), and thus becomes the Luchador-esque crime fighter known as Spider-Man. Just in time, too, because his scientist mentor has taken a formula to regrow his arm, which it has…along with turning the rest of him into a lizard person. And in the process of trying to take down the Lizard, his crush’s police chief father gets caught in the crossfire, all the while learning the hard way that with great something-something comes great something-or-other. I haven’t worked that part out yet…

I found Amazing Spider-Man…well, not terrible. Not unwatchable. There was a lot of action, a lot of things going on, we get yet another variation of the origin story and such. Andrew Garfield did okay as Peter Parker; however, writing this after watching Spider-Man: Homecoming, I can’t help but compare him to what I now consider the definitive big screen Peter Parker…and he ranks a bit below Tobey Maguire still. I did enjoy the incorporation of The Lizard as the antagonist this go-around; overall, though, it seemed a bit more flash and a not much more than that. It was entertaining, and that was that. Worth a rental, I would say.

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