I saw Amazing Spider-Man, and I really liked it. It’s charming, with actors that seem more at ease with each other than any of the other Spider-Man movies. There’s a spoiler-free review after the jump, and a second jump with a couple major problems I had. That part will have spoilers, this part won’t.
First of all, I’m going to get this out of the way. Tobey Maguire freaks me the hell out. I never liked him as Peter Parker, and his whole romance with Mary Jane seemed really odd, probably because I thought he and Kirsten Dunst were both pretty unconvincing as the characters they were portraying. In this movie, however, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have a really nice chemistry; they both have this awkward shyness and haltering speech with each other that perfectly works in their high school romance. Also, Martin Sheen is the best Uncle Ben. He has a wonderful moment where he brings Peter back down to earth when he’s being cocky, and he does it all without saying “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”. In fact, almost all of the actors do a great job hinting at character depth without needing to explain their motivations in their entirety. Even Flash Thompson has an actual character arc!
The Lizard, too, works surprisingly well by setting him up as an opposite to Spider-Man, a lab experiment gone wrong in a scientist that’s already pretty unbalanced. Dylan Baker balances the kindly scientific mentor and creepy lab mutant personae pretty well.
A lot of the action scenes are slick and well-shot, and do a good job showing two characters moving in ways we haven’t been able to see in a movie before. Also, Spider-Man is almost always in motion, flipping, or climbing on walls or ceilings, which exactly how a character with his power set should move in fight scenes.
Overall, I’d say it’s worth the ticket price, and for the most part, the good scenes will vastly outweigh the relatively minor problems you might have with it. We’ve got a more spoiler-y review after the jump that deals with two major problems I had with the story, but didn’t manage to change my orginal review.
The Spoiler Side
Ok. Everyone knows Spider-Man’s origin story by now, right? His uncle dies because of his selfishness, and then he seeks revenge, but then realizes that doing that wouldn’t be a honoring his uncle’s memory, and takes that unfortunately now-cliched slogan to heart. In the movie, he never has that moment. He chases after the guy for a while, but never catches him, and what’s even worse is that he never actively decides to become a better person for his uncle. He gets distracted by Gwen Stacy, and fights the Lizard. He even still has the guy’s picture on his wall by the end of the movie! He clearly still hates him; he just seemed to forget about him for a while.
Second problem is that near the end of the movie, Peter makes a promise to a dying Captain Stacy that he would stay away from Gwen to keep her safe. By the end, he has implied that he’s tooootally going to break that promise, and Gwen is all for it. The problem is, in the comics? Gwen dies because she’s Spider-Man’s girlfriend. That kind of makes the end of the movie seem a little sinister; it’s likely that she’s going to die expressly because Spider-Man ignores a dying father’s last wish. That is messed up, guys.
Still liked the movie, though.