Columbia Pictures | Release Date: July 3, 2012
7.1
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Generally favorable reviews based on 1645 Ratings
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5
ReelViews94Mar 23, 2016
Where to go with Spider-Man? That's the billion dollar question that has plagued Sony Pictures. One of their flagship franchises, Spider-Man is a proven money-maker that could not be allowed to lie fallow simply because the creative engineWhere to go with Spider-Man? That's the billion dollar question that has plagued Sony Pictures. One of their flagship franchises, Spider-Man is a proven money-maker that could not be allowed to lie fallow simply because the creative engine ran out of fuel. One could argue that, over the span of three pictures - 2002's Spider-Man, 2004's Spider-Man 2, and 2007's Spider-Man 3 - Sam Raimi took the character as far as he could go. In fact, the third film in that series might have been one too many. When it came time to develop a fourth installment, Raimi departed over "creative differences" and Sony was left with a movie that needed to go forward but no driver behind the wheel. So they followed what has become an accepted approach in Hollywood: when in doubt, remake and reboot. So, a mere ten years after Raimi brought one of Marvel's most respected titles to the screen, that vision has been scrapped for a modification. The Amazing Spider-Man isn't sufficiently different from the 2002 movie to make it interesting and it ignores two major seismic shifts that have rocked the superhero genre since then: Nolan's Batman trilogy and The Avengers. Both of those have made it almost impossible for something with the limited ambition and lazy writing of The Amazing Spider-Man to satisfy. Oh, there's little doubt it will be deemed a success on a business level, and die-hard fans of the comic book will probably respond favorably, but there's something inherently depressing about what this movie says about the state of summer blockbusters in general and superhero movies in particular. Namely, how can audiences respond to something that offers no more than a re-telling of a story we have seen done at least as well so recently?

The Amazing Spider-Man provides a regurgitation of the title character's origin story, as if we couldn't remember it from ten years ago. There was a simple elegance and charming naiveté to the way Raimi presented the story. Yes, the suspension of disbelief curve was high but that's a given with a superhero movie. Here, the matter is complicated by sloppy screenwriting. In addition to swallowing the fact that a spider bite from a "super spider" can imbue Peter Parker with powers, you have to accept that the guy is a master thief. After all, he breaks into the inner sanctum of a top secret genetic research think tank with only a fake I.D. badge. It's random, repeated acts of stupidity like this that damage the movie's ability to establish its own fragile pseudo-reality. The viewer accepts a lot of impossibilities in a superhero movie, but there are limits.

The first half of The Amazing Spider-Man is almost a point-by-point remake of Spider-Man. Let's go through the checklist. Peter is shown to be a nerd in school. Check. Peter gets bitten by a radioactive spider. Check. Peter feels sick then wakes up with new powers. Check. Peter explores his new powers in selfish ways. Check. Uncle Ben gives Peter a lecture about how "with great power comes great responsibility" (although he doesn't use those exact words this time around). Check. Uncle Ben is murdered as a result of Peter's inaction. Check. And so forth... It's a little like hearing an inelegant cover of a familiar song.

The second half replicates the rhythms of Spider-Man with a different villain. This time, it's The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) instead of The Green Goblin. They're largely interchangeable and the final battle is different primarily because the special effects are better. Really, though, after having watched Spider-Man fight The Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and Venom, what more can be done with these generic battles? As well executed as they are by director Marc Webb (making his tent-pole debut after previously helming 500 Days of Summer), there's a repetitive quality that is perhaps unavoidable. The Avengers changed the game when it comes to superhero smackdowns and, because The Amazing Spider-Man is unable to ascend to that level, the fight scenes seem a little quaint and one-dimensional.

In all fairness to Webb, most of The Amazing Spider-Man's flaws are not his doing - they come from the screenplay. His direction is assured and his handling of the special effects is smooth. The romance has its share of cute moments and there are some effective dramatic exchanges. Another point worth mentioning relates to James Horner's bombastic score, which includes yet another instance of self-cannibalization.

For me, this is as deflating a movie as I have seen all year. Not the worst, to be sure, but a project so utterly unnecessary that it made me want to gnash my teeth in frustration.
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5
CinemaphileJul 29, 2016
Serial Comic Book Cinema, the genre de jour, is entering its fourth decade of popularity. Much like the Westerns of the 50's, present day studios greenlight any superhero project that aims at the Summer demographic sweet spot and that canSerial Comic Book Cinema, the genre de jour, is entering its fourth decade of popularity. Much like the Westerns of the 50's, present day studios greenlight any superhero project that aims at the Summer demographic sweet spot and that can also be linked to toy and fast food merchandising. Unlike its muddled plot, the raison d'être for The Amazing Spiderman is crystal clear, Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios wanted to return to the Spiderman revenue well.

While Warner Bros and Christopher Nolan successfully reinvented the Dark Knight, sophomore director Marc Webb fails to accomplish the same with the Web Slinger. Webb's not so amazing Spiderman does capture the frenetic angst of adolescence, but like some teens, this film doesn't know who it is or what it wants to be. Webb's incarnation of Spidey succeeds best as a teen romance; Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone's chemistry are The Amazing Spiderman's only redeeming quality. However, spot-on casting and clever banter cannot save this film from itself.

In contrast to Sam Raimi's Spiderman, Webb's is darker, gorier and more violent, i.e. more Nolanesque. Webb's biggest mistake is that he doesn't fully commit to the newest incarnation, retaining Peter Parker's smart-alec quippage and furnishing the obligatory hyperbolically mad pseudo-scientist bent on molding New York in his own image. Yes, we get to see Curt "The Lizard" Connors on the silver screen for the first time, but we've seen this formula dozens of times. To add insult to injury, it's hardly been 10 years since the first Spider-flick, yet we're subjected to the retelling of Spiderman's origin for no apparent reason other than to give Peter Parker parents and link Peter's transformation to that of Connors'. Derivation from the source material in any media is acceptable, but with one caveat - it should be original and insightful. Again, this is where the solid performances of Martin Sheen and Sally Field must bail out this foundering enterprise. Despite the rehash of Peter Parker having to learn responsibility the hard way, Garfield, Sheen and Field are compelling enough to make the retelling barely palatable.

Mildly entertaining as it is, I cannot recommend that you spend good money to see this film. Wait for cable or broadcast television.
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6
ourtimehascomeMar 3, 2017
Bloated in its misunderstanding of the source material. Garfield and Stone are enjoyable as Parker and Stacy, which makes the rest of the film somewhat bearable. Overwrought with nonsensical expository information, and the characterization ofBloated in its misunderstanding of the source material. Garfield and Stone are enjoyable as Parker and Stacy, which makes the rest of the film somewhat bearable. Overwrought with nonsensical expository information, and the characterization of Peter Parker is ridiculous. He's a bookworm and outcast, yet he dresses like a skater from the 90's. Though the romance is believable, the bullying is not. Characters are one-dimensional. The sound design is outright laughable and I expected more from Webb's directorial debut. It's difficult to imagine a world in which the lizard's CGI is considered acceptable. Expand
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