"The Amazing Spider-Man," hitting theaters on Tuesday (July 3), has a lofty title to live up to — and a few grievances aside, it's more or less exactly as advertised: amazing.
That's an amazing feat in and of itself, considering where the project began: Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire, ready to roll on "Spider-Man 4" in January 2010, were shown the door in favor of a new series of films that eventually claimed virtual unknowns Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield as its caretakers.
An uncertain start? Certainly. But the end result speaks for itself: the creatives responsible for "Amazing" care for the material they're working on, and it shows.
Keep reading for five reasons to see "Spider-Man" this week.
The Hero We Need
Haters, ready your slings and stones: Garfield is a better Peter Parker and Spider-Man than Maguire ever was. No disrespect intended toward the old Spidey, either — I loved him in the role. It's simply a testament to how good Garfield is as the teen superhero: sharp but impulsive, charming but awkward, brave but not fearless. Garfield's enthusiasm and lifelong love for the character is on display in every single moment he spends on screen. In short, he's everything you could ever possibly want in a big-screen Spider-Man. Even if "Amazing" has some kinks to work out — and it definitely does — Garfield delivers a Spidey you'll want to see swinging around for many years and movies to come.
The Girlfriend He Deserves
Likewise, Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is a character you'll want to spend as much time with as humanly possible. Not just because she's fantastic in the role, but because you know your time with her is limited. Stone has made no secret about her desire for Gwen's on-screen story to mirror her tragic trajectory in the comics, a notion that's all the more heartbreaking to consider when you see her turn in "Amazing." She's gorgeous inside and out, the perfect embodiment of Peter's very first love. The real-life chemistry between Garfield and Stone translates marvelously to their characters, turning what was already home-run casting into a grand slam.
Web-Shooters for the Win
"Spider-Man" isn't a pure love fest; there's plenty of action to go around, too. I have my problems with the Lizard, but there's no denying that Peter's reptilian foe paves the way for some of the most thrilling sequences in any "Spider-Man" movie to date. But it's the web-shooters that win the MVP award. Simply put, "Amazing" features the greatest use of Spidey's web-slinging and shooting ever put on screen. You'll marvel at how the hero integrates his webs in his battles against Lizard and other enemies. When he swings from skyscraper to skyscraper, your stomach will roll along with him. To riff on a very different superhero franchise: after "Amazing," you will believe Spider-Man can fly.
The Best Stan Lee Cameo Ever
It feels like you hear that every time Lee makes a new Marvel movie cameo, but this time, I think it's really true: "Amazing Spider-Man" has the best Stan Lee cameo of all time. Don't ask anymore, just go see the movie and try telling me I'm wrong.
A Whole New World
"The Amazing Spider-Man" establishes a brand-new take on a familiar world, and it's one I can't wait to explore further. We could stay here all day and debate the need for another Peter Parker origin story so soon after the 2002 original — regardless of your stance, Webb's movie works very well on its own, and even better as a launching point for future Spidey stories to come. It'll be a glorious day when Garfield and Stone's Peter and Gwen run into new takes on the Osborns, J. Jonah Jameson and other staples of the "Spider-Man" mythos. We're at the starting line of a series of movies that are very different in all the right ways from the Raimi era. That's what Sony was looking to achieve, right? Something new, something different? In that regard, consider the "Amazing" mission fully accomplished.
Are you looking forward to seeing "The Amazing Spider-Man"? Let us know in the comments!
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