After five years away, Spider-Man returns with a new leading man, director and origin story. Despite the short reboot time, critics are smitten with “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the onscreen chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
The major hang-up of the film, however, lands squarely on the scaled shoulders of the villain, Dr. Curt Connors, a.k.a. the Lizard, who critics complain doesn’t get as much love as the romantic leads.
Check out our roundup of “Amazing Spider-Man” reviews:
“The latest post-atomic-age Spider-Man has been updated with a skateboard and a hoodie, but it’s unclear whom he speaks to (beyond Sony’s shareholders), and for what reason. Like the 2002 ’Spider-Man,’ the first of three movies directed by Sam Raimi, ’The Amazing Spider-Man’ revisits Peter Parker’s origin story. This time it opens with the child Peter and his parents, Richard and Mary (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz), who, after a break-in at their house endangering Dad’s scientific secrets, rush over to Richard’s brother and sister-in-law, a.k.a. Uncle Ben and Aunt May (Martin Sheen and Sally Field, a cozy fit). Parking the boy there for safekeeping, the parents weep and hug goodbye — ’Be good,’ the father portentously tells the son — and within seconds the older, now orphaned Peter is shrinking around school while eyeing his crush, Gwen Stacy (Ms. Stone).” —Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“We live in an age of speed-up, which may explain why the ’Spider-Man’ franchise feels the need for a reboot only 10 years after its first film, and five years after the most recent one. In its broad strokes, ’The Amazing Spider-Man’ is a remake of Sam Raimi’s ’Spider-Man’ (2002), but it’s not the broad strokes we care about. This is a more thoughtful film, and its action scenes are easier to follow in space and time. If we didn’t really need to be told Spidey’s origin story again, at least it’s done with more detail and provides better reasons for why Peter Parker throws himself into his superhero role.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“In keeping with the tonal makeover, ’The Amazing Spider-Man’ is directed by Marc Webb, a relatively under-the-radar thirtysomething helmer whose first and only other feature, ’(500) Days of Summer,’ told a quirky indie love story as pocket-sized as an iPod Nano. I can imagine the new guy getting the hang of his directorial superpowers in a hit-or-miss fashion similar to Peter Parker’s own learning curve, showcased in one of the movie’s most delightful scenes of self-mastery: The kid seeks a quiet place to see what he can do with stringy spider goo. Webb keeps showy stuff to a minimum, even during climactic moments. The modesty pays off.” — Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
“In the hands of Tobey Maguire, who originated the role in ’Spider-Man’ a decade ago, Peter was nerdy, scrawny, insecure — that’s how his everyman relatability manifested itself. Garfield plays Peter as more of a misunderstood outsider, a rebel with a chip on his shoulder, a guy who wasn’t afraid to stand up to the class bully even before he underwent his transformation. And that slightly arrogant attitude gives the whole movie a restless, reckless energy and a welcome sense of danger.” — Christy Lemire, The Associated Press
The Final Word
“This is not a film of stunning set pieces, which isn’t to say Webb hasn’t delivered a good ’Spider-Man.’ He has. For better or worse (at the box office, that is) it’s actually interested in character and, to some degree, to the degree the Marvel franchise machinery will allow, things like pacing and rhythm (though it feels a bit long). I’m not sure about the way the Lizard is handled here as a terrifying digital mini-zilla who periodically turns ’The Amazing Spider-Man’ into a full-on horror movie. But when he gets the chance, Ifans, a fine and subtle actor, works in the same confidential and privately suffering key as does Garfield.” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Amazing Spider-Man.”