Comic Book Movies Of 2012: ‘Spider-Man’ Is ‘Amazing’

Amidst all the comic book superhero films coming out this year, “The Amazing Spider-Man” stands alone. The 3D reboot looks to offer a breath of fresh air into the overpopulated genre when it swings into theaters in July.

Spider-Man has always been one of the lighter and more family friendly superheroes in Marvel’s arsenal, and it seems like that will largely remain the case in Marc Webb’s slightly mopey take on Spidey’s origin story. The upcoming film places number three on our list of comic book movies to get excited for in 2012, placing it squarely between Ghost Rider peeing fire and a certain dour vigilante in a black cowl coming up later on our list.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” retells the story of Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man from its beginning. Andrew Garfield plays a teenage version of Peter whose life is troubled with the desire to discover the reason for his parents’ disappearance 13 years earlier. A new logline for the project implies that the secret to their disappearance has to do with a project the laboratories at Oscorp are working on. Appropriately, Peter’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is an intern at Oscorp under the tutelage of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), which allows Peter some inside access. But one accident leads to another, and Peter finds himself turning into Spider-Man while Connors is transformed into the villain the Lizard.

The new “Spider-Man” brings a new look and sense of wonder to a franchise that’s been absent from theaters since 2007. A large part of that change is thanks to the addition of 3D to the movie. Webb decided to shoot the film with 3D cameras instead of converting it after the fact, and we have to admit we’re intrigued to see how he put together the movie with that element in mind. Fans got a tease of Webb’s take on 3D in the first trailer for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The final moments were a first-person sequence from Spider-Man’s perspective of him swinging through New York City, and we’re sure Webb has a couple other creative 3D tricks up his sleeve in addition to that one.

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There are some skeptics out there that are saying that it’s too soon — and slightly unnecessary — for Sony to reboot the “Spider-Man” franchise considering how well it was doing beforehand. After all, the origin tale of Spider-Man was told very effectively at the beginning of Sam Raimi’s 2002 film. But we’ll direct those people to the critical and box office success of “X-Men: First Class” this past year. That film similarly rebooted a franchise that didn’t necessarily need to be kickstarted, yet it did so with flying colors and ended up being (arguably) the best comic book movie of 2011.

To be fair, Webb is doing a lot of things with the project that die-hard fans should respect. The director opted out of the non-canon organic webbing that Raimi used in his films and has decided to use the comic’s web-shooters instead. It’s more of a creative challenge for the film’s team, but it’s one that we’re glad he decided to take on. And, of course, there’s the fact that Gwen is going to be Peter’s girlfriend in this film instead of the more iconic Mary-Jane Watson. Whether Mary-Jane will make an appearance in the film is yet to be seen, but at least this version is truer to the earliest “Spider-Man” stories.

So consider us intrigued by Webb’s reboot of “Spider-Man.” He’s earned plenty of points with us for his wonderfully creative film debut “(500) Days of Summer” which allows us to overlook any skepticism we might have about the project and place our faith in his abilities. Plus, that first-person sequence swinging through New York City looks pretty freaking awesome in 3D.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” hits theaters on July 3, 2012.

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