You know that Spider-Man reboot that you don’t quite understand? That one you said was way too soon? The one that tells the origin story of the wall-crawler again?
Well, it’s actually pretty good.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” has been silencing doubters online for a few weeks now, but as the movie opens wide today, we figured we’d sneak in our five reasons to check out the latest visit from your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Because This Spider-Man Acts More Like Spider-Man
Of all the superheroes in all of the publishing houses, multi-verses, and movie adaptations, no hero has a physicality as specific and unique as Spider-Man. For a hero who only came to the big screen in the last decade, his movements have always translated particularly well from the page to the imagination of readers. Whether it was the limitations of technology or a more creative issue, the movement of Raimi’s Spider-Man never seemed as fluid or kinetic as the ink on the page. That problem no longer exists with Webb’s take on Spidey. He’s far more nimble than in the previous series, and he also whips his witticisms with as much ease.
Because Andrew Garfield Is Peter Parker
Let’s be clear about one thing first. Andrew Garfield is not the Peter Parker you know. As Devin Faraci at Badass Digest points out and took serious issue with, Garfield’s spin on the boy who would be Spider-Man doesn’t involve the helplessly weak and nerdy aspects of the character that originally made his transformation so drastic and cathartic for many readers. The rebooted Peter Parker has the confidence to stand-up to Flash Thompson from the get-go and can even ask Gwen Stacy out, but there is a gaping wound buried inside of him. “The Amazing Spider-Man” examines the mystery behind Peter’s parents and the baggage (figurative and literal) that they left him with. Garfield’s performance is nuanced, fully realized, and inventive enough to firmly stand apart from the time-honored, but safer portrayals of Peter.
Because It’s Clear Why He’s Dating Emma Stone
In just two films, Marc Webb has created two of the most believable young romances on the screen in recent years. Only one of them involves a gigantic lizard-man. The director’s experience with “(500) Days of Summer” does help here, but the real praise belongs to Garfield and Emma Stone, a real-life couple, who on-screen form the single most satisfying and realistic relationship ever included in a superhero movie. That dubious honor notwithstanding, the chemistry between Peter and Gwen works well enough to make you long for more scenes of awkward-witty repartee instead of another action sequence. (That’s a compliment and complaint in equal measure.)
Because Despite The Lizard, Everything Else Is Pretty Good
Speaking of that giant lizard-man, for all of the good here—and there is a lot of good here—the bad risks compromising the integrity of it all. “The Amazing Spider-Man” lives in a post-“Avengers” world, but it hasn’t been there long enough to learn all of the lessons that it needed to, namely how to include a one-note, CGI character and make people care. The Lizard falls prey to everything that previously made the Hulk a boring character. He lacks development, proper motivation, and perhaps most unforgivably, some sort of logic behind the transformations. The conflict between Connors and Parker never feels any more significant than a by-the-numbers fulfillment of superhero movie obligation.
Because Spider-Man Actually, Kinda, Sorta Needed A Reboot
Once again, we are living in a post-“Avengers” world. Even if Marvel Studios’ meet-up only conquered Earth a few months ago, “The Amazing Spider-Man” echoes back the trends that have made that brand of superhero movies so successful. From the more youth- and girl-friendly aspects of the story to the hilariously botched attempt at a post-credit sequence, Garfield’s version of Spider-Man fits more easily along side Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. than Tobey Maguire ever could, since we’re still keeping our fingers crossed for “Avengers 2.” This is not to fault Sam Raimi with anything. His series began long before Nolan took the genre dark, but by the third installment, even he seemed to be making fun of it.
Do you plan on seeing “The Amazing Spider-Man”? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!