Just like 20th Century Fox refuses to sell X-Men and Fantastic Four, Sony refuses to sell Disney the rights to Stan Lee’s Spider-Man, yet decided to steal their idea and reboot the franchises that they own. Low and behold, The Amazing Spider-Man. It kind of makes you wonder if Sony will ever do a Spider-Man Team-up series to have Spider-Man starring alongside several other Marvel superheroes that exist within his own universe.
While I wonder if a reboot of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man’s movie franchise was completely necessary, I will say that, as a comic book fan, I did enjoy this new film.
The story goes that Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The Social Network) is going to Midtown Manhattan High School. He lives with his Uncle Ben (played by veteran actor Martin Sheen, Wall Street, The Departed) and his Aunt May (played by veteran actress Sally Field, Smokey and the Bandit, Forrest Gump). He crushes on fellow student Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love), and tries to stand up to school bully Eugene ‘Flash’ Thompson (Chris Zylka, Shark Night 3D, Teen Spirit).
Every thing seems pretty normal, until he discovers a suitcase that once belonged to his father. His father was geneticist working on a way to merge human and animal DNA. He sneaks into OsCorp, where he meets Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans, Notting Hill, Neverland) an old associate of his dad’s. After following a clue left by his dad, Peter enters a secret genetics project that uses spiders as its catalyst.
He is bitten and soon gains the powers of Spider-Man. While he gains many fans catching people who resemble his Uncle Ben’s murderer, he makes an enemy of his high school sweetheart’s, Gwen’s father Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary, of Rescue Me fame) of the NYPD. Meanwhile, using an algorithm that Peter gave him from his father’s notes, Dr. Connors uses it to grow back his arm, but as a side effect, it turns him into the human/reptilian hybrid villain creatively called The Lizard. This new beast has plans to turn the city of New York into his kingdom.
Director Marc Webb brings us a bold new look at the Spider-Man mythology which brings it back subtly to its roots. It features Gwen Stacy as Peter’s first girlfriend. In all honesty, I hope it stays that way. I know I’m shocking fans by saying this, but I always liked her character better than Mary Jane Watson. Spider-Man is also more in character as wise-cracking, smart aleck superhero. That was the thing I missed about the first trilogy. It was good to see Spider-Man more in character and bringing lots of laughs at the expense of the criminals he captured.
While this movie was better, it did leave out one crucial thing: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” While responsibility was discussed, this key component was missing from the film, and it gave up on three (yes, I counted) opportunities to use the famous line. It should have been there, just saying.
Again, I’m not a complete reboot was necessary to bring Spider-Man back to his roots, but I do think this movie was a great thrill ride through his origins and his first battle with a super villain.
FAVORITE QUOTE: Really? You seriously think I’m a cop? Cop in a skin-tight red and blue suit?
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Foul language and intense violence
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This article has been updated from a previous version.