The Amazing Spider-Man | Movie review
Marc Webb’s franchise reboot feels prespun.
The Amazing Spider-Man is being billed as the “untold story” of Peter Parker. But its story was told a decade ago, nearly beat for beat, in Sam Raimi’s franchise-launching Spider-Man. Arriving just five years after Raimi put the lid on his trilogy, Marc Webb’s slick and overlong reboot offers only minor modifications. Yes, Spidey now engineers his webbing in a test tube, and yes, he’s now curious about the MIA parents who left him in the care of his aunt and uncle. The love interest is brainy blond Gwen Stacy (a perfectly cast Emma Stone) instead of ravishing redhead Mary Jane Watson. And rather than squaring off against the cackling Green Goblin, our friendly neighborhood superhero takes on…well, a different green menace from the laboratories of Oscorp. The most substantial difference relates to the man behind the spandex. As portrayed by Andrew Garfield, the lanky and handsome star of The Social Network, Parker is now more of a shy, broody loner than the gushing dork Tobey Maguire made him out to be.
None of these changes, most of them cosmetic, prevent Webb’s web from seeming prespun. As The Amazing Spider-Man swings from one recycled plot point to the next—the fateful bug bite, the lecture about responsibility, the evolution of the costume—it begins to resemble a straight remake of Spider-Man with the eccentric edges sanded down. Raimi’s films, for all their corny speeches and goofy non sequiturs, had auteuristic personality to spare. No such luck here, as Webb fails to stage a single scene as playful or memorable as Maguire’s first climb in the original. The only thing the director gets right is the teen romance—hardly surprising, as his last feature was the hipster breakup comedy (500) Days of Summer. When Garfield uses his web blasters to pull Stone into a rooftop kiss, it’s a sweet and worthy successor to Spider-Man’s upside-down smooch. It’s also the only moment in this too-familiar adventure that feels fresh—or, for that matter, amazing.