Amazing Spider-Man Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Superheroes are “in” these days. So “in” that they’re revamping old film franchises like Spider-man, which, it could be argued, set off the modern superhero filmmaking trend in the first place only a few years ago. So why, instead of giving lesser known superheroes like, say HAWKEYE and BLACK WIDOW their own movies, are they making yet another Spider-Man film? This time they claim to have something new and different: parent drama.

The son of a famous missing scientist finds the secret to cross-species genetics, accidentally turning himself into a spidery hero and his mentor into a giant destructive lizard.

Another thing that’s different is that the movie is filmed in 3D, which does not matter to me. All that matters to me is the storytelling, so although I will admit the new film is more acrobatic than the old, and that it’s not a bad movie per se, it’s not different enough to justify its existence.

One of the things that bugged me the most about The Amazing Spider-Man was that the promotional materials all claim that it’s “the untold story” of Spider-Man, but as far as I can tell, the story STILL hasn’t been told. All they’ve done is hint at it. Young Peter Parker (Max Charles) is unceremoniously dumped with Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) after his father (Campbell Scott) finds his office rifled through.

Young Peter with mom and dad from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Peter, Mommy and Daddy have to disappear mysteriously now. It’s in our contract.

Peter grows up in the dark about the mysterious equations on his father’s chalkboard and about what happened to his parents. Once he’s turned into a nerdy high schooler (Andrew Garfield) he finds his father’s briefcase in the basement and decides to investigate, because apparently he’s never so much as Googled his father in all this time.

Peter with Uncle Ben and Aunt May from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

What were you waiting for, son? The cameras?

Peter finds out that his father’s old science partner Kurt Connors (Rhys Ifans) works at Oscorp and sneaks in. Conveniently, the girl he has a crush on at school, Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) works there. This would make more sense if she weren’t ALSO STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Emma Stone plays a high school scientist from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

I’m very precocious. Also if I didn’t work here I wouldn’t be in the movie much.

Peter sneaks around, gets bitten by a spider, and accidentally hands over his dad’s equation Kurt, who only has one arm. He’s been looking for the equation all this time because it will allow him to grow his arm back.

Kurt Connors grows a new arm from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Like all comic book scientists, he tests his formulations on himself.

So Peter discovers what his father has been working on, but that’s the last they really mention about what happened to him, except for the scene in the middle of the credits which hints that Connors knows more than he’s saying.

mysterious bonus scene from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Yeah, thanks guys. We got that. BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS HE HIDING?

They continually hint that there’s a mystery to be solved, but there’s just too much else going on to get into it. Peter is suddenly able to crawl up walls and kick people’s assess.

Peter kicks some dudes on the subway from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

I guess martial arts is one of a spider’s natural defense mechanisms?

But he only uses it to get revenge on bullies at school until Uncle Ben gets killed, then he becomes a vigilante in a stretchy suit and general pain in the ass to police Captain Stacey (Denis Leary) who is trying to catch him and just HAPPENS to be Gwen’s daddy (the convenience virus is going around I guess).

Peter makes out with Gwen from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Lets not tell daddy that you climb up the building to make out with me.

Adding the parent stuff onto the Uncle Ben stuff means the movie takes a long time to get going, and it takes even longer to get to the actual superhero monster fighting stuff. For the first little while after he’s an official superhero, Peter spends most of his time running from cops while his soon to be lizard pal makes insane webcasts from the sewers.

Kurt Connors does a crazy webcast from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Apparently all lizards in nature are schizophrenic?

Once Mr. Lizard or whatever his supervillain name is finally gets off his ass and starts wrecking things, they drop the “I must find Uncle Ben’s killer” plot like a hot rock and stick to thriller scenes where the soundtrack sounds like the lizard is crawling across a bunch of pianos and action scenes where half of New York gets broken. Once he finds Mr. Lizard’s lair (and his evil plans all laid out neatly like a school science fair project) we’re off to the races.

Spider-Man swings from a bridge from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Whee! Good thing I used to be a gymast!

I expected to like Amazing Spider-Man more than the last Spider-Man movie, and I did, just not enough. I expected to like Andrew Garfield a lot more than Tobey Maguire, but I didn’t, and I think I can blame that on the role. I just don’t like Peter Parker. He’s an awkward, annoying, tool and when he gets smarmy with the criminals I want to punch him in the face. I actually found myself siding with cop dad a lot of the time.

Denis Leary as Captain Stacey from the Marvel Studios film Amazing Spider-Man

Go ahead and shoot him. Teach him a lesson.

So what do we get from The Amazing Spider-Man that we didn’t get from the other films? Well, we got to wait longer for things to get going. We got annoying hints at a mystery but no real clues. And his girlfriend has a different name. Is that enough to warrant making a whole new movie? I don’t think so, but it’s not a total waste of time, especially if you haven’t seen the old ones.

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