It could be said that Spider-man is the franchise that proved to the world that comic book based movies could be successful if treated popular. After Batman & Robin the entire genre nearly doubled over and died of shame until X-Men was released in 2000. Reinforcing the legitimacy of the superhero genre Spider-manbroke records and comic book fans began to step into the light of the movie’s popularity.
Ten years and two more movies later, the franchise is getting the reboot treatment only five years after the last movie buried itself. In order for Sony to keep the rights to making Spider-man movies it was a move that had to be done, but can lightning strike twice for the “Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man”? Spooky may have the answer.
The grass has barely grown on the grave of the movie that fans are ashamed to call Spider-man 3 and here we are again with a new origin for an everyman hero named Peter Parker. The Amazing Spider-man was once referred to as a story that was being told between the previous movies. Fans were highly skeptical of that line seeing as how this movie has an entire new cast and we were already seeing a new origin story in the trailers. This is not a continuation of Sam Rami’s Spider-man, but instead a new Spider-man brought to you in part by Sony.
Admittedly my larger issue with this movie is that it came after Rami’s. This hinders director Marc Webb in that he can’t tell the origin of our young wall-crawling hero without telling the same story that Rami told ten years previously. This leads to new perspectives and slightly skewed ideas based off of the original origin of Peter Parker. For hardcore Spidey-Fans that may come off as difficult to deal with, so be warned. The heroic story however is still taken from the source material as we finally see The Lizard as the main, and only, villain taken on by the newly super-powered high school student, Peter Parker.
One thing that this iteration has over its predecessor is a better cast. Although several characters are now different to support the new story and origin their role in the movie is still the same. In shining star order, Emma Stone once again brings an amazing performance, this time as Gwen Stacy. Barely squeaking by for looking passable for a senior in high school Stone’s quarky personality gives all the energy of a teenage girl falling in love. Her deliveries are familiar to other characters that she’s played but still remain entertaining and endearing. Martin Sheen takes the critical role of Uncle Ben and controls every scene with the kind of force that you’d expect an acting veteran of 50 plus years to have. In his relatively short amount of screen time he clearly shows the difficulty of being a foster parent with his endless love and faith for Peter. Rounding out the top three is Denis Leary as Captain Stacy and a role replacement for the missing J. Jonah Jameson. Leary carries the weight of multiple responsibilities as well as Captain Stacy: the loving father to Gwen who’s tough but fair and head of the anti-Spider-man club.
The rest of the cast does well, including Andrew Garfield who plays Peter as the meek outsider rather than the more traditional nerd that we usually see in his the high school days. Garfield feels inconsistently awkward and semi-confident as Peter, but he’s not so far away from the character that he can’t resolve these issues and come back much stronger for the sequels that seem imminent. Regardless though Garfield still brings a lot of strength to particular scenes that are very moving and powerful. As a movie independent of its history The Amazing Spider-man is still a very entertaining story of morality and good versus evil. It’s every bit Web-Head that you still want to see in cinema but with a less familiar backstory and more clear vision for future films.