We superhero fans are an odd group. We never seem to tire of seeing the same story over and over again. The first big-screen adaptation of the Spider-Man comic hero was welcomed into theaters in 2002 followed by two sequels in 2004 and 2007. “Spider-Man 3” was a big disappointment to some and outraged fans called for a do-over. Now, just five years later, Sony Studios and Columbia Pictures are giving us a new reboot of the series – with a whole new beginning that is more “accurate” depending on who you talk to. At any rate – this one is a winner.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” is very much in the vein of the “good old fashioned” comic books. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad. The story isn’t dark and there is little inner turmoil for our hero. Sure, the storyline is silly and it takes a while for Peter Parker to embrace his alter ego, but the cast, the special effects, the action - it is all great. There's nothing inappropriate for the little ones either.
As legend tells us, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is a high school senior and lover of science. Long abandoned by his parents, he lives with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). One day, he sneaks in a tour group for Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who knew his father. As luck would have it, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Parker’s high school crush, serves as Connor’s intern. Unfortunately, Gwen’s father is Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) of the local police so he has to stay on his toes. (What a minute . . . where is Mary Jane you ask? Good question. Not too many fans are aware of the fact that Gwen was Parker’s first love interest in the series. So, maybe we’ll see her in the next sequel?) Meanwhile, Dr. Connors is on the brink of discovery of a new serum that could replace missing limbs, but alas, something goes wrong, as it always does, and he becomes a giant power-hungry lizard!
This movie could have been a disaster, but with so much heart and great acting talent, it really elevates the materials. There is a lot of talk about “doing the right thing” and being a “good person” and you can’t help yourself from not liking this flick. Garfield really gives Peter Parker a different feel than Tobey Maguire did in the previous bunch. And even though both he and Stone are too old to play teenagers, they actually play them well here. Don’t forget to look for another great walk-on with comic book creator Stan Lee – it’s one of his best.
Don’t be surprised if this film makes you feel like a kid again and you find yourself suddenly wanting to buy “silly string” to pretend that you’re the next webslinger.