PG-13 | 136 mins | Action, Adventure, Sci-fi | June 29, 2012 (Philippines)
Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field and Denis Leary
Unlike the earlier films, The Amazing Spider-Man is a mature and darker version of the Marvel hero's untold story. It tells the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an introverted loser highschool kid in New York City who was left by his parents as a boy in the care of his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). He would later discover that he is the son of a top scientist who had done extensive research in cross-species genetics, leading him directly to Oscorp and his father’s ex-partner, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). He gets bitten by a radioactive spider that granted him incredible powers. Dr. Connors' experiment to regrow his right arm went out of hand and transforms into The Lizard, Spider-Man's nemesis. Peter would juggle with his affection for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), whose eyes make me weak and strong at the same time, and his responsibility as a hero.
The movie is rich and dark; all the stunt work and the effects and the blood seem to be going for the Dark Knight track. Although the main character was altered from the original comicbook source -- i.e. Peter Parker would never expose his superhuman powers especially not showing off in the school gym to humiliate the school bully in front of his schoolmates-- I understand it was necessary to drive home that point. That feel of grittiness is definitely present in the movie. What stood out for me here was how that legendary heartbreak of Peter losing his Uncle Ben was made even more tragic. There were light moments too, comedic scenes that gets the audience laughing.
Garfield has acting chops, he proved it in The Social network then and he proves it again in The Amazing Spider-Man now. Much to my own surprise, he actually is right for Peter Parker. I read someone cleverly wrote, Tobey Maguire may have been the first to bring the comicbook superhero to life, but it was Andrew Garfield that made him human. The guy gives the character a boost making you root for him. His on-screen chemistry with Stone was engaging, and their lovey-dovey moments was a welcome contradiction to the film's dark mood. Stone fuses cute and sexy naturally well and rocked those rain boots, er, Gwen Stacy's signature go-go boots. And those eyes of hers, Teddy Geiger must've wrote the lyrics "Cuz I could fall asleep in those eyes, like a water bed" for Emma Stone. Gwen Stacy is portrayed as gutsy rather than ditsy. Ifans was believable in his peculiar and personal battle as Dr. Connors and the Lizard. While I thought Sheen was effective as Uncle Ben, Field's character Aunt May fell short for me. Aunt May lacked character development, when she was supposed to be a central figure. She was so downplayed that the character appeared dispensable. Take Aunt May out of the story, the movie can still stand on its own.
My only little issues were that, one, the supposed untold story about his childhood is refreshing but hardly vital at this point though. It may all make sense when the sequel comes out (Yes, there is one. You should've known better than to leave right away, because Marvel movies always have teasers after the credits). And two, I still think it would've been a smarter and a more interesting story if Peter invented instead his webbing all by himself from scratch and not just use Oscorp's technology.
Director Marc Webb did not rely on CGI and did a splendid job overall. Webb understands that the audience do not want a lengthy, slow and boring telling of the origin story events so he kept it concise, snappy, easy to digest and most importantly let Spider-Man swing into action faster and longer. And boy, does he swing! This is the Spider-Man that any fan, and non-fan, would have imagined him to be. The rock anthems complemented Webb's vision for the movie, but Danny Elfman’s musical scoring of the Raimi movies is still the better arrangement for me.
Expectations were high for this film, because it's an incarnation so soon of the Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire letdown that is Spider-Man 3. But these expectations were positively met. The Amazing Spider-Man is what a blockbuster movie should be. It's worth a watch!