Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

Two reviews, very different, could easily be written for this film: one by an eight year-old who loves Spider-Man but was not yet born when 2002's excellent Tobey Maguire film debuted, and the other by anyone who is old enough to have seen that version on the big screen. The eight year-old would probably say that this film is fun to watch, action-packed, and well worth a trip to the theater. But I'm in my 30s, and I saw the 2002 adaptation while I was in college, and--unfortunately--it is a simple fact that not enough time has passed for me to enjoy this new movie, no matter how good it is in its own right. It's only been five years since Spider-Man 3!

And it is good. Very good, really. Peter Parker, played this time by Andrew Garfield, is geekier and the manner in which he acquires his spidey-ness is actually a little more believable this time around. And, rather than making it a sub-plot, his relationship with a girl (this time, Gwen Stacey, played by Emma Stone) is front-and-center. It is from and through this budding romance that we experience Peter's transformation into a hero, and that makes the story more intimate and real.

This film certainly stands on its own. It is exciting and well-directed with a good score and some good humorous moments. And upcoming sequels should better cement its new look and new actors in the psyche of filmgoers and fans. So it's really just the timing that is to blame for the lackluster feel. Columbia Pictures doubtlessly would have preferred that Mr. Maguire and Kirsten Dunst return for a 4th installment, but they were determined to keep Marvel's most popular character in theaters no matter what.

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