Although it was a decade ago, it seems like just yesterday when little seven-year-old Shane Weinstein walked out of Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman.”
I felt different then I had before I saw it. Like something had changed. And although at the time I had no idea what it was, looking back on it, I know exactly what changed. Raimi’s “Spiderman” was the first time that I could remember realizing the true magic of Hollywood. The ability to take something so near and dear to me such as Spidey and bring him to life in such a big way left me in awe. It was a day I truly never will forget.
Now, 10 years later, Spidey is back on the big screen. And while it may not be Sam Raimi in the director’s chair or Tobey Maguire putting on the suit, Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spiderman” still left me with a sense of awe and a striking feel of nostalgia.
When the film was first announced, I was leery. Not only was I worried that my favorite comic book hero wouldn’t get the treatment he deserved, the fact that the film was being coined as a “reboot” didn’t have me thrilled. “Why reboot something that’s already been well-established?” I thought to myself. But as time wore on and Webb was announced to direct the project and Andrew Garfield was announced to star, I found myself getting more and more excited.
Fortunately, “The Amazing Spiderman” didn’t disappoint. In fact, it is one of the rare reboots that do exactly what they are meant to: to reestablish a classic series in a new, unique way.
The story’s basics are the same: Peter Parker is a nerdy teenager who lives with his aunt and uncle and gets bitten by a radioactive spider, thus giving him super-powers. However, this time around, the minor details have changed. In Webb’s universe, there is no Mary-Jane Watson. Nor is there any Harry or Norman Osborn, thus there is no Green Goblin. Instead, Peter’s love interest is Gwen Stacey (played by Emma Stone) and the villain is Dr. Curt Connors, whose alter ego is The Lizard.
As much as I loved the universe Raimi established, there’s just something about Webb’s that I prefer. It’s much more eye-popping and looks as if it was taken direct from the pages of a comic book. In fact, while some aspects from the comic have changed a little bit according to Webb, his take on the Web-Slinger is overall more accurate, especially with little details such as Peter creating his web shooters, or even the fact that Gwen Stacey is the love interest.
Going into the film, I had very high expectations for all of the cast members, especially Garfield. Taking the mantle of a role that has already been well established is a very risky thing to do, but Garfield takes the role and makes it his own. Rather than playing Parker as the quiet, nerdy type that Maguire did, Garfield plays him as slightly cocky with a bad boy edge. Stone plays Stacey as she was meant to be played: a smart but compassionate girl who is head over heels in love with Peter. On screen, the couple has a real chemistry and the fact that Garfield and Stone are a real-life couple only adds to that. Rhys Ifans is great as Curt Connors, a disturbed doctor who is desperate to keep his job, however, the real scene stealers are Sally Field as Aunt May and Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. Although they are not in most of the film, they both give heartwarming performances, making it absolutely gut-wrenching when Uncle Ben gets shot.
Ultimately, the film’s biggest problem is that it feels rushed at parts. The posters and trailers promised viewers the “Untold Story” of Peter Parker and unfortunately, that is not what they get. Instead, it’s a new take on the classic story and while it is refreshing to see a new take on it, it would have been really nice to see the film come through on its promise. After seeing the film, I rewatched the trailers and the amount of footage cut from the final version of the film feels rather substantial. It felt as if the trailers advertised a different version of the movie, one that I would very much be willing to see.
Overall, “The Amazing Spiderman” is a successful reboot that contains solid performances, exciting action, and stunning visuals that may just be better than Raimi’s take on the story. Three and a half stars out of five.