With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 having recently come out, it’s as good a time as any to review the predecessor. Five years after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, it was decided to reboot the series, a move obviously inspired by the Batman reboot. Yet many noted how similar The Amazing Spider-Man was to the 2002 film and wondered why then they even bothered to reboot the series if Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man movie was going to be this much like Sam Raimi’s first. Webb and company’s argument is that after ten years, the statute of rehashing limitations had expired.
I think they have a point. New people are constantly being born. And to many younger folks who hadn’t seen the prior series, The Amazing Spider-Man was brand new. On the other hand, there is something to be said for originality.
Andrew Garfield makes a solid Spider-Man. While I thought Tobey Maguire’s acting was off at times, Garfield acts the way a nerd and newly minted superhero should act. In particular, he shows appropriate naivete as his character makes rookie mistakes on his first cases. Emma Stone and Denis Leary also do great jobs as the love interest of, and law enforcement counterpoint to Spider-Man. Unfortunately, Rhys Ifan tends to overact as The Lizard. He plays a scientist looking to create a miracle healing solution that turns him into a monster, but I get the sense that he was trying too hard to seem studious.
Much material seems ripped from the ’02 movie. Peter Parker getting bullied? Check. Peter getting revenge on the bully? Check. His prospective girlfriend was with the bully but ends up liking Peter eventually? Check. Peter gets in a heated argument with Uncle Ben before the latter’s tragic death? Check. Spider-Man is shitty with his secret?
Still, an honest effort is made to leave a mark on the franchise. This Peter has much more intense arguments with his uncle than the last one did. Peter ends up learning the hard way that crime-fighting isn’t as isn’t as easy as most think, as his attempt to stop an auto theft ends up ruining a six-month sting. Most of all is how after he gets his powers, Peter acts like a total jerk. But what happens to his uncle really wakes him up.
The action in this movie is a marked improvement on the original trilogy. In particular, the final battle between Spidey and The Lizard is very well-done. But that’s what a decade of technological improvement will do.
The movie ends quite well, albeit very similarly to the ’02 movie. I really wish I hadn’t made so many comparisons between the two, but I’m afraid the extent to which one movie rehashes the other requires it.
The Amazing Spider-Man still is not a bad movie. Far from it in fact. Despite everything that is copied from what came before, it’s an enjoyable experience. Just don’t expect it to break new ground, that’s all.
Overall: 7 out of 10