Posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2012 by Russ Fischer
Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man screened last week for junket press, but attendees were largely forbidden to review the film at the time, or even discuss it in detail on social media. But the film premiered this week in London, and with that open screening taking place reviews are starting to proliferate.
So what do people have to say about this Spidey reboot, which stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans? The film changes some elements of Spider-Man’s origin, and in the view of some emphasizes the emotional/teen romance angle more than in Sam Raimi’s films. (Which means that some people didn’t watch Raimi’s films too closely, because the emotional angle was huge in all three.)
The consistent takeaway is that Garfield and Stone are quite good together, and that the supporting cast gives them an able boost. But the rest of it? Well, it’s a summer movie…
Here are a few non-spoilerish pullquotes from around the web.
It’s the successful synthesis of the two – action and emotion – that means this Spider-Man is as enjoyable as it is impressive: Webb’s control of mood and texture is near faultless as his film switches from teenage sulks to exhilarating airborne pyrotechnics. It’s only towards the end, when there is no choice but to revert to CGI – as Rhys Ifans’ Lizard goes on the rampage – that The Amazing Spider-Man gets a little less amazing.
On paper Gwen might be the love interest, but in many ways she’s the main character, giving us a human perspective on the superhuman drama. (Garfield and Stone have a plausible, pensive chemistry together, and for once that actually matters.) Gwen’s father, a police captain, is out to stop both Spider-Man and his arch-foe The Lizard (Rhys Ifans), a scientist whose genes get spliced with reptilian DNA. Here, the girlfriend’s dad is just as much of a threat as the supervillain.
While Raimi got fanboys drooling with Kirsten Dunst in a rain-soaked vest top, Webb’s leading lady remains clothed and dry. Instead, the camera ogles Garfield, whose enviable glutes are showcased quite magnificently in his skin-tight bodysuit.
…this somewhat darker depiction of your friendly neighborhood superhero inserts a touching portrait of adolescent angst into an otherwise predictable dose of CGI-fueled action, with stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone breathing new life into Stan Lee’s 50-year-old creation. .. While the two leads deliver the goods and manage to combine a frisky sense of first love with the movie’s gloomier arc, they are well-served by a terrific supporting cast, with Sheen as Peter’s tough-loving guardian angel, Denis Leary as Gwen’s overprotective policeman dad and Ifans as an increasingly mad scientist whose reptile leather fetish yields disastrous results.
The Amazing Spider-Man certainly delivers the minimum required of its expensive genre, and those who just want another fix of super hero action with a bit of heart will probably have a good time with it. But, it’s never at all jaw-dropping, stunning or even particularly exciting. It’s the type of film that’s not painful to watch and equally easy to shrug off.
Any worries that after the much-loved Sam Raimi Spider-Man films (well, the first two anyway…) Sony would reboot the franchise with a loud, vacuous, gimmicky, MTV-edited, soulless crowd-pleaser are dispelled immediately with a summer blockbuster that doesn’t have an action sequence for a good half hour. The most amazing thing about this Spider-Man is how much heart and genuinely warm storytelling it has… It may not have the non-stop action and spectacle of ‘Avengers Assemble,’ but it does have characters you can fall in love with, and bags of charm. You feel the series is in safe hands with Webb, Garfield and Stone.
Webb’s film is slow on plot, skimpy on character development. It takes 45 minutes for [redacted], an hour till we see the spider suit. Then Peter goes from dorky to cocky without passing charm on the way. Brittle Gwen turns gooey the moment he turns up at school battered from fighting crime. So, chicks dig scars, right?