The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Never thought I would say this, but I missed Tobey.

The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. Oh yeah, and he’s also Spider-Man. Can’t forget about that one, little detail.

Before I start this review off, I have to give a little disclaimer and say that I have a special place in my heart for the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies. That’s right, even the 3rd one to an extent. So this review may be a bit biased in some points and if that is the case, I apologize but I just can’t believe they actually went through with this idea. I mean honestly, you couldn’t wait 5 more years!?!?

Anywhoo, what interested me most about this reboot was the fact that it’s helmed randomly by Marc Webb (director of one of my favorite flicks from 2009, ((500) Days of Summer). When people saw JGL (Joseph Gordon-Levitt for all of you noobs out there) walking down the streets, singing and dancing to the tunes of Hall & Oates, I highly doubt the thing on everybody’s mind was “ooh, I wonder how cool that would be with webs shooting out of that guy’s hands”. What I’m trying to say is that Webb (oh wait, now I get it) seemed like a very random and odd choice for this flick, but I can’t say that he doesn’t bring something fun to this film either. All of that quirky, indie style from his debut is lost here but there is still plenty of room for him to relish in the art of telling the Spider-Man story, the way he thinks is right and do what he wants, just as long as he doesn’t piss off all of the fan boys who want to see this.

The film is claiming to be “the untold story”, when in reality, it’s just a re-working on the same origin story we’ve seen before. Like for instance, instead of a Peter Parker being bitten in the lab because he was on a class field trip, he is in there because he secretly, sneaked into an internship meeting there. Or, instead of having Parker just shoot webs from his veins, he now has mechanical webshooters that pretty much do the same thing. These are the types of “re-workings” we see in this flick and it’s not so bad considering a lot of it makes more sense and gives us a better look at why the Spider-Man superhero is so damn popular and loved in the first place. There is a bunch of humor here, some of which, annoyed the hell out of me, but other times worked and gave this film a fun little feel.

Actually, I can’t really bag on this film as much because it seems like that’s all Webb is concerned about here: having fun. And no matter what the story may be, I’m down with that. There’s plenty of cool-looking action scenes where it’s just Spidey, doing his good olde, mono-a-mono showdown between him and a baddy, and some really beautiful scenes where we see him just fly through the sky, where New York City is pretty much his playground. Some real nifty stuff to see and have fun with here, and it’s also enhanced by some amazing-looking CGI that doesn’t really come off as fake. I saw this in 3D Imax and I have to say, it’s pretty good but I wouldn’t go out and pay for it only because there isn’t so much here that’s worth that extra-dimension. Then again, that could be said for a whole bunch of other flicks with that tagline; “in 3D”.

However, as fun as a lot of the action may be, there’s not as much as you would expect, especially when it comes to a Summer blockbuster. Maybe that’s not the right thing to say, because there is plenty of action and adventure for you to sink your teeth into, but then there are also these other, quieter moments where it’s just focusing on Parker and Stacy’s love relationship that are not only awkward as hell to watch, but don’t feature any type of fun dialogue to keep you interested. They sort of just show up, stay on-screen, and bother the hell out of you because you just want to see The Lizard and Spidey duke it out once again. I don’t mind when a film, let alone a superhero film, is trying to go into more depth about its main character, but when it’s done in a flick where you should be expecting, non-stop action all over the place, then that’s where the problem lies. Basically, just too slow for a superhero film.

What is very watchable throughout these boring scenes, is actually the eclectic cast that Webb has brought together and being lead by Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man/Peter Parker. Garfield plays a different type of Parker than from what we saw with Tobey Maguire. Instead of coming off as a total nerd, that can’t do anything right because he wears glasses and loves science, Garfield makes him seem like this lost soul that just keeps to himself and doesn’t really care what goes on around him. Yeah, he’s a little strange because he’s always taking pictures of things, but he’s got a certain edge to him that makes him seem a lot cooler than you would expect Peter Parker actually to seem like in the first place. I think that Garfield goes a little too far with his humor in this film, but then again, that can’t really be blamed on him because he’s obviously doing everything in his soul to be the different type of Peter Parker we are used to seeing.

Emma Stone is here as Gwen Stacy, Parker’s apple of his eye, and does a pretty swell job with what she is given and thankfully, as my friend at the screening I was at pointed out, wasn’t playing the usual “damsel in distress” role that we usually see ladies in superhero flicks usually play. She is actually pretty tough and smart, and can stick up for herself whenever the time comes. Her and Garfield have a little awkward chemistry going on here, but I think that’s what’s the point of this flick. Rhys Ifans does a nice job as our villain, The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors. Ifans can always play these bad-guy roles and this one is no different, except his CGI starts to be a little distracting by the end. Actually, it makes him look like The Hulk and I don’t know if Sony wanted that on their hands after all of The Avengers buzz that still seems to be going on. Seriously, how much more money does that movie need to make?

The casting of Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, seemed like an awesome bit of casting because Sheen just has this “old-timer likability” thing going on for him, that it doesn’t matter what role he plays, you love him regardless. That’s why everybody was so shocked when he got thrown off the roof in The Departed, because everybody loves that guy, who would want to do such a mean and cruel thing to him? Sally Field is here as Aunt May and as hard as she may try, she seems too young for an Aunt and all of the advice she gives out, makes it seem like she’s doing Mamma Gump, all over again. Another bit of inspired casting was actually Denis Leary as Captain Stacy, mainly because the guy shows that he still has the comedic chops to pull off some very funny moments, but can also make a rather, deuchy character, still likable and understandable.

Despite all of these awesome and great elements that this film featured (action, acting, humor, CGI, special effects, etc.), I still couldn’t get past the Sam Raimi movies, and I’ll tell you exactly why. I’m 18 right now, so I was about 7 when the first one came out and I loved it to death. Then that second one came out, and gee-goll-e, did that knock my socks off even more! Then that third one came out, and even though it was definitely not on-par with the other two that came before it, it was still fun and endearing enough to keep me locked on to what was going to happen next with Peter Parker. Honestly, that original series from Raimi will always be in my childhood and I was so mad when they decided to go through with this reboot, really I was. It was a total cash-grab, in my opinion, and as fun as this film may be, I still couldn’t stop thinking about the original flicks. Whenever Garfield was flying through the sky, I kept on thinking about Tobey doing the same thing. Whenever Uncle Ben would show up, I kept on thinking about Cliff Robertson delivering the all-time famous line, “With great power comes great responsibility”. And whenever somebody mentioned Oscorp, Willem Dafoe automatically popped right into my head. Really, the memories from all of my movie-watching from back in the day really made me miss those flicks and also made me want to go watch them again. So maybe this flick wasn’t for me since I loved the originals so much, but honestly, I just wish they never went through this in the first-place. Or at least waited 5 more years so that everybody’s minds were fresh and clear of Raimi and Maguire. Miss them already.

Consensus: The Amazing Spider-Man is exactly what you come to expect from a superhero flick: fun, action-packed, wild and crazy set pieces, baddies doing bad things, goodies doing good things, romantic love story, and some little shots of humor to liven everything up. Problem is, this is a reboot of a series that has already had its movies, and were ones that still stay stuck in my mind no matter what.



  1. I was hoping for something a bit higher than a 7/10. I’m still looking forward to seeing it though. I was also hoping that the 3D might actually work, for once, with a film like Spiderman. Flying through Manhattan seems like the perfect opportunity for it, so it’s a shame to read it’s not worth paying extra for.
    Luckily, when it comes to comicbook movies this summer, it’s all Batman!

    • I wanted to see that really bad but for some reason, just didn’t feel like paying the moolah. Still, if you like Spidey, check this one out.

    • No doubt about it, the movie is fun it just doesn’t hold up as well as the original flicks do, considering they’re still so fresh in our minds. Thanks Ethan!

  2. I just came from seeing the movie. I was bored to tears with this movie. I’m older than you, Dan, by a decade and I went into this movie feeling that I was going to enjoy it. It was boring mesh-mosh of crappy CGI *ahem* Lizard *ahem* or lackluster action sequences *coughs* crane salute *cough and an emo douchy skater guy trying to neck the blond chippy. Really?

    • It wasn’t that that stuff bothered me all that much, there’s just only so much you can do with a story like this. One time around was good enough for me, didn’t need this story again. Thanks Branden.

      • Once is enough for me, too. I thought that they would honor the previous films cut out the redundant origin story, make Spider-Man a vigilante, be more mysterious instead of a cocky bastard.

  3. Spider-man 1 & 2 has a special place in my heart but I think I like this movie more than you… I do agree that re-telling Spidey’s origin is kinda redundant… but hey, it’s a good story 😀

    • It is a good story, but maybe one that doesn’t need to be told more than twice within a decade. Maybe 10 more years would have been fine with me. Thanks!

  4. I was really looking forward to this but was extremely disappointed. I’m surprised that as a fan of Sam Raimi’s version you still liked this one. By itself I think its not very good, but when you compare it to Raimi’s (which is inevitable seeing both are origin stories)…. it get’s even worse!

    • I can at least appreciate them not making this film one, big cash-grab but I do think that Raimi’s versions are just so much better and have something to them that just work.

  5. I enjoyed your review and agree with you alot on some of your points. Check out my review:

    Sadly I don’t think any Spider-Man movie will ever capture the essence of Peter Parker as Spider-Man 2 did. It is a movie I rewatch from time to time and I still feel like Raimi made The Spider-Man movie for fans. Wouldn’t it be cool when the envitable happens and Spidy is thrown in with the Avengers, that Tobey actually gets to wear the mask. Never gonna happen though.

    • Will never happen but that would be so great since I do think that Tobey is just so iconic as Spidey. Don’t know why that is, but for some reason, it just works. Thanks Brian!

      • Comics man. He just wasn’t really the character. His Peter was whiny and uncomfortable, and his Spidey was way too violent and reliant on strength. Also there was very little focus on the genius-side of him.

  6. So I am going to differ from everyone and say that I loved this new spider-man and preferred hands down Andrew Garfield’s performance over Toby Maguire’s. I really liked the way that spider-man’s identity was developed as he was given this humanistic gritty depth the he needed and for me that made this film great because it grounded this character into our emotional reality. Its all about the characterisation for me and that’s why I guess I enjoyed the film so much, despite there being some questionable CGI in there! The film looked great in IMAX 3D and I will definitely be watching it again! Good review Dan
    Here is mine 🙂

  7. I certainly cant disagree with your assessment that the retelling of the origin felt a little too recent. I felt that way too, and had to say as much.

    But I was able to get past it and look at the movie for itself and not compare it to the Raimi trilogy. It’s a pretty damn good flick I think… I liked it a lot Dan.

  8. I tend to disagree with you on the “untold” part. I see your points, but Webb really did a better job at showing the untold and, dare I say, more accurate story than Raimi did.

    -Parker invented and used webshooters in the comics. Webbing didn’t come from his body until YEARS later.
    -Green Goblin wasn’t Spider-Man’s first enemy, it WAS the Lizard (after a brief encounter with The Chameleon)
    -Gwen Stacy WAS Parker’s first and main girlfriend…far before MJ came along.
    -Parker’s parents (and their death) did indeed play a big role in his development as a superhero.

    Those (and more) were all untold by the Raimi trilogy. And I can appreciate Webb marketing this movie as such to let people know there was a valid reason to watch the “all-too-soon” reboot.

    But, the casting, as you alluded to, was fantastic in this film. I think it deserves a little higher score (I gave it 4/5), but still, glad to see we both enjoyed it.

    Nice review.

    • Some of it worked for me, some of it didn’t. In the end, I had a good time but it was nothing to really write home about. Thanks T!

  9. Where’s the untold story in this movie? Instead there were some plot holes that bothered me a lot while watching. I’m in the minority for disliking Emma Stone as an actress, that’s probably why I didn’t enjoy any of her scenes with Garfield. And the writing in this film is so bad. From the dialogue to how they develop the story and the characters. Well basically I didn’t care about a single thing except for Sheen as Uncle Ben.

  10. I loved The Amazing Spider-Man, I was skeptical because I think Raimi’s trilogy was great up until the end, I wouldn’t even class Spider-Man 3 as a bad movie, its just killing off Venom that ruined it. This film to me, feels like the Batman Begins of the Spider-Man world, I didn’t appreciate Batman Begins until The Dark Knight came out. I think it will be the same with this one, many won’t appreciate the importance of the origins of this new Parker, until a second installment comes out (May 4th 2014) which will have much more Spidey action. But I think for a reboot of a very popular series, Webb does a great job at making the film different. With the announcement of Venom getting his own movie, I’m really interested to see where this whole thing will go. Btw, Andrew Garfield is a much better Spider-Man than Tobey Maquire, before this month I never imagined myself saying that!

  11. Missed off one bit at the end of that comment lol Great review mate, I gave the film an 8.5/10 on my blog, I hope it develops into something as big as other Marvel films. Webb teased us with the Proto-Goblin casting, I think we may see him in the future rather than The Green Goblin again.

  12. As I read in Colin’s review and agreed with, the biggest failings were the isn’t that convenient isms or coincidences which just is lazy scripting. I did like how they showed Spidey / Parker doea get hurt, sweaty, that he isn’t superhuman rather crafty with the gifts or curse of some enhanced new abilities. Garfield is likable but little chemstry with stone. Check out my musical review to tje tune of thje original spiderman theme.

    • Sorry man, but little chemistry with Emma? I don’t even think that’s a matter of taste or opinion. Sure it seemed rather superficial at first, but they’re playing a high school couple! And once she realizes how serious being Spider-man is, the relationship gains a lot of depth. Also, Andrew and Emma are together in real life….so the chemistry was definitely there.

      • Good on them as a real life couple as well. I just didn’t see it. Different views. THanks for commenting.

  13. Hey Dan, solid review. We disagree in a few places, but that’s going to happen. I didn’t need to read all the comments already here to know that the comics were brought up a lot. The reason why I feel this is better is that it’s the truest adaption of the comics we’ve seen yet. Andrew’s Peter Parker is much more in line with the comic-book version than Tobey’s was, and although I know all the jokes weren’t for everyone, Spider-man is supposed to throw out line after line after line. The humor might have been a bit much for me, except that Andrew balanced it out by going the distance with all his emotions, not just the humor.

    You mention that there were some awesome action scenes with amazing CGI, well I’m here to tell you that for the most part, a lot of the action was live, and required little to no CGI. Webb and Garfield wanted this to look as real as possible, so they used wires, more wires, and even more wires to make Spidey really swing around.

    I’ll also disagree on the whole re-hash of the origin story. Because of my love for the character, I could watch a good origin story over and over again. Yes, it had a lot of the same plot elements as Raimi’s 2002 film, but that’s because the material was taken from the comics. Could they have waited 5 more years? Yes and no. Although the reboot wasn’t a necessity, Sony would have lost the rights if they hadn’t made this film, and I’m not sure Andrew Garfield could have done it that far down the road. That would hae made me sad.

    I’m not going to try to convince you that your review is poor, because you do a great job explaining why you feel the way you do, that you were a big fan of Raimi’s films, and that some of the stuff in TASM just didn’t appeal to you. As a die-hard Spidey fan, this is actually my new favorite film, but that’s because everything was suited to what I love in film, and although I can pick out flaws in it, this reboot did just about everything right for me. I think this is definitely a film that won’t appeal to everyone, especially those who love the original trilogy. The things I will say should be considered constants though are that these characters were definitely a step up from Raimi’s, at least in terms of sticking to the source material. Also even though it had the same man story elements, TASM definitely separated itself in style and tone. Finally, despite being “unnecessary”, the fact that it pleased most die-hard Spidey fans, as well as more audience members than any of Raimi’s films, shows that the reboot didn’t need to be necessary to be good.

    Again, solid review, and I’m not trying to tell you you’re wrong about some things, I’m just throwing my opinions, as well as some facts about the source material and production, your direction. I really like your writing. How would you like to write for YAMB?

  14. Great review! I don’t agree with all the parts, but I concede that your enjoyment of this one is greatly proportional to how much you enjoyed the original series. I loved the original Spider-Man, but I was never a huge Tobey Maguire fan.

  15. This isn’t a horrible movie, but it’s not a particularly good one, either. The writing is really bad in it, with parts of the plot just conveniently forgotten about when it’s time to move on to the next thing (i.e. the bad guy dangling in the car.) In regards to the parts you found slow, I felt Emma Stone was the best thing about the movie. The action scenes mostly bored me (and I like action), and the crane scene was just ridiculous (He can’t use the buildings to swing with like he has the entire movie?)

    In order for this to be more than a money grab, it has to present something unique and worthwhile, and it falls far, far short of that.

  16. I went into this one with an open mind and I don’t know if Garfield or Webb is to blame, but Parker came across as a douche.
    The only likable character — who also has an actual arc — is Flash. He goes from bully, to being humiliated, to empathizing with Parker.
    I’m really bummed Flash didn’t get the superhero gene instead.

    Also, I’ve written an extensive review defending Spider-man 3 that I think you would appreciate.
    First and foremost, “the dancing” I believe was used to soften the moment when Peter Parker backhands his “would-have-been” fiance. That’s dark for any movie, let alone a super hero one, let alone the Spider-man series.

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