“The Amazing Spider-Man” retells of the origin of Spider-Man, with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Parker is in high school at this time, dealing with abandonment issues while trying to find his way in the world.
His investigation into the disappearance of his parents leads him to Oscorp and the lab of a former partner of his father’s, Dr. Curtis Connors played by Rhys Ifans. During this time he begins a relationship with Gwen Stacy played by Garfield’s real-life girlfriend Emma Stone.
The story is a darker, more realistic take on the Spider-Man mythos. However, it still keeps to the spirit of the source material rather than turning the character into a Batman-clone.
There is a good dose of humor and light-heartedness to balance out the drama and action. The story is dramatic, engaging and fun to watch.
A major facet of the story is its emphasis on the science behind how Spider-Man got his powers and how The Lizard, the film’s villain, became the way he is. Rather than just throw it in as an afterthought like the Raimi films, it becomes central to the plot. We’re given a good explanation as to how Peter Parker built his web-shooters, a key element of the character.
The people behind the film seem aware that much of the audience already knows the origin story. Rather than have them suffer through a re-hash, it moves through those pre-established elements quickly while adding other elements at the same time.
Most notably, Peter’s uncle Ben played by Martin Sheen has a much larger role in the film, establishing the dynamic the two characters had together. The movie also takes more time in developing the villain and creating more of a sympathetic backstory, which in turn allows for engaging drama.
There are some drawbacks with the film’s storyline and pacing. The first issue was a scene where supporting cast make some nonsensical decisions.
Secondly, there was an editing issue in the film’s opening prologue. The prologue has a rhythm to the way it’s shot and cut but halfway through it slows down to allow for lines of dialogue that breaks up that rhythm. Had the prologue been without dialogue, it would have kept its rhythm and would have been stronger.
This is an enjoyable film. As a Spider-Man fan, I felt that “The Amazing Spider-Man” did the character and the mythos a greater degree of justice than the Sam Raimi trilogy. From a film standpoint it does have some issues, Including pacing and an unresolved plot line, but it still manages to tell an engaging story that holds your attention. On my personal scale, I give “The Amazing Spider-Man” a 4/5.