I’ve been a comic fan for a long time, but not so much a fan of origin stories. So I was a bit apprehensive about rebooting a Spider-Man franchise that hasn’t been dormant very long. Yet another depiction of some twentysomething dressed up like a high school kid getting bit by a spider and spending a good long montage figuring out that he has lots of whiz bang new abilities. (yawn) But the kids were gone and my wife was trying to fry my brain with her list of outside chores to be done so a nice cool movie theater seemed like a good idea.
Suffice to say, I was expecting a lot from The Amazing Spider-Man so I was quite pleasantly surprised. The origin story was tweaked sufficiently to keep me from getting bored while still staying true to the essence of the character. This Peter Parker had the problems typical of any kid not in the upper end of the social strata but he wasn’t the enormous loser he was in the Toby McGuire version. Spider-Man’s fight style is parkour influenced in a way that makes a lot of sense considering Spider-Man’s abilities.
The script made some interesting choices obviously intended to distance itself from other recent Spider-Man projects. The choice of the Lizard as the primary villian definitely went a long way toward keeping the material fresh and gave lots of opportunity for random destruction. Using Gwen Stacey as the love interest opens up some new avenues to explore in the Spider-Man cannon, but I suspect I’m not the only comics fan who spent the entire movie wondering if they were going to include one huge event that shall remain nameless in the interests of avoiding spoilers. The costume choices they made certainly kept the character true to her 1960’s roots, but didn’t really work for a modern version of the character (fortunately, Emma Stone can make anything work).
I’d recommend the film for any fan of action movies. The web-slinging sequences are impressive and they have a great acrobatic style just as I see Spider-Man in my imagination. There are a couple of novel sequences filmed from Spider-Man’s first person point of view that add style but end before they get annoying. Anyone who knows the least bit about the character will probably see the sequel foreshadowing layered throughout, but at this point I consider that a good thing.