While the Amazing Spider-Man was quite entertaining, I also found it strangely flawed. Before I even gave it a chance, I have to admit that I was annoyed that it was being rebooted so quickly. It seemed really soon to show Spider-Man’s back story as well. Most people are already very familiar with Spider-Man, so did we really need to learn how he got his powers? However, showing it helps reinforce the idea that this is a reboot. I suppose in this respect there was just no winning.
I liked the actors in the Sam Raimi trilogy, especially Tobey Maguire, and I didn’t care for Andrew Garfield’s look at first. Having now seen the movie, his appearance does seem to match the character as he’s written, but he’s not written as I know him. Peter Parker is supposed to be a smart, nerdy kid. He’s an outsider because of that. In the Amazing Spider-Man, Parker is still an outsider, but I don’t really see him acting like a nerdy loser. He seems smart, sure, but he also has the self-centered attitude stereotypical to teenagers. For example, after a teacher tells him not to use his skateboard in the hall, he waits until out of his sight, drops the board, and continues skating. Perhaps things have changed since I was in school already, but weren’t the skaters the cool kids? Peter Parker is definitely a different Peter in this film, but it still works for him. The intelligence is still there, but the nerdiness isn’t as highlighted. As he’s younger in this film as well, it seems only fitting that he’s filled with angst. He’s a rebellious teenager at this point, and it shows.
The Lizard was an interesting and memorable villain but not quite as memorable as some from the Raimi trilogy. I didn’t find Sandman or Venom very interesting in Spider-Man 3 (despite really liking Venom), but I still found the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus more interesting than the Lizard.
On a less important note, there’s a scene in which Spider-Man jumps off a balcony without his backpack and later has it. I caught it immediately and have to wonder how no one attached to the film caught it in time to fix it. The security at Oscorp is ridiculous. How they don’t manage to notice Parker going where he shouldn’t seems like flawed writing to me. At first I wanted to say that it also seems unbelievable that Parker would touch the things he did, but I might be projecting values of the Raimi Parker on the new Parker.
The film is darker than I’d like Spider-Man to be, but there’s still humor. I particularly liked Spider-Man’s use of his cell phone. In once scene, he plays a game on his phone while waiting. In another, he sits atop a building in costume talking to his aunt about picking up groceries for her. As minor as it is to the story, it sets the mood quite well and is my favorite scene of the movie.
To reiterate, things definitely weren’t all bad. I really enjoyed the film, and there were some excellent parts. Gwen Stacy wasn’t very important in Raimi’s films, and I didn’t really care about her. She’s portrayed and written well in the Amazing Spider-Man. She’s cute and a good love interest for Parker. It was a little odd that she dressed so provocatively at work, but she’s a teenager, so I suppose that’s realistic. It’s also odd that a high school teenager has time to intern at a large corporation, but I’ll accept that. Her father, Captain Stacy, was also an important role in the film. I enjoyed Parker’s interactions with him.
I came into my viewing biased against it, so I was looking for problems. The Amazing Spider-Man was actually a fun superhero movie and has a lot of things going for it. Parker is a little less nerdy and a bit more angsty and angry. This is different, sure, but it works. Emma Stone’s portrayal of Gwen Stacy was great, and I’m happy to see her heavily featured. I’m looking forward to the sequel!