"I've got to stop him, because I created him."
In director Marc Webb's attempt to reboot the story of the webbed hero, the audience is treated to a fun film exploring the the backstory of Peter Parker, part-time high school dweeb/part-time vigilante, who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and takes on its otherworldly capabilities. And, if you've ever seen a Spider-Man movie you know exactly what that entails--spewing sticky webs around The Big Apple and using them as Tarzan-like travel devices (and weapons), heightened sense of hearing, and remarkable fighting instincts.
In fact, The Amazing Spider-Man is exactly the same movie we've seen before, back when Tobey Maguire donned the red and blue unitard, except this time we have The Social Network's Andrew Garfield in the title role. Admittedly, Garfield's natural awkwardness and and accessibility really work for Parker, but the movie as a whole doesn't really add anything new to what we've already seen and know.
Even Emma Stone as Parker's love interest Gwen Stacy doesn't give the movie the boost it needs to set the bar higher than the original films (presuming that's what it's trying to do).While Stone brings the right amount of quirkiness to the role, her and Garfield's undeniable chemistry comes off a bit stale.
But where the screenplay lacks, the performances try to make up for it. That includes Sally Field as Parker's untimely widowed Aunt May and Martin Sheen as her husband and Parker's beloved Uncle Ben. In addition, Rhys Ifans as the duplicitous villain Dr. Curt Connors and Denis Leary as Gwen's dad help make the film more than what it ultimately is--a redo, but not a redesign of a cult franchise, which is what is needed.
Unfortunately the dmise of the movie lies with the diappoiting screenplay, written by James Vanderbilt (The Losers, Zodiac), Alvin Sargent (who wrote the last two Spider-Man movies, as well as Unfaithful), and Steven Kloves (most notably of the Harry Potter movies). The trio just didn't get it together to breathe new life into an old story.
But, again, after Nolan's Batman reboot enteresd the game, every other reimaginign paled into comparison. So it's possible we are judging The Amazing Spider-Man under marred pretenses, but why can't it even stand in line with the aforementioned franchise? It has the talent, the already endearing subject, but fails to deliver on the promise it had before. Alas, at this point, the audience deserves more than an entertainining, high-flying teenage love story. We deserve an epic adventure, a peek into the soul of a real hero.