Amazing is not the word I would use to describe this Spider Man reboot. Boring. Lame. Needless. Those are more accurate. I went in with low expectations and wanted to enjoy it…I did not. By trying to “Dark Knight” it up but still bring in the teens, Marc Webb blows it. The story is simplistic and not that exciting, the acting…purely for a paycheck…the action not that impressive…the stakes in the movie not that high. Eye rolling lines and situations that made this moviegoer feel like a fly trapped in a web. Examples: Denis Leary says “she’s only 17!” referring to the far from teenage actress playing his daughter. Crane operators rallying to help Spider Man swing to a building near the movie’s end…why not use buildings to swing like other Spider Men have done? 100-roughly the number of times Andrew Garfield takes off his mask for no apparent reason other than to remind us Tobey’s not in this one. And half the city should know who Spider Man is because he keeps TELLING THEM! Zero chemistry between the leads, sluggish pacing, and no heart along with a “cool” Peter Parker make this one of the worst comic book movies I have seen since Superman fought Nuclear Man in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace. Don’t drink the Kool Aid, in fact break out the Raid and be done with it.
Reboot. blah blah. Too soon. blah blah. Why? blah blah. Here’s the deal, while the original trilogy of Spider-Man movies made tons of money, they got progressively worse with each version. They were good, not classics. So, why not remake them? Especially if you can do it better. And I think Mark Webb has done just that. His wonderful 500 DAYS OF SUMMER proved he knows how to tell a story. And that’s the thing about this new version. The story is a lot better. It’s a similar origin tale about how Peter Parker becomes THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. But it’s far less campy and punny than Sam Raimi’s version. On the Superhero Continuum think of this as being closer to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, just not nearly that good. It’s darker and focuses more on the characters and their arcs than on whiz-bang special effects. The effects are there, and they are really good (though the 3D didn’t seem to add much). The scenes where you are web-slinging along with Spidey feel lifted from a really good video game. That’s not a bad thing. What also makes this work are good performances from Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Connors), Martin Sheen and Sally Field (Ben and May Parker) and Dennis Leary (Capt. Stacy). The banter between Leary and everyone provides a lot of the light moments that keep this from being a total downer. Garfield brings a darker more serious tone to Parker and Emma Stone is just great no matter what she does. Looking forward to the next installment! — Alan Yudman