The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high student who was left by his parents as a boy, to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance. This quest leads him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
It is inevitable for me to compare this film to the one directed by Sam Raimi in 2002. Even when I consider that movie to be a classic among the super-hero oriented films, there are things in that film that have always bothered me. One of those things was the way Tobey Maguire played Peter Parker. I thought that he put too much emphasis on the social misfit aspect to the point that it gave a touch of mental illness to the character. In Amazing Spider-Man, actor Andrew Garfield plays a Peter Parker that is more balanced in his civilian identity and more true to the spirit of the comics when donning the costume of Spider-Man. This point was a decisive one to make me prefer this film above its 2002 predecessor. The Amazing Spider-Man is a film that shows greater fidelity to the comics that gave rise to the characters.
I will list some of the points to which I am referring.
• As in the comics, Peter Parker is psychologically released when donning the costume of Spider-man. He becomes a person more at ease with himself, full of good humor and a thirst to live.
• As in the comics, we have the web shooters for the first time in a movie (I’m not counting the ones that came out in the 1970s television series that was starred by Nicholas Hammond). Of course their appearance has been updated to the 21st century technologic audience and we are given an explanation of how and why Peter Parker makes them that is even better than the one we have in the comics. For the first time I am not scratching my head making myself the eternal question that I do with the comic’s explanation, “If Peter is so smart, why he doesn’t sell the formula for synthetic webbing and the designs for the web-shooters and becomes a millionaire?”
• The relationship between Peter Parker and Flash Thomson received the attention that it deserves making it one more faithful to the original source contrary to the film directed by Raimi in which Flash is basically an ox.
• Even though in the comics Peter Parker did not meet Gwen Stacy until both were at Empire State University (in this film they meet when they are still in High School) their romance is Peter’s first serious relationship in both the film and the comics.
• Finally, we see The Lizard, one Spidey’s more vicious foes. I am very pleased with this version.
At this time I cannot think about some aspect of the film that I disliked. Emma Stone left me enchanted with her portrayal of Gwen Stacy. It was very enjoyable to see Denis Leary, Martin Sheen and Sally Field (who are personal favorites of mine) back on the big screen. The story was never boring. The photography was excellent, especially in the action scenes. And the music was definitely better than Danny Elfman’s score in 2002.
Go to see The Amazing Spider-Man. You will not regret it.