‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated September 26th, 2014 at 4:28 am,

 The Amazing Spider Man Review

In this day and age, “adults” are also big kids who still see Spider-Man movies, and The Amazing Spider-Man faces the challenge of making both the old and new generations satisfied with a revised vision of an iconic hero. If you fall into the camp of ‘big kids who still love their Spider-Man films,’ know right from the get-go that Amazing Spider-Man covers a familiar origin story – albeit in different fashion than Sam Raimi’s game-changing film did in 2002. If you can’t get behind that idea – even in the slightest – then this movie simply is not for you.

However, for all others:

We pick up the familiar tale of Spider-Man with a re-imagined version of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), a high school geek who exists in the contemporary age of smartphones and social media, in which “the geek,” as an archetype, has become something slightly cooler and more accepted than what it used to be. Garfield’s Peter Parker – with his skateboard, contact lenses and vintage punk band tee-shirts – is definitely the epitome of modern “geek chic”; as such, the goofy nerdisms of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s 1960s Peter Parker have been replaced with deeper emotional troubles centered around Peter’s status as an orphan who never answered the question of his parents’ disappearance.

Amazing Spider Man Curt Connors DNA Experiment 570x249 The Amazing Spider Man Review

The chance discovery of his dad’s old research into cross-species genetics (a replacement for the outdated radiation experiments that originally created Spider-Man) sends Peter to the beehive-shaped halls of Oscorp, where his high school crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) interns alongside the brilliant but disabled Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who was once Peter’s father’s closest associate. That meeting results in Connors and young Parker bonding over scientific theory – and of course, Peter stumbles into the chance accident which leaves him endowed with super powers – abilities which the young man at first squanders for selfish gain, resulting in a life-altering tragedy close to home.

Meanwhile, facing coercion from his shadowy employer Norman Osborn, Dr. Connors takes a big risk testing a promising new serum, which has the unfortunate side-effect of transforming him into a humanoid Lizard. With a super-powered monster on the loose, only Spider-Man is up to the task of stopping the threat. But as both his personal and super hero lives begin to collide at every turn, Peter fears that tragedy may strike home all over again.

Amazing Spider-Man arguably gets more right than it gets wrong, but it is far from being a perfect film. At its core, the movie seems to be, in fact, two films: The hour-long teenage character drama that director Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer)  invests great time and care in telling – followed by a standard  superhero blockbuster, complete with 3D CGI battle sequences and an overly-formulaic structure. The point of debate amongst fans will be the question of which half of the film is the better one, and the answer will largely depend on the preferences and expectations of the viewer.

 The Amazing Spider Man Review

Martin Sheen, Sally Field and Andrew Garfield in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’

For my money, the first hour of Amazing Spider-Man is the more interesting half, as it presents a version of the character we haven’t seen before. Webb creates the world of Peter Parker – and the characters that inhabit it – in a way that few people before him have. In this film, Peter Parker feels like a fully-realized person; the home he shares with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) feels like a real place, and the high school he attends feels like one you could walk right into. Andrew Garfield owns the leading role, offering a mix of lanky physicality, sharp wit and carefully measured emotion – traits that are effective on both sides of the mask, and help him to wall-crawl right out of the shadow of Tobey Maguire. The rest of the cast is just as strong; on the whole, the players in this new version far outshine the original ensemble.

Raimi’s film always felt somewhat emotionally distant, while Webb grabs hold of personal turmoil and emotional connections as his primary point of interest. The chemistry between the principal actors – Garfield, Sheen, Field and Denis Leary as Gwen’s father, Captain Stacy – is very palpable and engaging, so that we actually care when reckless super-Peter has his big angry blow up at Uncle Ben and Aunt May, or when he causes tension at the dinner table trading quips with Cpt. Stacy – or the emotional punch we get as Peter  listens to the last voice message his Uncle left him, professing fatherly affection. Garfield and Stone have even better chemistry, and indeed Amazing Spider-Man is often at its best when watching the two young leads trading snappy flirtatious dialogue or (in one scene) maturely discussing the dangers of Peter’s heroics. Stone is a much better heroine than Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane (smart and  feisty, rather than hapless and dramatic) – though she’s still given little to actually do besides to stare into her co-star’s eyes in key scenes (which she does well).

 The Amazing Spider Man Review

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’

When the first hour is up, and the film inevitably transitions into the superhero blockbuster we’ve been waiting for, the rough seams quickly start show. The studio had to know that an indie director like Marc Webb would be somewhat out of his element handling such big-budget action fare – but to his credit, Webb (with a good deal of assistance, no doubt) manages to keep things together – if only barely.

The  Spider-Man action in the film is better than ever, thanks to some improved conceptualization (Spider-Man actually moves and fights like a spider) and a whole lot of superior technology. The cinematography is gorgeous and there are well-staged practical stunts that help avoid an over-reliance on CGI – and even the effects-heavy portions of the film (like the character of The Lizard) are handled reasonably well. The 3D effects are phenomenal whenever Spider-Man suits up to do some web-slinging, but are almost non-existent in the domestic scenes. You could go an hour before really needing to put on the glasses.

Pacing and editing are the two biggest issues in the film – and this is very apparent in some of the rushed set pieces that are wedged into the second and third acts. Example: a second-act sewer battle seeks to build tension and suspense, only to come to an abrupt end – followed by a speedy and awkward transition into a high school battle sequence. The entire character of “Curt Connors” becomes an extraneous narrative concern as the Spider-Man action ramps up, and a lot of the primary plot threads that galvanize the movie get pushed off onto an inevitable sequel, so that time and space are freed up for Spidey to pound on (or get pounded by) the mostly arbitrary villain that is The Lizard.

 The Amazing Spider Man Review

The Spider-Man action is cooler, but totally at odds with the deeper story that precedes it; the initial character and world building are handled much better than the hollow and cartoonish Raimi film, but those threads are ultimately left dangling without much resolution or acknowledgement. What we’re left with is a pastiche of scenes that are, generally speaking, all interesting, impactful or ‘cool,’ but when looked at as a whole, are clearly the rough stitch-work of an inexperienced tailor.

Whether that “tailor” is Webb, screenwriters James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), Alvin Sargent (the original Spider-Man trilogy) and Steve Kloves (the Harry Potter films) – or simply some meddling studio executives, we may never know. But whatever the case, the fact is that The Amazing Spider-Man is somewhat at odds with itself. And while that might be a fitting metaphor for the character himself, as a film seeking to justify its own new beginning, Amazing Spider-Man ends up being a solid relaunch, rather than a “good” or (wait for it) “amazing” one. The potential is there for a much bigger, better, Spider-Man movie universe to come, even if this movie doesn’t fully realize that potential.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant team check out our Amazing Spider-Man episode of the SR Underground podcast.

If you want to talk about the movie in detail, head over to our Amazing Spider-Man Spoilers Discussion, or rate the movie for yourself below.

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The Amazing Spider-Man is now playing in theaters. It is Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence.

Head to Game Rant for our review of The Amazing Spider-Man tie-in game!

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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  1. If this was the first shot at a Spiderman movie., it would be good or even great. But since it is a reboot. There is an implication that there will be a lot of improvement, and IMO it was just okay. No better or worse than the Raining films.

  2. My bad. Supposed to be a comma after reboot. And its supposed to say Raimi films.

    • i don’t know there was an awful lot of rain in the raimi films

      • Raindrops keep falling on my head…

  3. I liked it. The movie wasn’t perfect. But i like this created universe, much better then the previous one. The actors did their job.
    I do agree that the movie was not totally balanced.
    And although the soundtrack did not bother me, it was far from epic.
    The Stan Lee cameo was great! Best so far…

    I do not miss Kirsten Dunst, emo peter, the cheesy dialogue… When the first spiderman came out, i liked it. But some months ago a saw it again, and i was bothered more than enjoying it. Too many things are just off.
    The best thing about the Sam Raimi-vers was dock ock, and they killed him off. And finally the ruined the franchise with spiderman 3.

    • A completely agree with you. The people hating saying the raimi s*** was better are the ones who were kids back then and never really bothered to see a damn re-run. Those movies never really cut it for me and while this new reboot is far from perfect it’s the best spiderman to date.
      There’s a lot to work on for the sequels but l trust they’ll do a great job

      • It was alright. I will probably like it better on a second viewing, but I prefer the first 2 Raimi films, especially #2. I really couldn’t get down with the costume, bothered me since they first showed it. Maybe they will make it look better in the sequels. I liked Martin Sheen a lot. The action was a lil lacking, but nothing tops that train top fight from Spider-Man 2 for me. Also, Peter Parker is smart enough to make web shooters, but he uses bing? Probably the biggest plot hole in the movie.

        • Yep, that SM2 train scene fight was classic, the fight scenes in that movie was great over all, couldn’t help remembering SM2 and how I loved that movie after seeing ASM, which also had those great Spidey/Lizard moments but was just too minimal for a ‘Spiderman’ movie.

  4. Nt quite “amazing” but still pretty good. The casting and acting were fantastic. It just seemed like it didn’t really achieve anything as far as breaking new ground. No need to see it in 3D either.

  5. Very good movie! Like Garfield’s Peter Parker/Spiderman version better. Nothing wrong with Tobey. Did not miss Mary Jane either, or should I say Kirsten, she kinda ruined the whole thing for me. What I think was missing from the movie was an epic soundtrack. I don’t even remember what it sounded like

  6. Great movie, but i like Raimi’s first two films better. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield were great, and the origin story was very detailed to the point that it reminded me of Batman Begins (which is Great) but the very underdeveloped villain and the lack of common sense that some of the characters have along with ditching the “the untold story” of peter’s parents in the middle of the movie then bringing it back up in the end really hurt the movie. all in all an 8.5/10

  7. i loved the movie i think that it was in some ways that it was better than the original spiderman. I also liked that there was more action in the movie. on thing that i didn’t care for was that when he shot the spiderweb out that he created a device for it and that it could easily be ruined and, didn’t come out of his arm. other then that one thing i absolutely love the amazing spiderman movie and i hope there will be another.

    • That’s what he has actually used since the beginning of Spider-man though. Raimi basically made the biological part up.

  8. So many things got exploited from Spiderman the original plots in the movie third version 3D, starting with how he became super/amazing Spiderman, in the original plot, a Spider, radioactive was the claim of getting bitten & then the atomic fuse power transferring into peter parker, in this 3D Spiderman, they made it simply a spider in a lab bites him, & some how transmits its mix DNA abilities,lacks science-fi logic in it, it should have been a display of Super spider insects crawling around & even picks up Peter from under, almost like stepping on steel robotic roaches, while being over whiled with what he witness, a Nam-o luv arm robotic needle that is suppose to inject these bio super insects, induces the effects into Peter Parker accidently, thus like that would have created a more logic plot of a SCI-fi modern amazing in the movie, instead, he gets bitten & their for now becomes like that? what if it was a crocodile, the amazing Crocman heh.,

    I also would prefer a more modern stealth costume gear for Spiderman, some internal armor & gadgets gears on the belt side to make him more techno up to speed against modern deadly devices, a long with that spider shape homing-bug devices he uses to track the Foe in the classic ability ways of Spiderman, a black & blue color costume with red web weaves, versus that brightly tacky florescent red & blue, even Batman never kept that outdated look from its TV version show, went more tech & stealth.

    • wow

  9. After watching the trailer, i had high expectation that were certainly not met in the movie. This is my honest opinion, not a mindless hate filled comment.

    Andrew Garfield starts out okay,mbut then his routine shrug maintains what oeter parkers awkwardness is suppose to be. the whole skate board thing was just out of character and context. emma stone was used as the pretty girl that any action movie needs to keep the male population happy. the only scene of which i saw spider man being the witty spider man that we know is the car scene, after which everything fell apart. only using the lizard as the enemy? really?
    an hour of pure teen angst felt like watching a teenage sob story. yes i know spideys story, but not even comic books use that much time to tell it.
    sorry, have to say i was really not enjoying it.

  10. It wasn’t the best movie ever, but I think it was the best and most faithful depiction of Spiderman yet. I never did like Raimi’s version of Peter Parker. Garfield nailed the character and this movies action scenes really brought the Spiderman character to life, complete with the sarcastic wit missing from the Raimi films.
    Coming from a life long fan of the character (38 yo)I’m personally looking forward to the sequel(s).

    • The movie is far from faithful to the comics. The fact that Parker just seems to blurt out that he is spiderman to a girl he knew for what 2 weeks top! It ruins the mystique, along with the fact that everyone of the major character except Aunt May knew who he is (even the lizard – i mean why do you need teh picture when he isnt even in the D.B. yet, and why dont you take out your name from it if your gonna use it as Spiderman – major plothole). I think if anything it should have been the other way round – atleast accounts for all those scars. I also hate how they toned down Flash but maybe we can see more of it in the sequel. Also I felt the editting was bad along with some of the script – we never see what he does to the guy who killed his uncle and the wrestling ring scene was tacky at best. We also don’t see the poverty of the Parkers, something that is crucial to the character. My verdict is 3 tops or 6 if out of 10!!!

      • He never found his uncle’s killer. They showed that he never did at the end of the movie.

  11. OK, so let me start off by saying I am a huge spider-man fan, have been all my life. the raimi spiderman films (1 and 2 at least) are in my opinion classics and great films. Having said that, let me get into my review of ASM.

    Ive seen the movie 2 times by now, one of the two times with a girl (a girl who i always had a hard time getting interested in seeing the original spiderman films). I have to say, on my second viewing i liked the film even more than i did the first time around, and found myself getting pretty emotional during multiple parts of the movie. I think Andrew garfield portrays the best spiderman ive seen on screen yet, and is superior to the tobey maguire version. he gives peter such depth and really nails multiple key aspects of the character that were neglected in the previous films. as a whole, the entire cast was better than the previous movies. You really got to know uncle ben this time around, and his death has greater impact on you the viewer this time aroudn because you see the closeness he and peter shared. lizard looked great and the battles and fighting style were more incredible and spider like than ever before. i would say as a fan of spiderman i prefer the new version to the classic as it is truer to the comic roots more and really fleshes out peter parker and his supporting cast much more than the old films. while we will be missing out on willem defoe and maybe jk simmons ( while i hope they find a way to have him reprise JJJ in these new films, he nailed that character better than anyone else could) i can confidently say though the old films are classic and very dear to me, this new version is my favorite.

    also, mentioning the girl appeal factor the girl i saw it with said she much preferred this new version as well as she got to know peter more and the romance between him and gwen was sweet and gave a cetain sex appeal to spiderman for woman that had previously not been used to its full potential.

  12. I have watched this film twice, and fell asleep both times. I have been watching Spiderman versions since The Amazing Spicerman cartoons back in the day and read the comics. This film just didn’t do it for me. Here’s why.
    A. Although Garfield’s acting was great, I found he exposed his true identity way too much
    B. The Lizard was a crap villain
    C. It was way to close to the Raimi films, so seemed unnecessary
    D. Certain parts of the film seemed rushed
    E. No Norman Osbourne, I really thought they might do a better green goblin than SM1. The fact his face was a mask always did bug me, although Willem Defoe was an inspired choice
    On a plus note Gwen Stacey was cool, I never liked Mary Jane.

  13. Long-time fan of Spiderman. Although some parts were good, overall this is a bit of a fail.

    LIKED: The Lizard. He was awesomely dangerous. Spiderman was a serious underdog in this fight in a way that he never was in the Sam Raimi films. That made it exciting to watch due to the high stakes.

    LIKED: The fight scenes. Again due to the Lizard. I liked the Raimi movies but they’ve made progress in the realism of the action scenes.

    BAD: Peter Parker. I really would have preferred that they give him a different name because he has so little to do with 50 years of Marvel’s flagship character.
    -Way too cool with his skateboard.
    -Way too self serving to have the name Peter Parker.
    -Became Spiderman just for the kicks as far as I can tell.
    -Uses his webs to grab Gwen’s butt! Seriously? When was the last time you saw “Peter Parker” do this?
    -Car Thief scene. I thought I was looking at Deadpool rather than Spiderman. This was not Marvel’s charming Spiderman wit of the last 50 years it was threatening and humiliating. Were I the car thief I would have assumed that this guy was going to gut me at the end of it. Very threatening in a Batman style which I guess is the point?
    -First time meeting Gwen’s family gets into a heated argument with her father (the Police Captain). Seriously? Aunt May kinda missed the whole manners upbringing thing there.
    -Only saved people on the bridge because the Police Captain pointed out that police “serve and protect” while this Spiderman just goes around beating up people. Agreed with the Captain at that point in the movie that Spiderman was a vigilante that should be off the street.
    -Learned no obvious lessons during the movie. Need to protect people? Nope, was already a hero type in the first 5 min of the movie. Responsibility? Nope. Snuck into the building by stealing some guys pass card. Saw that guy get hauled away – amused rather than remourseful. Lies about coming up with the formula – no guilt. Steals the web shooting stuff from Oscorp – good move! Makes a promise to a dying man – decides he’s not going to keep that promise 5 movie minutes later. Forgets to pick up his elderly aunt – the uncle tries to force him into an apology but “Peter Parker” gets into a heated argument and doesn’t bother to apologize but instead plays the “you’re not my Dad” card. Nice.
    -Its a realy strange feeling when you are more sympathetic towards the bully “Flash Thompson” than you are towards the protagonist of the film. At least Flash learned some lessons along the way. This Peter Parker was so awesome at the beginning that he really had nothing to learn. Oh, and the Flash Thompson basketball putdown was just soooo out of character.

    OK: Gwen. She was fine, slightly better than Jane Foster’s role in the Thor movie. She fell for Peter Parker in this movie because of his ample coolness rather than some Mary Jane soft spot in Raimi’s movies. It felt like any teenager meets any other teenager type of important rather than some type of super-special waiting-for-it-forever type of relationship. I don’t know, I guess I liked the pining Peter Parker of Raimi’s film. This Gwen-Peter relationship just seems like it could end in any old breakup 1 or 2 years later with no lasting significance. Nice piece of a__ but that’s about it to Peter.

  14. One of the worst screenwriting I have seen this year. Screenrant has to have either a lot of children or stupid audience cause this movie doesn’t deserve 4-5 stars…Garfield may be good actor but he is not a good Parker character, and even a good script would not make him better. Plot and characters are so incredibly shallow…ohh…makes me wanna puke. And dozens and dozens of stupid scenes…can’t even describe them cause I don’t remember them anymore(good for me I guess).

    And return of Webb for the second movie isn’t a good sign.

  15. What a boring movie…I expected soooo much more!! if they left things hanging in an attempt to continue with it… well i am not wasting my money again on it.

  16. Dreadfully awful. Not worth the blu-ray 3D price. Story was uninteresting and boring. The Tobey Maguire versions converted to 3D would be better. Not worth the 2D price either. This showsthat I’ll start screening the 3D movies before purchasing in Blu-ray. Take away the 3D and the movie really shows its flat storyline.

  17. I liked the movie but they could of gave it a different villain like Hydro-man or fire-fly or chameleon. I liked in this movie he was more flexible and fought better then Toby did. i dont like the the webbing comes from a tube but that makes it stronger than Toby. rate 4 of 5 stars

  18. So this movie was pretty good. There were a few things I noticed that I think they should’ve done differently. The first being Peter Parker/Spider-Ma’s attitude. They portrayed him ok overall, but I wasn’t a fan of him being kind of a douche at times (only work that came to mind). He’s a little too full of himself as Spider-Man, and though Spider-Man always made his jokes, they were always light-hearted and maybe even goofy at times. There was one instance (when he’s first doing the Spider-Man thing) that he just comes off as a bully. I just don’t like when anything tries really hard to pander to this disrespectful generation. He’s a bit too “cool” for a earnest Peter Parker. I guess pandering is what some movies do though.
    Another small issue was the pacing of the film. The origin and back story took up a lot of the time, and the bits with the Lizard seemed like they weren’t fully realized. They also relied very heavily on him “finding himself” in the previews, but they kind of went a few different directions in the main focus of the movie. They didn’t really need to make his Parents such a big mystery, and then move on to another main idea. But, they tried. I just don’t think they gave any one point enough time to build and be a big part of the movie.
    I guess this isn’t an issue with the movie so much as it is with people who’ve seen it. I’ve been told that it was very true to the comic. While in some instances, definitely. But from what I’ve gathered, Oscorp really didn’t have much to do with him becoming Spider-Man, or play a part in any of his back story. So, it’s cool that they tied all that in, but don’t praise it for being spot-on, because it’s still it’s own thing, as were the originals.
    For me, I think the original 3 were better put together, and they had a lot more heart and depth. With this one, the action scenes were really cool, and I think that it’s a very solid start to what could be a good trilogy, or however many they’re going to do. I prefer the original 3, because those felt more like a genuine Spider-Man. This one did have it’s good moments. So I liked it. It’s Spider-Man. Most good.

    • And also not a fan of the costume. The web is just straight lines. Kinda defeats the purpose of the “webbing” aspect. They tried too hard to make it cool, and it shows. But that’s not a big deal. The movies was still pretty good.

      • And always a big fan of Spider-Man. Awesome.

  19. IMHO:
    Andrew Garfield made a much better Peter Parker than did Toby Mcguire, I never Liked Toby in the role to begin with. Garfield was more believable and I think he had a better script to work with, but either way the character(s) produced by Garfield both Peter and Spidey were more fun to watch and I gotta say I loved the attitude.

    Emma Stone’s character was a much better fit for Peter/Spiderman than Kirsten Dunst BY FAR. It might have something to do with the fact that Emma was previously a zombie killer vs. Kirsten being a painfully annoying cheerleader, but the difference between the two spiderman love interests is better between Emma and Andrew than was between Kirsten and Toby.

    I liked how they went a bit darker with this installment, the previous movies were too cartoony for my liking. Spiderman always seemed like a dark “story” something they missed out on in the Toby era, or maybe thats what all the rain was about in those movies? Either way Spiderman just like Batman, was a darker character, living in a darker world, and although not perfect, this time around it felt closer to that dark, back alley, Hell’s Kitchen (if I may) feeling that they failed at previously.

    Stan Lee’s Cameo: PRICELESS, I laughed my A$$ off, best cameo yet !!!

    overall, it still isn’t perfect, but it sure is a step in the right direction.

  20. I think this is the best yet…far more loveable characters and leads, much better effects