Have Your Say: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, a Heartless Robot or a Worthwhile Investment?
Does the world need another Spider-Man origin movie? No, in the same sense that the world did not need big-screen adaptations of best-selling novels like The Godfather or Jaws, or remakes of The Maltese Falcon and The Front Page less than 10 years after the original.
In every case, whether a movie is needed is determined by bankers and financiers; whether a movie is wanted is determined by audiences in general; whether a movie is any good is determined by the individual.
What we have before us today is The Amazing Spider-Man, a movie that, yes, swings through the motions, as our own Brian Clark observed in his review:
This new iteration of the web slinger's origin is, I suppose, serviceable, but it also feels like a clumsy, uninspired cash grab, one which lurches through virtually all of the story beats from Sam Raimi's original, but never manages the freewheeling exuberance that propped that movie up even when it lost its footing. Sure, its got a darker color palate, a new villain, and some arbitrary changes to the back story, but nothing in the film is anywhere near diverting enough to justify the existence of the thing. Worse still, the charm, humor and melodrama that Raimi weaved into the action so deftly all feel forced and cloying this time around.
Really, for the first hour or so, you'd swear a lesser director was having a go with an early draft of the script Raimi used. ... It's about now where the film really seems to go on auto-pilot.
Where Brian and I differ in our opinions is that I think it's at that point where the new film finally begins to assert its individuality. Raimi's 2002 original was fine, but fell apart in the confrontations between hero and villain, in part due to the more primitive CGI, and in part because two individuals whose faces were completely covered in masks were engaged in one-on-one battles; the masks took away any possibility of engagement with the characters.
Marc Webb's version also has the advantage of superior actors in Andrew Garfield and, especially, Emma Stone. Whereas Mr. Clark felt that it's a "by-the-numbers romantic relationship" between their characters, and that, though they have "nice chemistry in some scenes, the script never raises the stakes enough to make it feel at all genuine or affecting."
Again, a difference of opinion: I thought the teen romance angle worked best of all, in large measure because Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is a much stronger foil for Garfield's Peter Parker.
To be clear, I'm not claiming The Amazing Spider-Man is a great movie, or even that far above average. It's missing Raimi's wide-eyed sense of wonder -- though I much prefer Raimi's second installment to his first go -- and it was very difficult to watch the first hour without feeling that I was enduring material that was included simply because someone in a business suit felt it was necessary or else the audience (i.e. me) would feel shortchanged. But I ended up feeling a sufficient jolt overall to give the new edition a mild recommendation.
With the film now open in Europe, Asia, and North America, however, I'm curious about your reaction. Are you skipping the film entirely? If you've seen it, has it felt like a senseless retread? Or was it worth your investment of time and money?
Feel free to have your say here, or click through to Brian Clark's excellent, well-reasoned review and leave your comments there.
The Amazing Spider-Man is now playing in theatres throughout most of the known universe.