The Amazing Spider Man
and recent Tony-nominee) Andrew Garfield in the suit.
The plot of this movie hews pretty closely to previous iterations: We meet the nerdy (and in this case, kind of angsty-emo) Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast in school. He visits Oscorp and is bitten by a radioactive spider, imbuing him with his spidey senses. He’s in love with a pretty girl, in this case it’s Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). One of his mentors (here it’s his absent father’s former colleague, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans)) becomes a little overzealous with scientific experimentation. When Dr. Connors experiments on himself, it goes horribly wrong and Peter’s mentor becomes Spider-Man’s nemesis.
I can’t report that this is particularly revelatory, although we do get a little more of Peter’s back story, like who his parents are and why he’s living with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben (Sally Field and
Martin Sheen), which allows Webb and company to delve in Peter’s psyche here
and, presumably, in the surely forthcoming sequels. Still, there are two things
I really like about The Amazing
Spider-Man: Spidey’s humanity and the on screen chemistry.
Establishing a difference, Garfield’s Spider-Man seems more human than Maguire’s. Not necessarily because of the performance, although Garfield’s is very good. (He has this wonderful, youthful glow about him that makes Peter entirely endearing.) Rather, we see physical evidence that Spidey is human. In The Amazing Spider-Man, when Spider-Man is in a fight and his opponent lands some punches, Peter has bruises on his face or slashes on his stomach once the mask and suit are removed. I don’t remember that being the case in the previous three films.
The best thing about this new franchise, however, is the chemistry between Garfield and Stone. The two of them banter and bat eyelashes like they’re in a classic Tracy-Hepburn screwball comedy. It’s simply delightful. Moreover, Gwen Stacy is so much more relatable than Mary Jane Watson ever was, making you care so much more when Spidey fights for his gal.
Did we really need another Spider-Man movie? Nope. But it’s fun and entertaining—so why not?