The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
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Overall Rating 69%
Overall Rating
Ranked #163
...out of 14,101 movies
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Connections: Marvel: Spider-Man

Peter Parker is an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. 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, 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 - leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors, 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. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: June 07, 2015
Back in February, it was announced that Sony's second Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man, was going to be shelved and the character reintroduced into the massively popular Marvel Cinematic Universe. With that in mind, I figured might as well get those two on here. Sure, it'd have made more sense to review them back when they made the announcement, or hell, when they came out, but I'm a slacker. What can you do?

When he was a young child, Peter Parker's home was broken into by a man who ripped apart his father's office, searching for secrets on what the scientist was working on. In a panic, his parents quickly pack up their work, drop the four-year-old off with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, and disappear into the night. Fourteen years later, Peter is now doing his best to get through high school. While he has his father's intelligence and nobility, he doesn't have much in the way of confidence or strength and he spends a lot of time recuperating after beatings from the local bully or daydreaming about somehow wooing the beautiful Gwen Stacy. Such is life until he finds his father's briefcase in his uncle's basement and learns that his father was partners with bio-engineer Dr. Curtis Connor; the pair were working on a project to fuse animal DNA with humans. In Connors case, he's interested in the regenerative abilities of lizards to regrow his lost arm. Peter is able to sneak into Connors' lab with a group of interns, but the ruse isn't going to work when he learns that Connors' assistant is none other than Gwen. Despite her pleas not to get her in trouble, Peter sneaks off into an off-limits part of the lab and discovers a colony of spiders endlessly spinning webs. As you'd imagine, his exploration destroys the experiment, gets him bit by one of the spiders, kicked out of the building and pisses off Gwen. Good job Pete.

That night, however, he learns that the bite is having some amazing effects on him. He's impossibly strong, his hands and feet have become uncontrollably sticky, and his reaction times are bordering precognition. Not only have these changes turned his life around, but he's reconnected with Dr. Connors and seems to have solved the problem with his experiments. While Connors is ecstatic, Peter's new attitude and preoccupation isn't sitting too well with Uncle Ben. After a heated argument, the teenager storms out into the night, with his uncle in pursuit. In his search, Ben is killed by a man who Peter just watched rob a convenience store, and his new powers suddenly become a tool for vengeance, as he takes off each night in search of the murderer. To help his vigilante activities, he builds himself a pair of web shooters and a suit matching his arachnid aesthetic. Spider-Man is born! Not a minute too soon, as in a moment of desperation, Connors has injected himself with the reptilian serum, but the lizard DNA has taken over the doctor completely. Spider-Man is the only who can end this creature's rampage.

When this reboot was announced, there were plenty of eyes rolled when Sony said they were taking the franchise in a darker and grittier direction. Not only has "darker and grittier" almost become a cliche by that point, but it just didn't suit this flippant, happy-go-lucky hero. Fortunately, the end result isn't exactly akin to Nolan's Batman trilogy. Instead, all of the cartoony aspects, the comic-book-ness if you will, of the first three movies has been stripped away and we're given a more realistic approach. The violence isn't merely shaken off without consequence, the villains are less prone to dramatic explanations, and even the budding romance between Peter and Gwen takes a few pages out of your standard coming-of-age drama. However, the difference having perhaps the biggest difference between this movie and the previous trilogy is Andrew Garfield's approach to Peter Parker. While McGuire's emotional efforts have long been criticized, Garfield's Parker has been lauded for finally bringing a comic-accurate Spidey to the big screen. The problem is that this Peter Parker is an asshole punk. The first thing he does with his new found powers is to bully and humiliate the kid who was bullying him, and his shit-talking to criminal and police office alike while Spider-Manning is more arrogant than witty. I'm no psychologist, but it's easy to see why the comic nerds enjoy this one so much more. They're not worried about being a hero so much as vicariously gaining the power wielded against them their entire lives and ascending to the aggressor role themselves.

I'll tell you, having to sit through yet another telling of the origin wasn't easy. This is where rebooting a franchise a mere ten years later was truly shown to be a questionable decision. Sure there were some choice differences here and there, but it's a simple story and we've seen it before; the drag was heaviest watching Peter learning his new powers and exploring their limits again. There's a scene where he's skateboarding around a construction yard, slowly getting higher and higher and adding more agility to his jumps, before using a series of hanging chains to swing around in his trademark style. Even though it went on a bit too long, seeing him begin to swing around for the first time probably would have been a glowing fanboy moment if we hadn't already seen three full movies of him in action. And just think, we get to do it all over again in 2017 when Marvel does it.

It took awhile to get there, but once Dr. Connors made that injection and turned into the Lizard, the fun began. Again, this isn't nearly as cartoony as Raimi's trilogy, making the fights that much more effective this go-around. After all, when you've seen McGuire fall three stories and land on a car with only a quick grimace of pain, it sets an unfortunate perspective when he was getting smacked around by Green Goblin or Doc Ock. That's not the case in Webb's world. The first time Garfield's Spidey goes up against the Lizard, his chest is clawed wide open. This is very clearly an enemy capable of life threatening injuries, and that adds volumes to the viewers fear of what he can do. To go along with this, he's quite the sight to behold; he's a hulking beast with equal parts quick agility and brute strength, and that whip-like tail is every bit as dangerous as those claws. Sure, the creature definitely would have looked better with a snout and I wish it kept the lab coat on, but these are just nitpicks. The Lizard was an awesome choice to kick off this new franchise.

While it was a bit of a chore sitting through the origin story again, it's always fun seeing our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man on the silver screen. I enjoyed it once we got rolling, and I'm tentatively looking forward to the next movie since we can just jump into the swing of things, even if the reviews for that one aren't pretty. 7/10.
BuryMeAlive #1: BuryMeAlive - added 06/11/2015, 02:21 PM
I really enjoyed this one. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are great and it's an overall great superhero movie. Sadly I can't say the same for the second movie.
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