Director Marc Webb’s reboot of the Spider-Man movie series, titled “The Amazing Spider-Man” premiered in 2012. Ten years had gone by since the original “Spider-Man” film, directed by Sam Raimi, was released. While the two movies share obvious similarities in plot, the 2012 version takes Peter Parker’s story in a slightly different direction. Is this reboot of a classic superhero tale as amazing as its title suggests?
Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
Just like the original, “The Amazing Spider-Man” focuses on the origin of its title character, showing Peter Parker’s transformation from nerdy high school student to web-slinging superhero. However, it implements an entirely new cast. Most notably, Andrew Garfield portrays Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, which adds a new twist.
While Garfield stays mainly true to the comic character of Spider-Man, his portrayal is a little sassier than Tobey Maguire’s was. He places an emphasis on the witty backtalk that Spider-Man is known for, which is plenty entertaining for viewers. However, he does so at the expense of the shy, awkward Peter that audiences were accustomed to seeing from the prior series.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Emma Stone joins the cast as well, playing love interest Gwen Stacy. Comic book fans may have been excited to find out that the new movie would focus on Spider-Man’s relationship with Gwen Stacey instead of Mary Jane Watson. Odds are, they were not disappointed. Stone’s acting talent is obvious, and she and Garfield have natural chemistry on-screen.
Together, Garfield and Stone present a high school romance that is believable (except for the radioactive spider and giant lizard-man, of course). While some aspects of Spider-Man’s character may be compromised by Garfield’s performance, there is no denying that they are one good-looking couple.
Which movie did Spider-Man’s story better?
Both versions have advantages. There are some moments when “The Amazing Spider-Man” makes some real improvements upon its predecessor. There are others where the original “Spider-Man” still stands out.
“Spider-Man” does a better job of explaining his superpowers. There is a better visual representation of Peter Parker discovering his new-found strength, perfect vision, long-jump ability, and overall spidery-ness. “The Amazing Spider-Man” spends that screen time developing Peter’s back story. This is not necessarily a negative thing; explaining the disappearance of his parents creates more emotional depth in his character.
That said, “Spider-Man” has the advantage of including one particularly complex side character. Peter’s best friend Harry Osborn’s role as a double-agent protagonist/antagonist is integral to the plot depth of the story. Without any terribly complex characters, the cast of “The Amazing Spider-Man” seems a little empty. The only potential double-agent in the film is Gwen’s father, but, unlike Harry, his role as a protagonist is fairly well established by the time the credits roll.
What the “The Amazing Spider-Man” is lacking in character development, it makes up for in humor and charm. Simply put, it’s funnier. Relationships between characters are more believable. The romantic plot is more satisfying for the audience. Altogether, it’s an enjoyable, satisfying movie, despite the areas where it may falter.
It’s fairly safe to say that both Spider-Man movies are good. Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” series was hugely successful in its day. Marc Webb managed to find some interesting ways to adapt this classic story. If the new series is to become an overall improvement upon the old one, however, the sequel is going to have to incorporate some character complexity and maintain the chemistry between its starring actors.
The Amazing Spider-Man