Amazing Spiderman Review: Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Make This Remake Worthwhile


The Amazing Spiderman, starring Andrew Garfield, may have you asking, “didn't I already see this movie like ten years ago?”

Peter Parker is not a cool guy. He's not debonair like Bruce Wayne, he's not unflappable like Clark Kent, and he's certainly not anything like Tony Stark. But he's not supposed to be. Part of Spiderman's appeal, especially to the comic book audience, is the relatability of his origin as a nerdy high school student. What we get in Andrew Garfield's portrayal is the classically awkward Peter Parker we've come to expect, but with just a pinch of cool. In this most recent imagining, much more so than in 2002, Spiderman's attitude changes along with his DNA. Gaining super powers gives a much needed boost to the ego of Garfield's Peter Parker, and the result is quite entertaining. He openly mocks the futility of criminal's attempts to best him, and his triumphant humiliation of the school bully is done with ten times the swagger levels of Tobey Maguire. Naturally, this more confident Spiderman has a very different relationship with his love interest. Rather than hopelessly pining for the girl next door, this year's Spiderman is more aloof, and Gwen, played by Emma Stone, totally falls for the mysterious loner routine.

2.   Stone > Dunst

Speaking of Emma Stone, she gives an absolutely excellent performance as Spiderman's love interest. Her magnetic appeal is through the roof, and makes Dunst's feeble portrayal from a decade ago seem like a cardboard cutout. It's hard not to get jealous watching the oft-awkward Peter Parker stumble into their relationship. Also, I'm just gonna come right out and say it, Emma Stone is hotter than Kirsten Dunst. I can to try to dress this point up with legitimate criticism, but the fact is Emma Stone is goddamn beautiful, and The Amazing Spiderman does an excellent job of conveying it.

3.  More Depth

As much as I am against the 3D movement in modern cinema, I have to give credit to The Amazing Spiderman for its use of the medium. Some of the action sequences actually managed to benefit from the new technology, particularly the first-person looks at Spiderman's aerial acrobatics. The big success here was that rather than the tawdry spectacle of things appearing to fly out at you, this movie often used 3D to push the focal point deeper into the screen. What easily could have been two hours of illusory webs making you want to duck was instead an exploration of perspective in 3D filmmaking. I'm still not totally sold, but using 3D in this way is a step in the right direction.

4. More Ansgt

The Amazing Spiderman is much grittier than its counterpart from 2002. While this might not always be a good thing, its at least enough to give this film its own unique identity as part of the Spiderman franchise. What I especially enjoyed about this retelling was Spiderman's vendetta against Uncle Ben's killer. As opposed to immediately adopting a life in the pursuit of justice after his uncle's murder, 2012's Spiderman is initially on a quest for vengeance. Unfortunately, I think the film didn't live up to its potential in this regard, as Spiderman is forced to abandon his search to deal with The Lizard before there is a chance for any moral commentary on the subject of revenge. I really wanted to see how this imagining of the iconic hero would handle that emotionally charged showdown, but I guess I'll have to wait for the sequel. Another failing that stemmed from the movie's overall tone was the utter lack of comic relief. Watching J.K. Simmons as boisterous news editor J. Jonah Jameson was undoubtedly the most enjoyable part of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man, and there was nothing even remotely like that in the new version.

5.   Hurray for Puns

This film is directed by Mark Webb. Get it? Spider ... Webb ... Awesome.