Sean K. Cureton

Marc Webb’s Spider-man is a Good but Unnecessary Reboot

In Movie Reviews: 2012 on July 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Theatrical Poster


The Amazing Spider-Man
Directed by Marc Webb
3 out of 4 stars

It’s kind of perplexing that I am even reviewing a reboot of the Spider-man franchise. The original Sam Raimi trilogy, which started with 2002’s Spider-man and concluded with 2007’s Spider-man 3, is only five years old and is not a franchise that needs to be redone anytime soon. After all, it took nineteen years before Bryan Singer decided to reboot the Superman franchise and Christopher Nolan rebooted the Batman series only because of how horrible the two Schumacher films are. Personally, I didn’t think that there was any reason to reboot the Spider-man series at all, or at least not for another couple of decades. Then again, Spider-man 3 was, in more ways than one, similar to the kiss of death that Schumacher provided for Batman in the late 1990’s. With this view in mind, I was excited to see where director Marc Webb((500) Days of Summer) would take Peter Parker in a film series that would break all ties with Raimi’s take on the Spider-man universe.

Basically, I was really pleased and surprised with Webb’s reincarnation of the web slinger. Andrew Garfield(The Social Network) is an interesting choice for Peter Parker, playing him off as a much cooler outcast who is constantly riding a skateboard and sticking up for other outsiders. He’s certainly less of a wimp than Tobey Maguire’s Parker, but he also doesn’t quite fit the role that is branded into my mind of a Parker who is gawky and completely un-cool. On the other hand, Webb’s vision of Spider-man is more appealing than Raimi’s. Where Maguire’s portrayal of Spider-man was more focused on moral values and responsibility, Webb’s Spider-man is sleeker and wittier, much like the Spider-man that fans of the original comics will remember.

In addition to a different Parker/Spider-man characterization, Webb has also decided to explore a different story this time around. Instead of focusing primarily on specific villains to provide an over-arching narrative for the series, Webb’s film is focused on exploring the disappearance of Parker’s parents, which leads to the introduction of villains such as this film’s the Lizard/Dr. Curt Conners(Rhys Ifans) and next film’s hinted appearance of the Green Goblin/Norman Osborn. Making this decision for this film series’ narrative gives the film a sense of added mystery and danger. It also doesn’t hurt that such a decision prevents Webb’s film from killing off the Lizard immediately, allowing Webb the option of bringing the Lizard back into the story in future films.

The Amazing Spider-man also boasts a more interesting romantic side-plot that is expertly executed and paced by Webb, whose experience with Romantic Comedy from 2009’s wonderful (500) Days of Summer comes in handy when directing the scenes between Parker and love interest Gwen Stacy(Emma Stone). Stacy, a character who was added in as an afterthought in Raimi’s Spider-man 3, is given more time in this film to be explored, and her character is brought to life wonderfully by Emma Stone, possibly one of the best young actresses of her generation. While Raimi’s portrayal of Mary Jane Watson was great, it’s a nice change of pace in this film to have a female lead that is completely unlike Kirsten Dunst’s.

In conclusion, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-man is a well-done reboot of a series that was completely fine the way it was. Although I did thoroughly enjoy Webb’s reimagining of the Spider-man universe, I still can’t shake the conviction that a reboot of Sam Raimi’s Spider-man trilogy was completely unwarranted and unnecessary in every way. There’s nothing wrong with The Amazing Spider-man, it’s a good movie, but I just can’t help feeling that the film might have been more effective or at least interesting had Hollywood waited a while longer before rebooting the series entirely. That being said, I am looking forward with great anticipation for the sequel that was set up so well at the end of this installment.

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