It’s a sad truth that we live in a world where Hollywood studios have turned to quick reboots and remakes for a great deal of their films, but at least there is a bright side in all of their doings. Despite many of these films being objectionable to the vast majority of fans, admittedly including myself, they do bring a bit of variation to the table on multiple occasions, and I’d say that’s worth the effort. Now, that doesn’t always mean the finished film will turn out well made, but in the case of The Amazing Spider-Man, there’s a refreshing amount of newness in story, character, and direction.
The Amazing Spider-Man brings us back to the origins of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield)’s transformation into Spider-Man, but does so in a wholly different canon from the decade old original. Gone is the presence of Mary Jane (Emma Stone) as Spidey’s sweetheart, who is replaced by the more comic-narrative appropriate Gwen Stacey. We are also introduced to the villain Lizard (Rhys Ifans) instead of the megalomaniac Green Goblin. There is still, however, a strong familiarity in how Spider-Man comes to be, the convictions created in his mind after the death of his uncle, and the decisions he makes in how to utilize his new-found powers. Parker is a character that is both familiar and different, whose slight changes in presentation and action allow us to still hold investment in his pursuing of justice.
Despite the necessary comparison that comes with all reboots in regards to their originals though, this film has to be held to the merits of its own construction and presentation. The motivation for becoming the masked vigilante known as Spider-Man might still be the same, as origins are rarely reconstructed on a massive level, but this film has a completely different narrative to tell that works on a more finely-tuned level. Spider-Man must not only save Gwen from danger, whom his true persona of Peter Parker has fallen in love with, but he also has to save the city from Lizard to protect people and prove his heroic worth to them. Manhattan is a proving ground for Spider-Man – a place for him to extend his great powers in a method that would honor the lessons of his now deceased uncle – to show both citizens and police that they have a new hero to protect them from all of the new dangers that they face (and will face).
There’s a stronger sense of duty in this Spider-Man and a lot more complexity surrounding the emotions between each character. Every character is linked to one another, either through school, family, or work, and they feed off of each other in both good and terrible ways. In this regard, The Amazing Spider-Man projects a more well-rounded and cohesive character association than previous portrayals, which leads to a stronger narrative and understanding of why the specific actions of Dr. Connors, Spider-Man, and Gwen and Officer Stacey are taking place. With the addition of very strong performances from Garfield, Stone, and Ifans, this was a great Spider-Man retelling that raises it beyond its mediocre technical creation of filmic space.
8 out of 10