The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – Film Review

Only five years after the previous ‘Spider-Man’ franchise ended, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ attempts to be a fresh and slightly darker retelling of the superhero’s classic origin story, yet sadly falls pretty flat. Feeling too similar to the previous franchise as well as never really perfecting any of the interesting ideas the film introduces.

Focusing on the classic narrative of ‘Peter Parker’ being bitten by a genetically altered spider, he gains newfound spider-like powers and ventures out to solve the mystery of his parent’s mysterious death. Meanwhile encountering a menacing new threat in the dark streets of New York City.

Aside from the new focus on his lost parents, the story is far too similar to what we have seen before. Featuring all the classic scenes of ‘Peter’ beating up criminals, making his iconic costume (which now has an unpleasant redesign) and of course, witnessing his ‘Uncle Ben’s death. This can make the story feel very bland and predictable for the majority of it’s run-time, if the film was to come out many years after ‘Spider-Man 3’, then perhaps it wouldn’t have been as bad. But of course, Sony wanted to keep the rights to the Marvel character, and so had to rush a new remake out.

‘Peter Parker’ is this time portrayed by Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, Hacksaw Ridge), and overall I think he does a decent job here. While this version of the character isn’t super memorable, he does portray the character as a nervous and awkward yet still likeable teenager, despite looking a little too old for the character’s actual age. The rest of the cast are also fine, Emma Stone, Sally Field and Rhys Ifans all do a decent job, but are never really given anything interesting to do within the story.

The writing however isn’t up to par here, as the film is full of cheesy lines and clichĂ© moments throughout. My main issue with the film however, is the badly written villain: ‘The Lizard’. As his motivations from start-to-finish are very messy, combining this with his convoluted evil plan and ugly appearance. The film really portrays this classic comic book villain in a bad light for his new found cinema audience.

The action scenes in the film is once again nothing really incredible of note, however they are entertaining for what they are. My particular favourite here being the action scene in the high-school, as this scene utilizes the location very well and contains various small quips and visual gags similar to classic ‘Spider-Man’ comics and cartoons. It’s also here when we get a great look at many different CGI effects, and I feel they don’t look too bad overall.

The cinematography by John Schwartzman is nothing outstanding, but it does stay at a decent level throughout the film. However, this is easily redeemed by the great chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, with Emma portraying ‘Gwen Stacey’ (‘Peter Parker’s first love interest), all of their scenes together are very funny and very charming. These scenes really reminded me of director Mark Webb’s other film: ‘(500) Days of Summer’.

The original score by James Horner is again nothing amazing, but it does fit the film’s style. Feeling like a classic superhero score, mixed with some more emotional sounding elements, this score equals to a decently varied soundtrack in the end. The film in total seems to have many different aspects I enjoy, but none of them ever seem to pass the level of ‘decent’ or ‘good’. Which is a real shame, as I think this director and cast have some great potential. But this simply wasn’t the film for it.

Although I initially gave this film a lower rating, the actual filmmaking on display here isn’t terrible, and what the film does well such as: the great chemistry between the lead actors, ‘Spider-Man’s P.O.V. shots and the occasional entertaining action scene, I simply can’t ignore. Overall a 5/10, check this one out if you’re a huge fan of the character. If not though, your not missing out on anything.

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