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 reboot 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 itself.

Focusing on the standard 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, a menacing new threat emerges 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 due to Sony wanting to keep the rights to the Marvel character, a new remake had to be rushed 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. As while this version of the character isn’t incredibly 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 of Emma Stone, Sally Field and Rhys Ifans also all do a decent job within the film, but are never really given anything interesting to do when it comes to the story.

The cinematography by John Schwartzman is nothing outstanding, as aside from the unique P.O.V. shots from ‘Spider-Man’s perspective, the cinematography mostly just stays at a decent level throughout the film. However, this is easily redeemed by one of the best elements of the film for me, the great chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. As Emma Stone portrays: ‘Gwen Stacey’ (‘Peter Parker’s first love interest) all of their scenes together are very funny and charming, reminding me very heavily of director Mark Webb’s first film: ‘(500) Days of Summer’.

The original score by James Horner is once again nothing amazing, but it does fit the film’s style. Feeling like a classic superhero score, mixed with some more emotional elements, equalling to a pretty varied but not very memorable soundtrack. The majority of the film could be described in this way however, as many aspects of the film never seem to pass the level of ‘decent’. 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.

The writing is definitely one of the weakest elements of the film for me, as the film is full of cheesy lines and cliché moments throughout the story. My main issue with the film however, is the film’s antagonist: ‘The Lizard’. As his motivation, awful appearance and general lack of an intimidating presence really portray this classic comic book antagonist in a bad light.

The action scenes within the film are nothing really incredible of note, as although they are decently entertaining, none of them ever manage to become as memorable as anything from the original ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy. My personal favourite most likely being the action scene set in ‘Peter’s high-school, as the scene utilizes the location very well. It’s also here when we get a great look at the various different CGI effects in bright lighting, and I feel overall they look decent.

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: great chemistry between the lead cast, ‘Spider-Man’s spectacular P.O.V. shots and the occasional entertaining action scene, I simply can’t ignore. Overall, a 5/10, maybe check this one out if you’re a huge fan of the character, if not, you’re not missing out on much.

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