The formula is the same: teenage boy gets bitten by a radioactive spider and his already complicated life gets even more complex. Yet the way in which the writers and director go about “The Amazing Spider-Man” is remarkable.
It’s as if they lived in a world where a Spider-Man movie didn’t already exist, a world where Tobey Maguire was just a racehorse jockey.
This new adaptation takes audiences away from the 2002 film version and erases their memory. Tobey who?
From the start of the 136-minute film, viewers are in for a better experience: no extensive credits. The pacing is impeccable. The story is given room to grow and breathe.
The introduction of the cast of characters is slow and deliberate. Peter Parker is a young boy playing hide-and-go-seek with his father and discovers someone has broken into his office. His parents leave and whisk him away to his aunt and uncle’s house.
The relationship between the boy and his new parents is more developed and the chemistry between them — played to perfection by Sally Field and Martin Sheen — is heartwarming.
Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
The story that unfolds is familiar, the major plot points from the first adaptation still there. A few things are missing. This Peter Parker seems to light up the screen more. Andrew Garfield is the real star here. He shines as the masked vigilante in the Spidey suit. Gone is Mary Jane. Emma Stone plays the new high school crush role of Gwen Stacy, daughter of New York police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary). And no Green Goblin here; Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Curt Connors, who turns into The Lizard.
The visuals for said Lizard, along with the 3-D, is very impressive. The Lizard looks frightful on screen. Spider-Man also flies around with a pragmatic realism — it’s not always a smooth ride. Webs don’t appear out of nowhere from his wrists, but from well-engineered bracelet devices. And all the action occurs with delightful scoring by James Horner.
This was late-movie producer Laura Ziskin’s last film. She would have been proud. Director Marc Webb, known for “(500) Days of Summer,” puts the emotion into the movie and the characters.
Comparing this “amazing” film to the 2002 adaptation, it is inevitable and ultimately refreshing. The 2012 iteration is surprisingly good. Ten years later, audiences are treated to an even better film, breaking the general reality that remakes can never quite live up to their predecessors.
Be sure to stay during the credits for a bonus scene. And note: this movie is not appropriate for young children.