Established May 2010.

Gordie: Do you think I'm weird?
Chris: Definitely.
Gordie: No man, seriously. Am I weird?
Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

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Thursday, July 5, 2012


Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary

As a little boy Peter Parker (Garfield) is sent to live with his sweet Uncle Ben (Sheen) and Aunt May (Field). After their house was broken into, his parents decided Peter would be safer living with them. Time passes and we catch up with a teenage Peter dealing with being the awkward scapegoat in high school. He gets bullied and tossed around. Lucky for him, Gwen Stacy (Stone) takes pity on him and a friendship is formed. One day when rummaging through the attic, Peter finds some of his dad's files and belongings and notices that he had been working with Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans) of Oscorp Industries. Dr. Connors has been working on a serum to help re-grow limbs and tissue using the genes from lizards in hopes to one day regrow his arm. Peter sneaks his way into Oscorp with a group of high school interns led by Gwen Stacy. At some point during his snooping around, Peter comes across a room full of spiders and one bites him in the back of the neck. He does not think much of it until the train ride home. He is awoken to find himself with super strength, quick reflexes, and a sticky touch.

Peter gets a little too cocky about his new abilities and decides to go after the bullies at school leading to a trip to the principal that Uncle Ben has to attend. Later that evening, they have an argument and Peter storms out of the house. Ben goes after him and tries to stop a thief on the loose. Peter sees Ben and watches him as he is shot and killed by the thief. Peter vows to go after the man that killed Uncle Ben attacking any man that resembles the character sketch given to him. In the meantime, Dr. Connors has used an algorithm given to him by Peter to complete his serum. He tests it out on himself to tragic results. Even though his missing arm has reformed, he later morphs into a giant man/lizard hybrid.

It was only five years ago when the last Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movie hit the big screen. Many people questioned the validity of doing a "reboot" or "reimagining" so soon after that. I guess it doesn't really matter as long as the story is good and the characters are believable. Director Marc Webb does a pretty decent job of making it his own movie without drawing too much from the original and feeling like a carbon copy. Were there aspects of it I missed? Sure. Unfortunately, you won't find J. Jonah Jameson in this one. The Amazing Spider-Man is more of an origins story. Peter Parker doesn't even don the Spider-Man suit until a good hour into the movie.

Garfield shines as Peter Parker. He is one of the big reasons this movie works so well. His Peter felt very real and humane. I felt like I knew people in life like his Peter. He is nerdy and full of attitude. One would be a little flawed after losing your parents and watching your uncle die. I never once thought of Maguire's Peter or tried to make comparisons. Sheen and Field are quite perfect as Uncle Ben and Aunt May. I always feel a little more at home whenever those two are on screen. There is always something so comforting about those actors that is perfect for these characters. Rhys Ifans is a decent actor, but I was never blown away by Dr. Curt Connors or The Lizard. I typically feel like I am wanting more out of a complete CGI villain. There are screenings of the movie in 3D. Like most 3D movies out there, it is not really needed. I don't believe the story or effects were more enhanced by the 3D. Save the couple of bucks and see it in 2D.

RATING: *** 1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)

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