Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The Lizard. What… The Vulture was busy that week? Kraven the Hunter’s alarm clock didn’t go off? I’m not saying that Dr. Curt Connors and the Lizard are lame villains in the Spider-Man universe, but I’m thinking if one is going to reboot Spider-man and all, with this new movie ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, might as well go ahead and reboot the Green Goblin as well, though I’m sure he’s in the future plans. Now if it were up to me I would’ve suggested a fourth Spider-Man movie as opposed to ‘Spider-Man I’ re-imagined, but it’s not up to me so we’ll just watch what the people in charge gives us.

In this new Spider-Man universe we get a little back story on Peter Parker’s parents, his old man Richard (Campbell Scott) being some kind of super geneticists working at Oscorp, and in possession of some vital research that he refuses to give up, which we believe ultimately got him and his wife killed. As a result of this we know Peter (Andrew Garfield) was sent to live with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), and at present is now a picked on high school senior with an interest in photography and has his eye on the pretty girl Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) who looks to be a little above his pay grade.

The issue that’s been dogging Peter his entire young life is what really happened to his parents and what exactly was his father involved in. One evening Peter finds his father’s old research and learns about his father’s colleague Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) and figures Dr. Connors must have the answers the he seeks. He cons his way into Oscorp, impresses Connors with his knowledge, note that Gwen is also there since Dr. Connors is her mentor, then Peter sneaks off, goes into some places he probably shouldn’t, walks into a room with a bunch a genetically enhanced spiders, starts touching stuff… even though he’s supposed to be a genius… and the next thing you know he gets bit. That’s pretty much all she wrote for Peter Parker as we knew him.

This spider bite sets in motion a series of cataclysmic events in Peter’s life, not the least of which is that he now has awesome super powers. It also makes him a little full of himself, but to be honest with you, he kind of already was that way before he had super powers. This leads Uncle Ben to deliver a variation of the Great Power / Great Responsibility speech and then Uncle Ben proceeds towards his destiny. A little grief here, some self pity there and then the stark realization that what New York City needs a skinny kid vigilante with super powers in a tight blue and red costume… and now the real fun starts.

Regardless of all of that, Peter still needs answers as to what has happened to him, he thinks the one-armed Dr. Connors has the answers but Connors is only feeling pressure from Oscorp to finish his research. Research that Peter Parker has jump started for him. Just so you know, Dr. Connors really misses that right arm of his and he thinks he can regenerate it with his new research. And he does. Kind of. By turning into a giant menacing, murderous lizard. A lizard that wants to turn everybody in the world into Lizard’s just like him. He’s crazy. Spider-Man can’t let this happen. It’s his responsibility. Seriously, he’s responsible for all of this.

Director Marc Webb’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ is a good movie and all, I mean the action is crisp, scintillating and well realized, Garfield and Stone were fine as Peter and Gwen, The Lizard wasn’t nearly the lame villain as I feared he’d be… but there was this disconnect between my eyeballs and the movie screen which kept me from embracing, or more accurately getting ‘involved’ in this movie. It was just pretty images moving across a big screen, and I’m not sure why that was with me and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’.

I don’t think it was the retooling of the story since this version did have some welcome inclusions over Sam Raimi’s decade old original, such as Spider-Man’s mechanical webshooters because those organic ones always struck me as kind of icky. Peter Parker’s first girlfriend should always be Gwen Stacy, despite what may or may not happen to Gwen in the future, and Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is closer to the sadsack nature that is the comic book Peter Parker because nothing ever turns out right for this kid. The other changes didn’t bother me all that much, and the filmmakers are trying to go in another direction to distance this from the other movies, and since I’m no Spider-Man purist it wasn’t really a concern. I also liked the Cloud creating toxin dispersal unit that Dr. Connors showed Peter early in the movie. Theoretically it can be used to rain cures on people. Or death. Whichever. Somebody at Oscorp with some sense thought it was a bad idea… you think? So they shut it down, but left it completely intact. I wonder is that device going to show up again later on in this movie?

But the fact remains, at least for me personally, that movie was just ‘okay’. Some of this blasé on my part could be an indication of just age, saying the younger you are the more you might enjoy this movie. This isn’t to say that Spider-Man is an immature movie but my sixteen year old son, who’s pretty mature for his age, thought the movie was great. The best ‘Spider-Man’ yet and he can’t wait for the next one. He also made it a point to let me know that his feelings about this movie had nothing to do with the fact that Emma Stone is in it, who he has a completely unrealistic, semi-unnatural, unrequited crush on. But something in this movie clicked with the kid that didn’t click with me. Another friend whose son is in his mid twenties also enjoyed the movie immensely, but made the comment that this was ‘Spider-Man’ with a slant towards the ‘Twilight’ generation. I’ve never seen ‘Twilight’ so I can neither confirm nor deny that statement, but that’s what he said.

The Amazing Spider-Man’ is a good movie. Really. I just wished I liked it as much as the kid that was sitting next to me.

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