Following the debut of a glowing four-star review that appeared on the web (no pun intended) for The Amazing Spider-Man, some official reviews from across the pond have arrived to mellow our expectations a tad. That’s right, while these early opinions may not be hinting at a superhero masterpiece they are still, for the most part, quite positive.
Even after the perpetually ill reception that Spider-Man 3 received (and continues to garner) the announcement of such a quick reboot raised eyebrows to put it lightly. But production went right ahead and when Sony finally debuted its trailers, most fans still remained with their butts firmly on the fence.
Since then, a flood of footage (not dissimilar to the volume offered by The Avengers) has finally seemed to connect (if not unequivocally) with audiences. The buzz is pretty high right now for the film and the last thing Marc Webb’s reboot needs is solid reviews to ensure success. I think Sony will have a hit on their hands no matter what the critics have to say.
You can read some excerpts from the reviews below, before The Amazing Spider-Man shoots into theaters July 3.
Be that as it may, Webb successfully treads a fine line between keeping the hardcore superhero-movie fans happy and injecting a dose of meaningful affect. Parker is generally reckoned to be the most “relatable” figure in the superhero canon, but the pastel-bright synthetics of the earlier movies did little to dispel the sense that the comic-book world could only construct its characters out of clunking great blocks of melodrama.
In re-engineering Parker into the introspective, uncertain male more typical of his previous film, Webb is aided by a terrific performance from Andrew Garfield, who brings a genial unflappability that allows him to negotiate the often-ludicrous demands of the superhero plotline. At the same time, Webb also shows an unarguable facility for the more traditional action elements of the story, and the 3D certainly helps: he pulls off some properly nauseating shots as Parker dives off skyscrapers, rescues kids from falling, and the like.
Ever since Twilight tipped offHollywoodto the spending power of girls and their mothers, a range of increasingly expensive films aimed at that audience has materialised. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before a superhero suited up with them in mind, although it remains to be seen how die-hard Spider-fans will react to their hero courting a different – some would say rival – demographic.
That’s not to say The Amazing Spider-Man is short on blockbuster testosterone, and the film’s second half offers more than enough bungee-swinging through Manhattan’s concrete canyons, immaculately rendered in vertiginous, silky-smooth 3D, to satisfy thrill-seekers of either sex. What’s refreshing is how Webb makes those action sequences count: with a plot that rests almost entirely on the romance between his two leads.
Twilight in spandex? Well, perhaps, although it’s this radically different approach to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s crimefighter, who celebrates his 50th birthday this year, that makes Sony Pictures’ reboot worthwhile. The Avengers fans have enough heroes already. What a thrill to see one fighting for another cause.
“The untold story,” gushed the hype. There’s only one story, shrugs someone in the film, accompanied by what sounds like back-pedalling: “Who am I?” So what is it? New story, or same-old repackaged? Both and neither, as it happens.
Swinging from fresh to faithful-to-source, Marc Webb’s reboot is a sparky, well-cast, often punchy Spidey spin… but it’s also Spider-Man Begins Again, struggling in places to assert its own identity.
“Untold story” claims hinge on Parker’s pursuit of the truth about his dad, but it diverts into turf better covered by Raimi, despite the wrestling den being deserted this time.
But Webb scores on action, surprisingly so given the lack of cross-species smackdowns in his rom-drama (500) Days Of Summer. True, Connors’ swing from good guy to grotesque is fudged a beat too fast for the Lizard to be a true tragic villain. Raimi might have made more of that and of the Lizard’s misdeeds: one bio-terror emission goes nowhere.
But even though the generic CGI monster sits awkwardly with a more “grounded” rethink, and even though Spidey’s homemade web-shooters won’t thrill anyone but the comic-book faithful, there’s a satisfyingly visceral thwack to the set-pieces.
The Evening Standard:
Shame. We finally get a British superhero, and he’s a bit boring. London-born Andrew Garfield has stepped into the spandex Spidey-suit for this premature reboot of the Marvel franchise.
Director Marc Webb aims for a new realism, stripping away the brio of Sam Raimi’s 2002 version with Tobey Maguire.
He also dispenses with much of the character and sass that always made this character fun. It’s notGarfield’s fault: he is a convincingly troubled, inarticulate Peter Parker, a springily athletic Spider-Man, and has awesome hair. His greatest enemy is the script. That, and the rather wearisome 3D.
Graced with great performances from Garfield and Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man is a rare comic-book flick that is better at examining relationships than superheroism. If it doesn’t approach the current benchmark of Avengers Assemble, it still delivers a different enough, enjoyable origin story to live comfortably alongside the Raimi era.