Ben Mather’s review:
A lot better than I was expecting! Marc Webb has crafted a really good first entry to the new series of Spider-Man films, and I'm excited to see where it goes.
Peter and Gwen's relationship is a high point, and considering it's from the director of (500) Days of Summer, for me one of the greatest films about love ever made, it's not surprising. Characters are fleshed out and vibrant, even peripheral characters like Flash Thompson have a bit more to them then in Raimi's film. The first half is a story we've all seen before, minus the parents bit, yet Webb manages to make it interesting again, and a lot more real feeling than in the first film. Rhys Ifans is excellent as Curt Connors, and Denis Leary is on good form as Captain Denis Leary. Martin Sheen actually seems like a real father figure too, with both good and bad things to say about Peter, rather than the Waltons like Uncle from Raimi's effort. There seems to be a lot of service to comic book fans too, replacing the biological web shooters of before with the mechanical ones we're used to, and Spidey dropping one-liners left, right and centre.
There are some bad points though, for me, Lizard makes a poor villain. It's all a bit Juggernaut, run round and smash things up rather than the brilliance of Green Goblin and Doc Ock. Connors is excellent, Lizard is poor. Also, there are some cheesy moments in there, namely the slam dunk and the football scene, although the cheese isn't enough to ruin anything.
Andrew Garfield though, wow. The scene on the bridge was a stand-out for me as to just how good he his in this dual role, and just how good he is in general. We've got a future master of his craft here, for sure.
I did notice there was a couple of scenes from the trailers missing though, one with the Coach asking if he plays football ("No, it's too violent") and one with Connors ("Do you think what happened to you was an accident Peter?"), so I'm guessing we're getting an extended version on DVD/BD in the future.