The Amazing Spider-Man 2012 ★★★★½

Marc Webb’s first installment in the reincarnation of Spider-Man seems to be a bit overshadowed by the premiere of the final movie of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. However, The Amazing Spider-Man is an incredible movie nonetheless, and for fans of action who like to see a plot full of depth, personality, and a bit of comedy, it should not be missed.

The film is a restart of the Spider-Man series, which seems a bit odd since the series began just 10 years ago, but after 2007′s disaster (I think we all remember emo spidey), it makes sense. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) finds himself stuck in high school, where he struggles to fit in. This is where he meets Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), a girl who loves science just as much as he does, and eventually he gains his superpowers from a spider bite while he runs into her at a lab visit. However, while Parker is off fighting bad guys, his father’s former assistant, Dr. Connors (Rhys Ifans), experiments with medicine in hopes to grow back his lost arm, thus resulting in his becoming the film’s villain, The Lizard.

The Amazing Spider-Man captures Parker’s struggles through high school and his becoming of Spider-Man well, including his awkwardness, his struggles with his aunt, uncle, and school bully Flash, his interest in science (and hoping of figuring out what happened to his father), and most of all, his first love. The film does an impressive job of depicting Parker as a flawed superhero who sees his loved ones get in the way of his crime-fighting; this plus his everyday struggles makes him an easy relation for teenagers watching the movie. No, this is not a remake of the original 2002 film. There are a lot of similarities between the two films, but it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to imitate the 2002 movie in any way.

It’s hard to really break down this movie and find what makes it better than the original Spider-Man. But, in the end, it’s just a more likable movie. Not only is Garfield a better fit as the masked hero than Tobey Maguire, but as he glides across buildings and fights bad guys throughout the city, he tends to be quite the spectacle. The movie is full of laughs, from clever lines to awkward situations (especially a laugh-out-loud subway scene)- and Garfield does a fantastic job of acting the role of an awkward teenager. I also have to mention that for being 29, he plays his role extremely well. Stone is extremely attractive as a blonde – easily making her quite a sight on the big screen – and her teaming with Garfield is quite stunning. Their chemistry is vastly appealing, and considering that Webb directed the 2009 romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer, it’s also very realistic and relatable.

In addition to the plot and role playing aspect of the film being impressive, the action and picture is as well. Webb took the weak bits from the original and not only tweaked them, but made them a lot stronger. The film is sleek, dark, gritty, and in-your-face. While Parker fights The Lizard, he takes quite the pounding. But as the so-called “underdog” fights back, the movie becomes quite entertaining, leaving you on the edge of your seat and wondering what will happen next. You will be slapped in the face by the end of the film by the mix of teeming action, personality, and elemental surprise, and the resulting toss-up of emotional distress, love and loss, and a bit of comedy add to its sensationality, setting things up for what should be an exciting 2014 sequel.

It could be assumed earlier in the year that The Amazing Spider-Man was unfairly sandwiched between The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, which would end up squeezing the film dry and leaving it forgotten by the end of the year. But that’s not the case. Surprisingly, this is one of my favorite action movies of 2012 so far – in fact, it’s one of my overall favorites. Not only is The Amazing Spider-Man a great movie that’s worth every cent, but it even stands high above Sam Raimi’s 2002 blockbuster hit, and that’s really saying something.

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