Tag Archive | "Marc Webb"

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Posted on 02 May 2014 by Rich Drees

theamazingspiderman2posterIf you like director Marc Webb’s 2012 reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man, than you will probably find much to enjoy in the sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Webb and leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are back, and since the box office seemed to deem their formula a winning one, they are giving us more of the same. However, if you were like me and found the last film a bit of a mixed bag, than I am afraid that I can’t report much of an improvement here.

It has been sometime since Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), aka Spider-Man, saved Manhattan from the machinations of the Lizard, although he is still haunted by the image of his girlfriend’s father (Dennis Leary) who made Peter promise to keep his daughter Gwen (Emma Stone), Peter’s girlfriend, out of his dangerous superhero life before he died. Peter’s guilt over not being able to keep that promise is definitely putting a strain on their relationship. Meanwhile, nebbishy OsCorp electrical engineer Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) has an accident involving some genetically modified electric eels and soon finds himself with the ability to control electricity and shoot it from his hands. Meanwhile, Peter continues to search into the mystery of his parents’ deaths when he was a child and discovers a link back to the technologically cutting-edge OsCorp.

Garfield and Stone have a great chemistry, a continuation from the first film and one which holds together what it can of the film here. Whenever the two are on screen together, even when the script is trying to force their characters apart, there is some real energy and crackle. But when they’re apart the film flounders. Even when Webb tries to inject some visual panache with a couple of dutch angles that only windup recalling director Sam Raimi’s more visual energetic shooting style from the first Spider-Man trilogy of films.

The film’s biggest problem, though, is the inclusion of the classic comic character Harry Osbourne. The son of industrialist Norman Osbourne, the owner of OsCorp, the source of all things evil in the rebooted franchise, Harry and Peter are old friends whose relationship in the comics gets complicated by the fact that Norman is the Green Goblin, one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. Harry later takes up the family tradition of being a supervillain. The film here jettisons much of that, streamlining things a bit. Pete and Harry are still friends, though they haven’t seen each other for a decade or so as Norman had shipped his son off to boarding school. The movie skips over Norman’s tenure as Green Goblin and lets Harry pick up the mantle of that villain himself. But in that rush to get to a seminal Spider-Man moment that serves as the climax of the film’s third act, it shortchanges any actual development between Harry and Peter, which leads to a surfeit of tension and drama between their showdown at the film’s climax.

AmazingSpiderMan2Complicating this is the fact that while he has been more engaging in other films, as Harry, Dane DeHaan is a charisma-less void. Outside of his first interaction with Garfield as the two friends are reunited following the death of Norman, DeHaan’s presence here on the screen exhibits nothing that suggests he’s acting in the same film as everyone else and that the only direction he was giving was to do an approximate impersonation of Leonardo DiCaprio from ten years ago.

Another problem with the film’s ending is that everything stops for a five-to-ten minute segment that serves no purpose for the film at hand as it does to set up the future spin-offs and sequels that Sony has announced that they are planning on making. While other film franchises are also intentionally seeding their current releases with teases for their upcoming planned sequels, they are being done more or less organically, with a success rate dependent on each film series. Here, however, it is done rather clunkily and hamfistedly, calling attention to the fact that, box office willing, we’re going to be getting over the next few years.

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Marc Webb On AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 4: “…After The Third Movie, It’ll Be The Time To Find Something Else.”

Posted on 18 March 2014 by William Gatevackes

Marc Webb-AES-074713With Amazing Spider-Man 2 months away, you might think it’s too soon to start talking about the fourth installment. However, when the franchise’s director says he won’t be directing Amazing Spider-Man 4, how can you not talk about it?

The Daily Beast caught up with director Marc Webb at South by Southwest and did an interview with him that covered his entire career. Obviously, his work on the Spider-Man reboot came up, and the topic allowed Webb to put in his official notice.

Webb, who has gone on record before as stating his Spider-Man was always envisioned as a trilogy, stated that if there is an Amazing Spider-Man 4, that he will not be a director for it.

And you’re signed on to direct the third Amazing Spider-Man as well. Will that be it for you?

I’d like to be involved as a consultant, and I’ve already talked to these guys about it, but in terms of directing it, that will close out my tenure. I’ve had so much fun doing it, but after the third movie, it’ll be the time to find something else.

Considering that Sony wants a Spidey themed film each and every year, this cannot be taken by them as good news. Being that the Venom and Sinister Six movies presumably set in the reboot mythology will just be getting started, one assumes that Sony will be looking for a replacement for Webb instead of starting all over from scratch. As to who will replace him, and if Webb is definitely back for Amazing Spider-Man 3, is something to consider as we go forward with the reboot franchise.

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Posted on 20 December 2013 by William Gatevackes

In a multi-part series, Comic Book Film Editor William Gatevackes will be tracing the history of comic book movies from the earliest days of the film serials to today’s big blockbusters and beyond. Along with the history lesson, Bill will be covering some of the most prominent comic book films over the years and why they were so special. Today, the Spider-Man franchise starts anew.

Marc Webb-AES-074713The Raimi era was over and Sony needed a new director to take over the reins. The found him in a director with only one film credit to his name, and that was a quirky romantic comedy.

Outside of a handful of music videos, the only credit on Marc Webb’s resume was 2009’s (500) Days of Summer. That film made a splash, but it’s not the kind of film you’d expect would inspire confidence in directing action films.

But Webb got the job nonetheless and began the process of building a script around a screenplay written by Alvin Sargent, James Vanderbilt, and Steve Cloves. The Lizard would be the main villain, although two other villains—Proto-Goblin and Big Wheel were also considered. Gwen Stacy would be the romantic interest instead of Mary Jane Watson in this go around.

Webb began to looking for a cast for his movie. For the teenage Peter, he chose British actor Andrew Garfield. Garfield was 27 at the time he was cast, making him older than Tobey Maguire when he was cast as Peter Parker. Emma Stone was chosen for Gwen Stacy, with Rhys Ifans playing Curt Connors/the Lizard, and Martin Sheen and Sally Field playing Peter’s Uncle Ben and Aunt May.

Amazing_Spider-Man_theatrical_poster_02The first half of the film was a rehash of the origin and it was a bear to get through. It was like someone was sitting with a clipboard and a check list and just going through the beats needed. “Okay, this is how he gets bitten by the spider, this is what we are going to use instead of the wrestling scene, here’s the discovery that he has powers…”

But I think a lot of the changes were good, if not an improvement on the original. Peter Parker in this one wasn’t a put-upon loser, he was a kid who never got over being abandoned by his parents. He was an outcast because he was damaged, not because he was a nerd. This rose criticisms of him being “too emo.” Well, A) I like emo music and B)it makes the character more believable in my eyes.

Giving Peter his advanced aptitude in science back was also a great step. Yes, he makes his own web-shooters again after Raimi took that iconic part of the comics away from him because he thought it was unbelievable. However, I always considered it an important part of the character, and was glad to see it back.

The-Amazing-Spider-ManPeter being good at science also made the romance more believable this time around. Of course, that was due to the filmmakers turning Gwen into a science prodigy (how’s that for believability, huh Raimi?). Both the both character’s love of science gave them a common interest, which is more than Peter and Mary Jane had in the first set of films. Add to this the fact that Peter is a good man who sticks up for those weaker than him, much like Gwen’s police captain father, and you have another level of attraction.

The film made $752,216,557 worldwide, which was the least of all the Spider-Man films but still good enough for a sequel. Or two. Or three. Sony not only announced that there would be The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but also an Amazing Spider-Man 3 & 4 as well.

amazing_spiderman_two_ver4_xlgJames Vanderbilt was back to write the film, and his screen play was rewritten by Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman.  After a brief period of uncertainty about his return, director Marc Webb signed on, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were contracted for two more films.

The first sequel will feature Jamie Foxx as an OsCorp employee who is transform into the supervillain Electro. It will also feature Paul Giamatti as a Russian mobster in an OsCorp armored suit in a modern take on the Spidey villain, the Rhino. Dale DeHaan will play Harry Osborn, and it appears that he will spend some time as the Green Goblin. There will also be references to the Vulture and Doctor Octopus in the film as well. It will be a very busy film from a bad guy perspective.

movies-the-amazing-spider-man-2-filming-7Who will not be in the film is Shailine Woodley. The actress was cast as Mary Jane Watson and spent week filming the role before it was revealed that the part was cut from the final film. Rumor had it that negative Internet reaction about her looks might have played a part in the cut, and that the part will be recast for The Amazing Spider-Man 3. I spoke about that here, and my hope is that we’ll see Mary Jane, with Woodley playing her, in the next sequel.

In addition to the sequels to the main film, Sony also announced that it would be producing films on The Sinister Six and Venom as they try to spin off the franchise into a shared universe, which is so popular these days.

All in all, I think this is betting a lot on a franchise that hasn’t really proven itself as of yet. But Spider-Man is such an iconic character that even if this doesn’t work, more films will be made starring him. He has come a long way from his early days as a horror film misinterpretation.

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THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 4 Might Be Without Andrew Garfield and Marc Webb

Posted on 10 December 2013 by William Gatevackes

GarfieldSpiderManWe know there will be The Amazing Spider-Man 4. Sony has announced it, and the already have a date for it–May 4,2018. But it appears that the studio failed to discuss things with director Marc Webb and start Andrew Garfield.

In a promotional stop for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Webb, Garfield and the rest of the main cast talked to Yahoo! Movies UK & Ireland (the film will be released in the UK and Ireland there on April 18, 2014, several weeks before its May 2,2014 release date). And what was revealed puts the involvement of Webb and Garfield for the third sequel in doubt.

When asked about The Amazing Spider-Man 3 & 4, Webb had this to say:

We did think about this movie, from the very beginning, these movies as a series of movies, as a trilogy, to be totally frank.

And when asked the same question, Garfield added:

I mean I’m under contract for another one after this… as far as a fourth one? That’s not anything to do with me.

Okay, before we go into over reacting, neither said that they WOULDN’T come back for The Amazing Spider-Man 4. At the very least, what they are saying that when they all signed on to do this, it was for a trilogy.

However, what both Webb and Garfield could also be saying is that they are done after The Amazing Spider-Man 3. And that could mean a lot of things. It could mean that they’ll need to have bags of money thrown at them to come back. Or it could mean that they both will need to be replaced (and let me just add that Garfield would be a 35-year-old man playing a teenager when this film hits theaters, so recasting younger might not be a bad idea). Or it could mean that the third sequel is that spin-off film Amy Pascal was talking about. Or it could mean that the franchise will be undergoing its second reboot in ten years.

Let’s keep an eye on it and see what happens.

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Will AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 4 Include More Heroes?

Posted on 24 July 2013 by William Gatevackes

alg_spider-man_garfieldMarvel’s success with bring its own characters to the screen through spin-offs and interconnected stories has inspired the rights owners of Marvel characters other than Marvel Studios to mine their rights for all their worth. We have seen Fox create two eras of X-Men to work with, a spin-off Wolverine franchise and will so add X-Force to its mutant film roster, and now it looks like Sony will be doing the same with its Spider-Man franchise.

As part of the San Diego Comic-Con promotional barrage for Amazing Spider-Man 2, director Marc Webb spoke with CraveOnline. The conversation turned to Amazing Spider-Man 4 (yes, the second one has yet to come out and they are already talking about a third sequel). What Webb said was quite interesting:

There you go. In that case, you can do no wrong. We always expect a trilogy from movies now. It’s a little arbitrary but what are you gonna do, and yet, you announce that 2 is coming out, and then the release date for 3 and then a little later you said, “Oh yeah, and we’re doing 4.” 

Well, I think this was conceived of as a trilogy so there was a defined architecture to the story we were telling and we had sort of a rough outline of what was going to happen. I think [for] the fourth movie, what we’ve discovered is there are so many ancillary characters, that have enormous, cinematic potential that there may be other ways to exploit those characters, in a way that is exciting and fun and worthwhile. It might not just be a Spider-Man movie.
Interesting. Yeah, because that’s the thing. We haven’t really introduced any other heroes in the Spider-Man universe, ever. 

You know, there was kind of the heroic Green Goblin but that was a footnote, and you do seem very interested in the whole world of Spider-Man and not just his immediacy of influence.

Yeah, exactly. I think there’s… You know, what was fun about the comics is that there’s an entire sort of encyclopedia of characters and stories and histories and nuances and idiosyncrasies and off-shoots. I think that that is something that seems to be really successful and has a lot of potential so it’s sort of, as yet, undefined, but intentionally so.

So, it looks like Webb will be along for the ride for ASM 4 (it was touch and go if he’d even be back for this film) and the film will be introducing more heroes into the mix.

While the Spider-Man comic mythos is not as jam-packed with superhero characters as the X-Men universe is, there have been a number of heroes that got their start in a Spider-Man comic.  There have been villains that became heroes such as Sandman and Venom (a number of various incarnations of Venom as a matter of fact), anti-heroes such as Cardiac, Solo, and Silver Sable. And allies such as the Black Cat and Madame Web.

Judging by Webb’s words, it looks like whatever hero is introduced into the franchise will be done with the eye on a spin-off film.

Unfortunately, three of Spider-Man’s biggest allies from the comic books–Morbius, Cloak & Dagger, and the Punisher, will not be in that movie. While all three debut in a Spider-Man comic book, the rights to all three are owned by Marvel.

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First Footage Of Jamie Foxx As AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2’s Electro

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Rich Drees


When set photos of Jamie Foxx as Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 started appearing, I had some misapprehension as to what direction director Marc Webb was going with the character. The blue makeup caked onto Foxx’s face certainly didn’t inspire any confidence although it did suggest that there would be more added to the character’s look in post-production.

In advance of their presentation at the San Diego Comic Con on Saturday, Sony Pictures has released this short teaser video that culminates in our first true look at Electro in motion. I like the flashes of electricity underneath his semi-translucent skin. It certainly is a better idea than trying to replicate the character’s green and yellow comics costume.

Via Coming Soon.

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Sony Locks Dates For AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3 And 4

Posted on 17 June 2013 by Rich Drees


We’re still 11 months away from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swinging its way into theaters, but Sony pictures is already banking that we will want to see more of their friendly, neighborhood wallcrawler and have announced dates for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 4. Looking to make a Spider-Man movie a biannual event, Part 3 will be in theaters on June 10, 2016 with Part 4 following on May 4, 2018.

It makes sense that the studio would want to lay claim to their dates this far in advance. Marvel Studios late last week already announced two release dates for Phase 3 of their interconnected superhero franchises in May of 2016 and 2017 and Disney plans to be in full swing with getting a new Star Wars film out once a year by that time.

Announcing a Part 3 and 4 also indicates that Sony presumably has franchise star Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and director Marc Webb contractually obligated for the films, with a sequel option probably a part of the deal when they signed on for the first film. It would certainly save Sony the headaches that they went through in trying to bring back director Sam Raimi and the cast from their original Spider-Man trilogy for a fourth installment back in 2009-2010.

Last summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man sold a bit over $750 million in tickets, motivating Sony to put a sequel on the fast track for May 2014. Part of the big draw of that film was the layering in of some mystery elements to Peter Parker’s origins as Spider-Man, some of which remained unanswered. Depending on what they have in store story-wise for next summer’s sequel, Webb and company now know that they have two more films over which they can spin out their story.

Here’s the press release from Sony –

CULVER CITY, Calif., June 17, 2013 – With Sony Pictures Entertainment now in production in New York on The Amazing Spider-Man™ 2, slated for release on May 2, 2014, the studio is planting its flag on two future release dates for one of the most successful franchises in studio history, it was announced today by Jeff Blake, Chairman, Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for Sony Pictures. The next two films in the story of Peter Parker will be released on June 10, 2016, and on May 4, 2018, respectively.

Commenting on the announcement, Blake said, “Spider-Man is our most important, most successful, and most beloved franchise, so we’re thrilled that we are in a position to lock in these prime release dates over the next five years.”

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner, with a previous draft by James Vanderbilt, and based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are the producers. The executive producers are E. Bennett Walsh, Stan Lee, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci.

The Amazing Spider-Man took in over $750 million at the worldwide box office last year.

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Jamie Foxx Will Play The Villain Electro IN AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

Posted on 01 November 2012 by Rich Drees

Peter Parker will be squaring of against the villain Electro in Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 and filling out the bad guy’s costume will be Jamie Foxx.

Variety is reporting that the actor is in negotiations for the role. This was confirmed by the actor who tweeted earlier today –

Electro is an old school Spidey villain who first appeared back in The Amazing Spider-Man #9 in February 1964. After being struck by lightening, Max Dillon discovered that he could shoot electricity from his hands and embarked upon a crime spree that was ultimately stopped by Spider-Man. The villain has been a regular member of the wallcrawler’s stable of villains virtually ever since.

It shouldn’t come as much of a shock, forgive the pun, that Electro is the villain. In the first film’s mid-credits tag scene a mysterious, cloaked-in-shadows man approached that film’s villain Dr. Curt Connors, aka the Lizard, in his prison cell for some discussion about Peter Parker’s past. Based on the fact that the mysterious person appeared at one point to have some lightening surrounding him, many concluded that he could possibly be Electro.

This will mark the character’s first appearance in a Spider-Man film although he almost made it to the big screen twice before. The first time was back in the late `90s when James Cameron was developing the property. The second time was when Sam Raimi, director of the last Spider-Man trilogy of films which starred Toby Maguire, was developing a fourth film.

Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb is set to return to the franchise as are stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Gwen Stacey. Shailene Woodley is in talks to join the cast as Peter’s future love interest Mary Jane Parker.

The film is set for a May 2, 2014 release.

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Posted on 03 July 2012 by William Gatevackes

FBOL Editor-in-Chief Rich Drees posted his review of this film yesterday, and he’s already been taken to task in the comments over it. Well, as much as I hate to take him to task again, I will, albeit, hopefully, in a more professional manner. Because I liked the movie far more than he did.

I agree with Rich that it’s nigh impossible to look at this film without comparing it to 2000’s Spider-Man, because like Sam Raimi’s film, it is an origin story that takes several beats from the comic book origin. Yes, you’ll have the scene where Peter Parker get bitten by a spider. You’ll get the killing of Uncle Ben, you’ll get the costume creating montage. And after each of these moments, you’ll be taken back to the original Raimi film. Some moments may compare favorably, some may not, your mileage may vary.

But once you get past the origin part of the story, where the similarities seem the strongest, this film begins to go its own way. This version of Spider-Man is more grounded in reality, or as close to reality any movie featuring a mutated seven-foot lizard man can get. And it is also a modernized version of Spider-Man as well. Raimi’s Spider-Man had an ageless quality to him, that with a small change of set dressing Tobey Maguire’s version of the character could have been from the 1950s or 1960s as much as he was from the 2000s. Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is set in the now, a world of cell phones and You Tube and skateboards. Neither version of better than the other, in my opinion, but both are valid takes on the iconic character.

I think that Rich missed a lot of the subtlety of the characterization of Peter Parker, because if he didn’t, I’m sure that a lot of his complaints about the film would have been answered. Peter Parker, as brilliantly played by Andrew Garfield, is a young man who never knows the right thing to do. This causes him to hem and haw while asking out a girl who is throwing herself at him. It also causes him to believe that humiliating the bully who humiliated him is the best course of action. With this as a prologue, his desire to hunt down the man who killed his uncle seems completely believable. It’s what Peter, blinded by grief and anger, thinks would be the best way to make amends for, and to relieve his guilt over, inadvertently causing his uncle’s death.

While it is true that the death of Uncle Ben was used as the instigator of Spider-Man’s using his powers for unselfish means in both the comics and the Raimi films, it wouldn’t work here with the characterization up to that point and, trying to avoid spoilers, the way this movie changes the death of Uncle Ben. The scene where Peter finally realizes the effect of his uncle’s words about taking responsibility for his actions comes later during what I will call the “bridge scene,” the point of which Rich obviously either missed or  didn’t give proper emphasis to.

Once again, to avoid spoilers, I’ll simply say it’s where the Lizard makes his first appearance and Spidey saves a bunch of lives (facts which the trailer spoiled). It’s here where Peter learns that with great power comes with great responsibility. It’s here where he learns that he is the only person qualified to take on this menace (and barely qualified at that) and that if he doesn’t take action, many, many people will die. Uncle Ben’s words finally sink in. It’s is here where Peter’s story arc curves and he, as a character, changes and grows. And this new sense of responsibility carries through to the end of the film.

The film is full of deep emotional resonance, inspired directing by Marc Webb, finely crafted scenes (the dinner scene where Peter meets Gwen Stacy’s family is especially sharp and proves that Denis Leary is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood), and subtle moments that make for an enjoyable film. The way they treat Gwen Stacy is especially refreshing. With a stunning acting performance from Emma Stone, who is quickly becoming the greatest actress of her generation, Gwen is not the superhero film stereotype of “The Girlfriend In Peril.” She is an equal, if not a superior, to Peter in many ways. And while the film places her in jeopardy at times, it’s not for a stupid reasons, but for heroic acts and always with her knowing the dangers of her actions.

Comic fans should appreciate the film’s interpretations of George Stacy and Flash Thompson, which, while not carbon copies of their comic book inspirations, captured the spirit of them well enough to please a long time Spidey fan like me. And the film’s obligatory Stan Lee cameo is one of his funniest yet.

This is not to say the film is a perfect film. It’s not. There are a number of bad plot contrivances such as mind-numbing coincidences (Who is the guide for the tour of Connor’s lab? Why Gwen Stacy of course! And naturally the secret formula Peter’s dad left behind in an old briefcase would be the formula Connors needed to finish his work!) and glaring gaps of logic (in addition to the Internet search thing Rich mentioned, Peter has his secret identity spoiled by leaving behind his camera, complete with a “Property of Peter Parker” placard at a battle scene. Why didn’t he also leave a class schedule and a list of his fears along with it?).  But these are but blips on the radar for an otherwise enjoyable film.

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Posted on 02 July 2012 by Rich Drees

If you liked the part in Spider-Man 3 when Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker got all moody and emo, then you’re going to love Andrew Garfield’s interpretation of the character in the franchise reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.

Here we have a high school Peter Parker who has abandonment issues over the deaths of his parents and oft times takes them out on his loving Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). And while his time spent underneath a mask as Manhattan’s swinging superhero is often seen as a chance for Peter to let his hair down so to speak and have some fun, this version of Spider-Man has more of a single-minded mission. And best (or worst) of all, we can count on this portrayal continuing into at least the next installment of the franchise as none of these character issues are really resolved. It is as if director Marx Webb doesn’t realize that we already have a grim and gritty comic book film this month in the form of Christopher Nolan’s upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.

Peter Parker is not your typical teen. While extraordinarily smart, he is having trouble fitting in at school, which is surprising considering that he goes to Midtown Science High School which sounds like it would be an environment rich with like-minded teens. But Peter keeps himself isolated, still hurting from the death of his parents a decade earlier. When his Uncle Ben finds an old briefcase of his father’s, Peter starts to investigate the events surrounding his parents’ deaths. The trail leads him to OsCorp and Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a former colleague of Peter’s father. Connors is researching how animal genetics could help improve humans. While snooping around Connor’s lab, Peter is bitten by a spider and soon finds himself with enhanced strength and the ability to crawl up walls. But when Connors turns his research on himself, he finds himself transformed into a seven-foot-tall half-human, half-lizard monster. Following the death of his uncle at the hands and gun of a petty thief, Peter starts using his powers to try and catch the killer only to become a target of the New York City police.

That description makes the film seem much more densely plotted than it actually is. Some storylines are introduced only to be abandoned. The mystery of Peter’s parents is only there to lead him to Connors after which it is conveniently forgotten until the mid-credits button scene in which the filmmakers suddenly remember that this particular thread is still unresolved and make a quick promise to possibly return to the issue in a sequel. Likewise, a plotline involving an OsCorp executive demanding that Connors escalate his work to human trials exists only to force the character to test the serum on himself so he would turn into the villain of the piece.

While I will get to some of the film’s flaws, I did want to address a few of the things that it got right. First off, the teenage awkwardness between Peter and his high school crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) feels spot on. The portrayal of Connors/The Lizard as an ersatz Jekyll and Hyde works well enough to make you wish that the movie spent more time on it. A sequence at the beginning of the film’s climax where New Yorkers rally to help Spider-Man delivers perhaps the film’s most emotional moment.

I will admit that it is hard not to compare this new iteration of the Spider-Man story to the director Sam Raimi’s trilogy that has come before. Not just because Raimi’s films are still in the relatively recent past but because their popularity have cemented a certain version of the character in the public’s imagination. Webb’s new reinvention of the Spider-Man mythos almost seems to court such comparisons though and when examining them we can find some to be problematic.

Among comic book fans, one of the most controversial aspects of Raimi’s films was the change of Spider-Man’s webshooters being an invention of Peter’s to yet another change in his body brought about by that radioactive spider bite. Amazing Spider-Man wants to emphasize Peter’s boy genius side by returning to the idea that he built his webshooters, but then proceeds to undercut it by having the actual web fluid be something he stole from OsCorp.

I also found it hard to believe that while Peter has often wondered about his parents, it was not until the discovery of his father’s attaché case that he decided to start actively trying to find out about them. Credulity is further strained when we see how much information was obtained by a relatively simple internet search. If Peter’s so smart how is it he never thought to do a simple search engine query?

But the biggest wrong note that the film hits is how it treats Peter’s reaction to his Uncle Ben’s death. This is the moment where Peter embraces the Spider-Man story’s well-known theme of great power bringing great responsibility. Instead, this film uses that moment to turn Peter into a vigilante, only stopping crimes being committed by men who match the description of his uncle’s killer.

And even by the end of this new film, Peter has not embraced the responsibility of his powers. This is a point that is firmly driven home in the film’s very last line of dialogue before the credits begin rolling. Peter may have changed physically over the course of the film, thanks to him receiving his powers, but he still seems to be the same self-absorbed kid he was at the start of the film with no emotional growth or maturity. This leaves us with the true meat of Peter’s origin to be stretched out over a succession of sequel films and that feels like a decision made more in a boardroom than anywhere else in the creative process.

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