The Amazing Spider-ManLess than a decade after the first live-action Spider-Man film swung into theaters, Columbia Pictures rebooted the franchise with director Marc Webb at its helm. In this latest version, Webb spins a somewhat more “amazing” yarn than the previous films.

The Amazing Spider-ManLess than a decade after the first live-action Spider-Man film swung into theaters, Columbia Pictures rebooted the franchise with director Marc Webb at its helm. In this latest version, Webb spins a somewhat more “amazing” yarn than the previous films.

For those who are unfamiliar with the story (or need a refresher), the Spider-Man comic book series is about Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield in this film) who is imbued with spider-like abilities after being bitten by a radioactive spider in a laboratory. Parker becomes motivated to use those powers to fight crime after a thief he chooses to let flee kills his uncle Ben.

In the previous film, Parker faced off against the Green Goblin, the villainous alter ego of Norman Osborn who founded the New York-based weapons manufacturer OsCorp Industries. The villain of this film remains on the grounds of OsCorp, a geneticist named Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) who, after an experiment gone awry, shifts into a giant green lizard.  Suspecting that Connors was involved with his father’s disappearance, Parker investigates Connors’ work and stumbles upon his plan to turn humans into a genetically altered species.

Like most comic book adaptations for film, The Amazing Spider-Man is heavy on special effects that require well-designed CGI wizardry. Luckily, innovations in visual designs for films such as Avatar have benefited the presentation of action-heavy blockbusters with 3D image enhancement and motion capture designs. These visual techniques give The Amazing Spider-Man an authentic quality that keeps the film from looking ultra-stylized or cartoonish.

But don’t let the spectacular visuals take away from the emotional story at the film’s center. On the surface, the plot feels driven by Parker’s need to stop The Lizard from unleashing gamma radiation on New York City. However, his parent’s abandonment and his desire to avenge his uncle’s death are the fuel that kindles Parker’s desire to bring evil to justice.

Even though audiences will likely root for Spider-Man as he battles The Lizard, the real hero of the film is Andrew Garfield. He is not the usual beefcake actor that is often chosen to lead a big blockbuster. But it is Garfield’s underdog appeal that makes him relatable to audiences who watch these films to experience thrills that seem unattainable in real life.  

Films need more heroes like Garfield who give viewers hope that they too can rise above their obstacles. That is really quite “amazing.”

Rating: PG 13
Running time: 136min




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