There are some purists out there that thought it was too soon for a re-boot here but I don’t think that’s a reason not to see the film. This is obviously a new vision for the character and a new way to present Spidey on-screen. The short of it is that it’s fun to watch but for me didn’t hold up to Sam Raimi’s version (especially the first 2).
I looked into the director of this film (ironically, his name is Marc Webb); who seems to be best known for 500 Days of Summer and music video work. Unfortunately that sort of resonates here as the film is a little too slick looking and comes off kind of stiff and cookie-cutter at times. The problem is that is has a distinctly corporate/commercial feel to it tonally versus Raimi’s perspective of being an actual fan of the comic book.
The story traces the background of Peter Parker and how he came to be Spiderman along with some further illumination about his parents that we haven’t seen on film before. I thought some of the beginning was a little long and drawn out where other parts of the story later on should’ve been more extensive. There’s a hint about Curt Connor’s involvement with regard to Peter’s parents dropped into the dialog that never goes any further than just a hint. Seemed like a big plot point to gloss over…
Visually, the effects are really nicely done (they should be with a 230M budget). Although the colors, editing, music and visual style of Raimi’s vision have a much more organic and comic feel to them compared to the over-slickness of this version. The fight sequences between Spiderman and The Lizard are fun to watch as is Spidey’s slinging around NYC.
I like Andrew Garfield’s work; he brings great passion and enthusiasm to the Peter Parker role. He grew up reading the comic books and his immersion shows. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is a good choice as she’s also a very talented actor who knows how to work her emotions fluidly. The rest of the talent is up there as well, all top notch and includes: Rhys Ifans (as Curt Connors), Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Campbell Scott, and C. Thomas Howell.
Overall, the script isn’t as strong and the direction feels a bit commercial and slick, but it’s still fun to watch.
reviewed by Sean McKnight