|Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man|
Directed by Marc Webb
Produced by Avi Arad, Matthew Tolmach, and Laura Ziskin
Written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field, and Martin Sheen
Ten years ago, Sam Raimi released the first-ever Spider-Man movie to the delight of movie-goers and most critics. Now that his trilogy is over, a reboot starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker has been unleashed. This incarnation of the Spidey origin story follows the original version's take in many ways. Both introduce the bespectacled teenager living with his aunt and uncle, and they depict his transformation into the hero we all know and love. Except this time, Peter's parents are connected to the villain, leaving a secret behind in their deaths. Also, Peter's love interest is Gwen Stacy (Stone) instead of Mary Jane Watson, and he does not track down his uncle's killer, which is likely to occur in the sequel. Meanwhile, the villain is now a lizard in the form of Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans), whose dreams of healing the world are twisted by the manipulation of his genetic makeup. Peter must defeat him if he is to save the city from a similar fate. But what about that lurking information about his parents? Their involvement with Dr. Connors is not entirely revealed, and we are left with questions unanswered about their connection to all of this.
Again, not unlike Raimi's version, the film has many things going for it. For instance, it has a script co-written by two Oscar-feted vets and the man who penned David Fincher's Zodiac to give the story more grit and more depth. It also has the director of a hit indie romantic comedy to handle the relationships, especially the interactions between Peter and Gwen. It even has a worthy cast for these characters to give them the star-power and acting chops they deserve. But these elements do not add up to much. The style of the film is more light and even reverential than necessary. While the script tries some new things, it also leaves crucial details to rushed exposition or coincidences. Moreover, Spider-Man's transformation is too quick, and any doubt Peter has in himself is not given the proper treatment. A longer script perhaps would have remedied this problem. Out of all the actors, Garfield and Stone have the most chemistry (a plus, for sure) and play well off one another, but their characters appear misrepresented in their performances. Peter's awkwardness and Gwen's flirtatiousness come off as rom-com fodder instead of just a piece of a bigger story. Despite their good performances, the leads seem to be playing characters in a different movie. Even the score was not one of the film's strong points. Hopefully, the sequel will have a different tone and better pacing than this letdown.
Oscar Potential: Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects