The question has been raised repeatedly ever since Sony announced its plans to reboot the comic book based franchise in 2010. Did we need another Spider-Man movie? After making three films between 2002 and 2007 that grossed billions worldwide, die hard fans seemed skeptical for the need to make another film. I was in agreement with many who voiced their displeasure of replacing fan favorite Tobey Maguire with Andrew Garfield, a relatively unknown actor, and telling the "untold story" of Peter Parker's origins. After watching the movie on opening day I asked myself again: Did we need another Spider-Man?
The answer was no. But...
We did need this Spider-Man.
Director Marc Webb (how cool a last name is that for a Spider-Man director?) has brought to life a real Spider-Man. Although Maguire's Spider-Man is believable, one was always aware that he was a comic book character.
However, Garfield's Spider-Man is real.
He is an emotional and awkward teenager wanting to know why his parents abandoned him, struggling with crushes and trying to find out who he is. And the audience is along for the ride.
The movie follows Parker, who is being raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Fields) after his parents leave him in their care, never to be seen or heard from again. Parker's journey includes true to the comic book moments such as his encounter with a genetically engineered spider that gives him super powers but not embedded web-making ability (he engineers a device that allows him to shoot web), the death of Uncle Ben and Parker's hunt for his killer.
After finding an old briefcase that belonged to his father, Parker is led to Oscorp where he meets Dr. Curt Connors, (Rhys Ifans) his father's one-time partner, who becomes the movie's villain The Lizard. Connors and Parker work together to unlock the secrets of his father's formula that will permit regeneration. Believing they have successfully found the key, Connors begins testing the formula on himself, in order to regenerate his own missing right arm with horrific consequences. Connors is transformed into The Lizard convinced that he is the next step in evolution and wanting the rest of the world to join him
As he works to untangle the complicated web of his past, Parker is also working through normal teenage angst in the form of a crush on classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). For those that are not comic book nerds and are crying foul that Mary Jane Watson was not in this movie, take note. In the comic books, Gwen Stacy was Parker's first true love not Mary Jane Watson.
Stone plays Stacy intelligently but at times the chemistry between Stone and Garfield seems forced, although one can attribute that to Parker's awkwardness rather than a lack of chemistry.
The movie presents us not only with a different look at Spider-Man and the Peter Parker character but Webb also gives us some breath taking action shots including shots from Spider-Man's point-of-view. Webb uses the city of New York as his canvas and playground and we are the ultimate benefactors of that creativity.
The Amazing Spider-Man is rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence.