The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony) – Street Date: Friday, November 9
Barely a decade after Sam Raimi first launched the “Spider-Man” film series and helped ignite the superhero big screen bonanza, the comic book hero’s story is rebooted and retold in a universe far from “The Avengers.”
Andrew Garfield takes on Peter Parker this time as a decidedly hipper high school nerd and Emma Stone is spunky girlfriend Gwen Stacy, a pair of bubbly personalities that help buoy this second run through the same basic origin story (high school boy bitten by radioactive spider, sudden powers, death of beloved Uncle Ben, yadda yadda yadda).
Director Marc Webb attempts to retool the whole thing with a more authentic (or at least contemporary) cliché of high school culture and the screenwriters add a conspiratorial twist to the death of Peter’s parents that leads to a potential ally, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), and the film’s new villain, The Lizard. (Fans of the comic book expected The Lizard to scramble out in the first series, what with Dylan Baker appearing as Connors back “Spider-Man 2,” but that’s another issue.)
None of this approaches the exhilaration of the first thrilling swings through New York City or the guilt, the rush, the angst, the responsibility, the teen emotional life that Raimi brought to the first “Spider-Man” origin. Webb brings momentum and splash to the film without actually pulling us into the charge of Peter’s new power and tosses us into yet another showdown between plucky misfit hero and monstrous supervillain with a personal stake in the fight.
Five years after Raimi closed the original trilogy, the superhero movie has changed the big screen landscape and it’s no longer enough to pretend it’s all happening for the first time in a world where superheroes don’t exist. Give Webb credit for the terrific chemistry between Garfield and Stone, but otherwise this rehash that adds nothing new to what is fast becoming a familiar formula.