To be honest, Spiderman is my favorite Marvel hero (Iron Man is a close second). I felt that this film did justice to the original story of Peter Parker while placing it in a modern day setting.
So, first off, plot. There was a lot of it. It was very good. There were not eight different plot threads running at the same time. At most, there were four; Peter, Gwen, Connors, and Aunt May. Peter’s thread intertwined with each of the others, as well as a few other sub-plots, but there was not an over-abundance of things going on. Peter was not working for J.J., he was still a kid in high school trying to get the girl and getting over on the jock.
Second, the fuel for the fire, the desire to go out and become Spiderman. Again, I felt that the way this movie handled it, compared to the the Toby Maguire series, was better. While Maguire catches the murderer (that then gets completely scraped in the third movie, but whatever), Andrew Garfield does not immediate find the crook, nor does he manage to through out the rest of the film. This creates suspense for the audience; what will he did when he nabs him? if he nabs him? It also creates tension between Parker and Captain Stacy. Stacy points out that Spiderman is no hero, he is just some punk looking for revenge, he is not saving people, he is only looking to satiate his own bloodlust. This makes both Parker and the audience think about Spiderman’s situation, which draws the two parties closer together.
Third point, the villain. As much as I love the sheer insanity of Green Goblin, especially played by William Dafoe, Conners, I felt, was a much better villain. He had much more of a backstory, and really started as a good guy; that makes his transformation to the dark side all the more tragic. Conners wants to fix himself, but only after he has developed a way to heal everyone else. He seems quite selfless, but the events of the film force him into a selfish place, and eventually cause him to become the Lizard. He becomes a Jekyll and Hyde scenario after this point; he struggles between helping others and keeping the power that comes from his alter ego. However, his selfless side begins to bleed into the Lizard’s mind, giving the creature the idea of not mending the scars of humanity, but instead improving humanity, outright. Connor’s scheme is much more terrifying than Goblin’s, which seemed to be that of a Joker wannabe, creating chaos for the sake of chaos, but not really doing much beyond messing around with a young boy.
One before five, the love interest. I am not sure if it is that I like that the film-makes introduced Gwen Stacy properly or that I like Emma Stone’s acting, but I felt Gwen was a better interest than MJ. She is not some damsel in distress, she helps Peter, she tends his wounds and tries to fight with him. Contrasting against MJ, whose backstory I can sum up in one sentence, Gwen Stacy had a much more developed and well-thought out existence.
My final point, America. The first Spiderman movie came out after 9/11 and had a huge, well there is no other way to say it but, “Fuck yeah, America” thing going for it. That is what the country, and New Yorkers, needed at the time. However, the other two films of Maguire’s series attempted to carry out this ‘theme’, which just resulted in a tired and boring rehashing of Spiderman standing in front of a gigantic American flag while looking out over the New York skyline. ‘The Amazing Spiderman’, on the other hand, had the America and New York thing toned down quite a bit, and I believe, even poked fun at the standing in front of a flag shot. The relationship between fellow New Yorkers, Spiderman included, is a part of the film, and is actually what ultimately helps bring the bad guy down, but it has better justification, or maybe not better, just better explained. The scene with Jack, which causes the New Yorker looking out for New Yorker thing, was actually my favorite part of the movie. I do not want to go into too much detail, for fear of spoiling the film and that I would not being doing it proper justice to explain it without the visuals.
The only downsides I saw with this movie were that some scenes and montages came off as campy and corny. These were mostly Peter’s scenes skateboarding or swinging about the City, adding in commentary. But, they did add a bit to his character, showing that despite the fucked up shit he has gone through, he is trying to keep a smile on his face.
I give this movie a 8/10.