Amazing Spider Man is not a total retread. It's been ten years since Tobey Maguire starred as Spider Man and now he's been usurped by Andrew Garfield. Andrew brings more awkwardness, emotion, and teen angst. Tobey only had one expression. Andrew is darn cute, bumbling, and sad. Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane never really clicked for me. Emma Stone (one of the best young actresses today) is superb as Gwen Stacy. She and Andrew are hot on screen (and off apparently) and their screen pairing works.
We meet Peter Parker as a young boy, just as his parents need to flee. He's left with Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen - so good) and Aunt May (Sally Field - best aunt ever). The kid has issues and we see him again in high school, ever the outsider, picked on by bullies, and wanting a connection to this past. He finds an old briefcase of his fathers and the secret papers with the key formula for cross species connection. Uh-oh. He looks up his father's old partner, played well by Rhys Ifans, and trouble ensues. Ifan's is on the brink of being shut down. Obviously Robert Parker was the brilliant scientist and Connor's the coattail partner. Well, now Connors is looking to use himself as the human study - trying to regenerate his arm. The experiment goes awry, of course, and he becomes a huge lizard terrorizing New York.
Meanwhile, Peter wandered around the lab, slipped into a restricted area, and got bit by a spider. Suddenly he doesn't know his own strength, can spin webs with his hands, and soar from rooftop to rooftop. He's the amazing spiderman vigilante, whether at school or on the streets - he's searching for answers. The only person to know his secret is Gwen, and she's the daughter of the captain of the NY police (played as always with wry humor by Denis Leary). There are a lot of issues with Peter/Spiderman/cops/good and bad.
Great action sequences, solid character development, a steady family situation with Aunt May wondering what the heck is going on with her teen nephew. Budding romance with some nice kisses and teen heat. The Amazing Spider Man is familiar and new at the same time. It provides worthy summer entertainment, and sets us up for sequels. Treat yourself to a tub of popcorn and enjoy a decent family movie. Be caught in the web of movie magic.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.