The Amazing Spider-Man
Tagline: The Untold Story
Should there be a set of rules when it comes to how much time is necessary between an action franchise’s last installment and its inevitable reboot? This week, the The Amazing Spider-Man comes out just 10 years after Sam Raimi turned the legendary web slinger into a money making franchise machine thanks to Tobey Maguire (well, he did the business in movies one and two, the less said about the third installment the better).
Swap Raimi for Marc Webb and Maguire for Andrew Garfield and you’ve got yourselves a $220 million tentpole for summer 2012. But perhaps it’s better to re-frame the question — for the teenagers the film is aimed at, 10 years is an incredibly long time. So never mind the 10 years, is The Amazing Spider-Man worth the 10 bucks (or more) to go see it?
The film finds us back in origin territory, with Peter Parker (Garfield), abandoned by his parents as a boy, being raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen, getting a host of raves for his performance) and Aunt May (Sally Field). But when Peter finds a briefcase that belonged to his dad, it sets him off on a journey to try and figure out what really happened to his parents, a quest that takes him to the laboratory doorstep of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who just happens to be his father’s former partner.
It looks like the conveniently named Webb has delivered the goods. There’s barely a bad review of the latest film to be had; the Wall Street Journal‘s sniping over the very nature of the project (“This hugely elaborate production is supposed to be the reboot of a foundering franchise, but rebooting a computer wipes the silicon slate clean”) is about as nasty as it gets. Instead, the New York Times gets a kick out of our leads (a couple in real life): “Mr. Garfield and Ms. Stone are by far the movie’s greatest assets and when they’re together on screen, they add warmth and a believable closeness to the industrial mix.” Over on the West coast, the Los Angeles Times takes exactly the same view: “Garfield and Stone are good enough to ensure that you won’t miss their predecessors.” And TIME’s Mary Pols seems more than happy to get swept along. “How would it be to go from geeky teen who can’t get a date to someone who can move like Mikhail Baryshnikov at warp speed?” she asks. “Thrilling, and that’s what it looks like. None of this is new to us, but Garfield and Webb make it feel convincingly fresh and exciting.”