The first Spider-Man movie came out almost exactly 10 years ago. Back then, I wasn't too into it on the basis that I wasn't a very big fan of the character and that none of my favorite villains were featured in the movie. As time went on, my opinion changed, and I had the pleasure of re-watching the entire original trilogy just for shits and giggles this summer.
The first one was alright, if a little campy because the director was the same guy who did Evil Dead. The second one was fucking amazing and is easily one of the best superhero movies ever made thanks to the seamless integration of the multiple storylines with the personal conflict going within Peter Parker's troubled soul. The complexity of Doc Ock as one of the finest movie villains of our generation definitely helped. The third one was a movie about an emo kid that fell flat because it tried introducing too many villains. If they wanted to have Venom, they should have made him the main villain and not introduce him literally during the last half hour of the movie. Also if I wanted to watch a movie about emo kids I'd rather watch Donnie Darko or some shit like that.
So yeah, them movies are pretty fucking good. Of course, Hollywood being Hollywood just had to go and reboot the franchise after negotiations for Spider-Man 4 fell through. The reboot for Spider-Man had some pretty big shoes to fill. So, did it succeed? Yeah, I'd say so.
Unlike the original movie, Amazing Spider-Man deals more in depth with Peter Parker in high school. It deals with the issue of what exactly happened to his parents and why they kind of left him hanging. It deals with the growing pains of a kid who just received some really awesome powers during a not-so-awesome time in his life. Where the original movie was like "yeah here are your powers" then herp derp Peter graduates, this one deals with Peter in high school and that is where it excels.
Speaking of Peter, the casting for Amazing Spider-Man was spot on. Andrew Garfield excelled in his role. Now I know some may cry foul and say that Tobey Maguire will forever be Peter Parker in their eyes, but you can take that sentimentality and shove it up your ass. If you've ever read the comics, in particular the recent adaptation, Ultimate Spider-Man, Garfield's portrayal was much closer to the comics. In the original, Peter kind of got along with Uncle Ben and Aunt May all the time. This time, again, like the comics, he misses curfews and regularly bickers with his aunt and uncle, just like a normal teenager and not quite like Tobey Maguire's almost angelic portrayal. He's a brooding teenager who just wants to get through life and be left alone by the world, which I think is something many of us can relate to.
As for the other characters, I'd saw Gwen Stacey was pretty spot-on. I can't really say too much about her because I'm not that familiar with Spidey's love interests, but I do know that in the comics, Gwen is kind of a science nerd like Peter so I respect this portrayal. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben was practically the same as in the original movies since even though the character is a major driving force in Peter's life, he kind of works his influence from the grave, quite literally.
The Lizard was an interesting villain. I'll digress by saying that me being a dinosaur/reptile freak is a big understatement and this was the Spider-Man movie I would have wanted 10 years ago on the basis that he's well A LIZARD. That said, he just wasn't villainous and evil enough. He's a guy with perfectly good intentions who wants to accomplish them in, well, not so good ways. That's what made him an interesting character. He just wanted to help society by literally making people better. I know I'd rather be a mutant lizard than the geek that I am. Still, he's no Doc Ock. He's not even a Green Goblin. But he is better than 3's Venom and Sandman. He was just kind of one-dimensional in his quest to improve humanity (and himself) and probably should have been given more time to develop.
Overall, this is the second best movie based off the friendly neighborhood wall crawler. It didn't blow me away like Spider-Man 2 but it was certainly better than 1 and 3. Where it really excelled was bringing Spider-Man back to his roots and that by itself is something. Unfortunately, it will probably have to play second fiddle to The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, but it still got the job done and people will still pay money to see it. I did, and I don't regret it
3.5 out of 4