Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

the amazing spider man poster

“We all have secrets: the ones we keep… and the ones that are kept from us.”
– Peter Parker

Peter Parker (Max Charles) loses his parents one night when he was young. His father Richard’s (Campbell Scott) office was burglarised and they rushed to his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben’s (Martin Sheen) house. His parents never made it back, and Peter grows up with his aunt and uncle. As a teenager, Peter (Andrew Garfield) fits in at school and at the same time doesn’t completely. He has a massive crush on the gorgeous Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who takes notice of him when he stands up to the school bully, Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka). Peter discovers his father’s old briefcase as well as some papers and pictures, and learns that his father worked with Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) at Oscorp. Peter really wants to get into Oscorp to see what they were working on and possibly meet Dr Connors.

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“Secrets have a cost. They’re not free. Not now, not ever.” – May Parker

At Oscorp Gwen Stacy leads the group around on tour, noticing that Peter has sneaked in. She says nothing, and he enters a lab where genetically modified spiders are being used to develop a biocable. A spider bites Peter, and his life changes. He has new abilities and strengths that are weird and inexplicable and definitely give him a fright, and his behaviour changes. His aunt and uncle worry about him, though Uncle Ben is sure it is just a phase. The more Peter studies his father’s papers, the more he thinks he understands about what was going on. He visits with Dr Connors, who is massively impressed with Peter and his incredible level of intelligence. Peter even gives Connors the decay rate algorithm his father had worked out, which happens to be the missing piece that Connors needs to complete his research. Connors has difficulty at work when he is pushed to develop a cure for the dying Normon Osborn, head of Oscorp. Peter pushes back with Flash at school, and his uncle is called in about the fight. Instead of collecting his Aunt May that night, Peter loses track of time when he and Connors regrow a mouse’s limb.

the amazing spider man peter starving
“There’s rumor of a new species in New York. It can be aggressive, if threatened…” – Dr Curt Conners

Peter and Uncle Ben fight about Peter not collecting his aunt, and Peter leaves. His uncle is walking around the streets looking for Peter after he stormed out, and when a cashier refuses to let Peter buy milk at a deli, Peter refuses to help the cashier when a thief holds up the deli. This all leads to Uncle Ben being killed in the street, and Peter having the guilt wash over him that he could have prevented it. Flash and Peter even come to a reluctant sort of truce. Peter decides to use his powers to hunt down the man that killed his uncle and exact the justice he feels is deserved, and designs his suit and mechanical devices to shoot webs from. Peter and Gwen are getting closer to one another, and Peter has an argument with Gwen’s father, police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary) about Spider-Man, and that he is not all bad. Gwen learns that Peter is Spider-Man. Meanwhile, Connors gets fired by Dr Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) when he refuses to move onto human testing, and in desperation tests the algorithm on himself seeing as he has a missing limb and it regenerates. However, there are problems when the regrown limb is lizard like, and Ratha is on his way to the Veterans Administration to administer it under the pretext of it being a flu shot.

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“You should see the other guy. The other guy, in this instance, being a giant mutant lizard.” – Peter Parker

A massive fight breaks out on the bridge, and the people are terrified. Spider-Man swoops in and saves the day, though the city thinks he is either a hero or a menace, but either way you look at it, Peter realises he cannot just hunt the man responsible for his uncle’s death, but protect the city, too. He needs to find out who the Lizard is as well as balance his life, responsibilities, power, grief and infatuation with Gwen Stacy. Will he figure out who the Lizard is? Will he ever be able to beat the Lizard? Will the Lizard ever humanise himself again? Will Peter and Gwen find a nice and comfortable place with one another? Will Spider-Man ever be accepted by the people?

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“You’re a wanted man, Peter Parker.” – Gwen Stacy

A well-deserved 8/10 for The Amazing Spider-Man. This movie got right everything Sam Raimi’s did not. For the first time, I saw a realistic Peter Parker, and a believable Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield brought a lot to the table with his acting capabilities, and this is duly noted. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was fantastic – she is pretty, smart, well-spoken, willful, strong… everything you would expect Peter Parker to want. This film also embodied the intelligence that Peter possesses, which is great to see how insanely smart he is. The previous movies didn’t really capture his ingenuity. The chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield was palpable and intense. The Lizard was just so well done, and everything just looked so good. His character probably could have been developed more, but I liked it for what it was. I will always regret not having seen this in cinemas when it was released due to thinking “too soon” (let’s face it, when it came there were only five years between the final of Sam Raimi’s trilogy and this new reboot), but it surprised me immensely. The cast was fantastic, the camerawork and effects worked so well. They also captured the humour of Spider-Man in here, there were a few places I cracked up good and proper. They also encapsulated so well that Peter was neither popular nor the lowest on the food chain. I thought this was a fantastic addition for Spider-Man, and well worth looking into if you haven’t already!