The Amazing Spider-Man

Marc Webb's energizing The Amazing Spider-Man is not a complete reimagining of the familiar tale of the orphaned loner who is transformed into a human arachnid but it is a niftily imaginative comic book venture nonetheless with more mature undertones. Webb and The Social Network's Andrew Garfield, as amiable a young actor as any currently on the screen, imbue Peter Parker with a kind of woundedness that moves the character into a different realm, one more commonly explored in D.C. comics, IMO. In this film version, Parker / Spider-Man is not just a costumed avenger in search of the petty robber who gunned down his beloved Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). He's a young man in search of a meaningful paternal connection to replace the one he lost when his father (Campbell Scott) and mother (Embeth Davidtz) left mysteriously when he was 5 and lost again when his uncle was killed. The 17-year-old boy in the red and blue unitard is on the verge of becoming a man but he's not really sure how to do that. He needs and wants help but the father-figures in his life keep dying or mutating into slithering lizard men (Rhys Ifans). The reliable Emma Stone is Parker's love interest as the oddly asynchronous Gwen Stacy, whose father (Dennis Leary) is a police commander on the hunt for the masked vigilante. One of the most winning scenes in the film is a dinner table verbal battle between Gwen's new boyfriend and her abrasive but loving father. It's nicely done. Still, Webb, known mainly for his music video, stages a half-dozen spectacular fight scenes and his aerial work is far superior to anything in the previous Spidey outings. They are truly Amazing. Enjoy.


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