The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

*. Spider-Man has always been one of the most popular of the Marvel comics superheroes, and perhaps their most iconic. No surprise then that as the Marvel franchise saturated the movie market in the early twenty-first century Spidey would become a franchise in himself, swinging his way through more movies in these years than I can count.
*. Director Marc Webb: “it was a pretty quick reboot, I’ll admit that.” Meaning the turnaround from Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, which wound up in 2007, to the reboot only five years later with this launch of a new (projected) trilogy starring Andrew Garfield. You wouldn’t think a franchise needed a reboot every five years, but for a property like this why sit back and count your money when you can be out making more?
*. Because it’s a reboot this is yet another origin story, which is unfortunate given that origin stories are the least interesting part of any superhero franchise. Compounding things here, Webb thought of this film as not so much the origin of Spider-Man as the origin of Peter Parker, introducing the idea that the movie will be all about him finding out who he is. This is pretty ho-hum stuff, and luckily I didn’t see a lot of it going on in the movie. Maybe they were going to do more with his parents later in the trilogy, but seeing as they stalled out after two movies we may never know.
*. The villain of the piece is Dr. Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans). He’s missing an arm and so wants to gene splice himself with a lizard to grow a new one. Which turns him into the Lizard. It’s all pretty dumb stuff, and even though I know it’s a comic-book movie I was frustrated that I didn’t understand what he was trying to achieve in turning everyone in New York into giant lizard people. Because this is the next step of evolution? Because it will correct for any imperfections in our species? Somehow a city of lizard people doesn’t seem worth it.

*. Garfield is fine as Peter Parker, sporting some truly crazy hair, but he doesn’t seem quite the thing. Sort of like George Lazenby playing Bond. He’s no Tobey Maguire anyway. But I guess Maguire couldn’t stay young forever. Or could he? He’s there with Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe as one of those perpetual young people.
*. Emma Stone is girlfriend Gwen Stacy, and of course she’s brainy and helpful too because this was 2012 and they had to give her something to do. Denis Leary seemed miscast to me as her father, the chief of police. Sally Field and Martin Sheen are America’s Mom and Dad. They’re good for producing the sort of canned moral precepts that these movies seem to feel are obligatory. Don’t tell lies, do the right thing, be true to yourself. That sort of stuff.
*. After his first fight with the Lizard, Spider-Man goes to Gwen’s place (he’d revealed his identity to her right away) so he can recover. She frets about her poor wounded boyfriend and he remarks “You should see the other guy.” Which is the cool thing to say to your girlfriend, but it made me laugh. You mean the other guy who just kicked your ass and that you barely escaped from? I’d say he’s feeling pretty good right now. This is the one scene in the movie that I honestly enjoyed.
*. Otherwise: standard comic-book stuff. Lots of CGI, most of it pretty good. The usual plot, complete with a bomb about to go off and a countdown and a climax at the top of a tower. Instantly forgettable, but it made a lot of money so they were able to roll out a sequel that didn’t do as well. After which the trilogy died and things had to get rebooted yet again.

17 thoughts on “The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

  1. Over-The-Shoulder

    Yep, this was a forgettable one. Martin Sheen? I can’t even recollect him being here. Did Garfield play basketball? Anyway, I’m not sure when or why I watched this, and I hope not to ever again.

    1. Alex Good Post author

      Martin Sheen and Sally Fields are forgettable as the bland parent surrogates. Yeah, this is the one with the basketball scene, which is actually kind of dull. It’s all set-up and by this point everyone knows what’s going to happen.

  2. Alex's Review Corner

    TASM is the type of film I watch, struggle to enjoy and think that there was probably the potential for a better movie somewhere under there. You point out how dumb a lot of the concepts here are but I think the fact that the movie takes itself so seriously is what makes these concepts fail. If it embraced a more tongue in cheek tone maybe it would have been slightly better.

    1. Alex Good Post author

      I agree. But there’s the problem with a fan base that doesn’t want you to be too irreverent. Plus this is an origin story movie and those are always kind of stilted. Usually the second movie is better, though in this case that didn’t happen.


    Never saw this. Do remember reading comic books when I was a kid. back then, and origin stories was a big deal. But as you say, in movies, almost everything is an origin story, or a selection-box compilation, and I guess that’s because there seem to be no compelling narratives to transfer from the comics. If there are any, they haven’t appeared on film.

    1. Alex Good

      I think given the serial form comics just naturally reuse conventional storylines that repeat endlessly without every coming to any conclusion. I’ve pretty much given up on comic-book movies now. As for comics, even the classics like stuff by Alan Moore and Frank Miller are pretty limited in what they have to say.


        I’ve come to the same conclusion re comic books; if there were great storylines, they’d have used them by now. I guess the deal between Sony and Marvel is the reason that they churn out Spider-man movies so fast, but it’s cinematic mush and I couldn’t care less.

  4. Bookstooge

    I liked the original Spiderman movies, even the 3rd, so I was pretty unhappy about them rebooting the franchise and starting all over again.
    Did the 2nd really do so bad that that was the reason for not finishing the trilogy? I thought it had to do with a rights fight between sony and marvel.

    1. Alex Good

      Combination of the two things I think. I’ll mention this a bit in my notes on 2 tomorrow.
      The Raimi/Maguire movies were decent. These ones didn’t advance things much. Now I guess it’s Tom Holland’s show. This is never going to end.

      1. Bookstooge

        Like you said, Spiderman is Marvel’s superstar. He’s been the center for movies and tv since the get-go. So yep, it never will end. But it “should” slow down. I don’t think we’re going to get another bajillion movie arc leading up to another Infinity War style set like we did before. Hopefully not anyway.

  5. fragglerocking

    Rumours abound that both MaGuire and Garfield will be in the latest Spiderman ‘No Way Home’, as it’s something to do with the multi-verse, up until I heard that I wasn’t going to bother with it, but I really liked the Maguire series so I’d fetch up for that.

    1. Bookstooge

      If you care, there was an animated movie “Into the Spider-verse” that introduces the concept of a multiverse of spiderman’s and the various characters Marvel is using. I haven’t seen it but I’ve heard it is good. Depending on how this new Holland spiderman movie does, I might end up watching it.


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