What an a-wreck-nid! Reboot doesn’t have a leg to stand on
- Last Updated: 12:42 AM, July 3, 2012
- Posted: 11:31 PM, June 26, 2012
The Amazing Spiderman
More like barely adequate. Running time: 138 minutes. Rated PG-13 (action violence). Opens Monday at midnight at the Ziegfeld, the Lincoln Square IMAX, others.
Poor Spider-Man. His big-screen adventures that set box-office records in the early part of the century have been dwarfed by Batman and his fellow superheroes, the Avengers. The notorious production travails of Broadway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’’ made Peter Parker’s alter ego an international laughingstock for months.
And now comes “The Amazing Spider-Man,’’ hardly awful but not coming close to living up to that adjective in the title either. Sometimes dull and mostly uninspired, it’s much less a satisfying reboot like “Batman Begins’’ than a pointless rehash in the mode of “Superman Returns.’’
It’s altogether possible that Andrew Garfield, the young British actor who was so good as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in “The Social Network,’’ could have made a fine Spidey/Peter Parker — he certainly looks great in costume — if he had been given a better script with something like the wit, charm and energy of the first two “Spider-Man’’ films.
Instead, he’s saddled with a slightly darker version of the original film from 10 years ago — filled with unmotivated actions and wholly arbitrary plot twists. Add a slow-as-molasses first half, choppy editing, so-so effects and a chemistry-free love story, and you’ve hardly got a recipe for fun.
The sparingly deployed 3-D in this visually lackluster film adds nothing to justify the substantial loss of brightness or the stereoscopic surcharge (and that probably goes double for IMAX).
One thing “Spider-Man’’ does have in spades is extreme predictability — something that fans of superhero movies seem to crave, if the massive grosses for the bloated and mediocre “The Avengers’’ are any indication.
Credited to three writers (Alvin Sargent is the only holdover from the first Spidey team), the script tweaks Peter Parker’s back story to kill off his mother and his scientist father in an automobile accident after they drop him off with Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field, in a thankless paycheck gig).
Teenage nerd Peter gets his fateful bite from a genetically altered spider not at Columbia University but at a top-secret research lab run by his father’s former partner Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) to which he and classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) have remarkably unfettered access at any hour of the day or night.
Our hero develops the expected Spider-Man powers — for climbing, tangling bad guys in webs — and like his predecessor, played by Toby Maguire, agonizes about what to do with them, something that again has unfortunate consequences for Uncle Ben.