It's been about 10 years since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man graced the big screen and about 5 years since his 3rd one. Raimi did a decent job bringing Spidey to the screen with the first incarnation and 2 got better. The 3rd one was a disgrace and shouldn't have been made. It is now 2012 and we are graced with another Spider-Man movie. This time it is a reboot, I know what you are thinking a reboot already, well the powers that be seemed it was a good idea. Well they were wrong. It was a fantastic idea. Here is why. Raimi got the origin part down well, stuck pretty close to the source material, all great and fine, but one thing was missing, the feeling that this was the Spidey movie we all have been waiting for. It was close and the 2nd even closer, but Tobey McGuire just didn't feel like Peter Parker aka, the guy in red and blue. What we have now is a retooled Spider-Man reboot, not only telling the origin story, but letting us in on a little story we may not know about...the parents of Peter Parker.
Not too much new in the origin story. A little change here and there, but changes that work for the world that Marc Webb is trying to create. Peter Parker is a loner at school, very smart but awkward teen that gets bullied but not afraid to stand up for the downtrodden. He finds out that his father worked with Dr. Curt Connors and decides to sneak into an intern-ship tour at his lab in Oscorp. There he finds out what is going on with the cross species mutation and finds the room with the spiders where he ultimately gets bitten. Parker later helps Connors with the formula and Connors decides it's time to test the serum out on himself, thus becoming...The Lizard. Gwen Stacy becomes Parker's first love in this film, just like in the comics. That is one fault in the Raimi world is the teaming up of Parker and Mary Jane, of course it's bound to happen, but the Stacy arc needs to come first. The Lizard, or should I say Dr. Connors wants to disperse a substance that will evolve the city into superior beings like himself and Spider-Man needs to come in and save the day.
Director Marc Webb grounds Spider-Man as to close to reality as we can get and it really works for the picture. Webb has the knack of making characters believable and getting us to believe the connections between the characters on the screen. We will believe in the love that blooms between Gwen and Peter. We will believe the strong bond between Peter and his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Everything flows together nicely and just works. Somethings may happen a little differently than in the Raimi version and such they should, and even though they do, they still work. I felt that Webb's version is more emotional and darker than the Raimi's and even though Spider-Man's world doesn't neccessarily need to be darker, it does bring a more emotional and connected feeling not only to the movie but to the characters involved. You make those connections and for the close to 2 and a half hours you are watching these lives unfold and start to care for these people. There is humor when there needs to be, and it's not the forced humour or the wink and nods at the camera. There are scenes showing Peter's awkwardness, scenes with the wisecracking Spider-Man we all know and love. Webb brings this new Spider-Man alive and I think it's the best version of all of them out there.
Andrew Garfield had the task of filling the shoes of the web slinger and he does it in stride. He is so much better as Peter/Spider-Man than Tobey McGuire could ever be. When I see Garfield as Parker and as Spidey, it is how I have pictured the character in my head and on screen. When I saw him on screen I didn't see Andrew Garfield, I saw Peter Parker. Even though Garfield is getting close to 30, he still looked young enough to pull off a senior in high school. He did a tremendous job bringing the smart, awkward Parker to life and didn't make him out to be a bumbling idiot. The minute you see both Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker together you can see the chemistry between Garfield and Emma Stone. That is one thing that was missing between McGuire and Dunst, chemistry.
Emma Stone is as lovely as ever as the smart blond bombshell Gwen Stacy. She plays the character perfectly and is the perfect match on screen to Garfield's Parker. Like I said in the previous paragraph, their chemistry on screen works and you connect with them and are totally believable as a couple, nothing seems forced or unbalanced, everything between them just works. They couldn't have cast a better actress to play Gwen Stacy, great work in the casting department.
Moving on to Dr. Curt Connors. It is too bad they couldn't have gotten Dylan Thomas back to play Connors since he did play him in all three previous Spider-Man movies but instead went with Rhys Ifans. He was recently in the TV Series Neverland as James Hook and was brilliant in that. Here he is at his top and plays the character perfectly, another great choice from the casting department. He shows the emotions Connors is going through with struggling or not to take the serum and try to test it on himself to get his lost arm back. When he becomes The Lizard the monster so to speak comes out and Ifans you can tell is enjoying every minute of it. It's a dark form of monster too, nothing campy going on here, just plain terror.
The supporting cast of Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Sally Field as Aunt May, Dennis Leary as George Stacy were all great in the movie as well. You feel the love Uncle Ben and Aunt May have for Peter but you also feel the disappointment when Peter starts to forget to do a few important things for his Aunt and Uncle. Leary brings the toughness needed for Stacy, who is head of the police department but also the compassion of a doubting father to Gwen. As much as I love James Cromwell I didn't feel he made a good George Stacy. Dennis Leary did a great job and I am glad they brought him in for the role.
The effects in the movie were absolutely amazing. From the ads I thought a lot of the effect work didn't look right, but on the big screen they were stunning. Webb wanted to use a lot of practical effects whenever possible and it really paid off. Through out the first Spider-Man trilogy I felt the effects were spotty at best and really could tell teh CG Spidey from the live actor, here it is a whole new ball game. They were spot on in that department and only really felt fake in a couple of quick shots, one being with Spidey fighting The Lizard in the high-school. Overall the effect team did an amazing job bringing these big action sequences to life and kudos for them at making it look as real as possible. The animation for The Lizard looked wonderful and again brought life to the character. It was a little different seeing The Lizard with a more rounded head then longer face like in the comics but I got used to it and it was out of my mind quickly.
James Horner did a wonderful job putting together the score for the movie. I thought the theme sounded a little like the theme from The Justice League, that's not a bad thing, at least in my eyes, I love that theme. What was written fit the movie well and never at a time seemed loud and over bearing or distracting.
To me this is the best version of Spider-Man and I am a fan of the first two of Raimi's movies, the 3rd one not so much. This Spider-Man is darker but has everything you could want, a little humour, romance, action, thrills, tense moments, and of course Spider-Man. The new costume looks awesome on the big screen. To me this version really feels like Spider-Man and the whole crew did a wonderful job bringing this character to life. It may be a reboot, but it is a GOOD reboot. There is enough difference that it makes it fresh and interesting and definitely sets up the story arc to carry on into multiple pictures. Definitely stay through the credits, there is a secret scene, which is the norm these days for Marvel movies.
I give this movie 5 stars out of 5. It is the Spider-Man movie I have been waiting to see and I hope this is the one the world has been waiting for too. I did see this in 3D and the 3D was spot on. There were a lot of cool scenes that made use of the 3D well, and the rest the 3D gave a good depth to a lot of the shots. It was n't hard on the eyes nor was it too dark in the dark scenes.