James M's review of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)


Salutations once again, we're diving back into the Marvel-verse and swinging our way into the Spider-verse with 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield and directed by Marc Webb. Enough delay, lets dive into this chapter of Spider-Man history, which came to be at a time when the fabled Marvel Cinematic Universe was getting off the ground.

In the year 2007, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 released, serving as the final chapter in the Spider-Man trilogy that had been five years in the making, and was a box office success despite mixed reviews. After the movie was out, pre-production began on a Spider-Man 4. However, being displeased with how Spider-Man 3 turned out and after being frustrated with Sony's meddling, Sam Raimi quit the project and Sony green-lit a reboot with Marc Webb involved with the project.

The result, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. The film released in the summer of 2012, shortly after The Avengers came out and its success kicked the Marvel Cinematic Universe & its popularity into high-gear, and this film was very successful. The movie's performance paved the way for a sequel that came out two years later, only for that one to flop badly and TASM wasn't thought of fondly for many years until Andrew Garfield returned to reprise his role in 2021's Spider-Man No Way Home.

So, what's the story of this movie?

The film starts off with Peter as a kid living with his parents, Richard and Mary Parker, until they head off and entrust Peter in the care of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. (We find out in the sequel that Richard was working on a genetic experimental breakthrough at Oscorp and had to flee to avoid being bumped off.) Jump forward several years later and Peter (now played by British actor Andrew Garfield) is in high-school and has a crush on Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone).

One day, Peter goes to Oscorp and, during a tour where he meets Doctor Curt Connors, takes a detour into a room with radioactive spiders and gets bit by one. Shortly after, Peter starts developing powers. At school, Peter gets into a little fight with Flash Thompson and humiliates him in the gym. He meets up with Doctor Connors again and helps come up with a formula to limb regeneration, afterwards, Peter heads home and is lectured by his uncle for not being responsible.

Peter heads off to a store where a robber threatens the shop owner, only for Peter to not help him. Uncle Ben is nearby and runs into the robber as he's getting away, the thief shoots Uncle Ben and kills him, much to Peter's sad dismay. He then begins going after criminals after some time, but after a disastrous encounter with a group of bad guys, Peter eventually begins working on an outfit and a mask for himself. After enough work, his suit is formulated and Peter becomes the web-slinging Spider-Man.

Sometime after, Peter visits Gwen and joins her family for dinner, during which her father, Captain George Stacy, calls Spider-Man a dangerous criminal vigilante. Peter and Gwen talk on the balcony afterwards and Peter reveals his identity as Spider-Man to her, surprising Gwen as they share their first kiss. Meanwhile, Doctor Connors creates the formula and tests it on himself. Right as expected, his arm regrows. However, the formula has a sinister side effect as Connors transforms into a creature known as The Lizard and goes on a rampage on a bridge.

Spider-Man sees the scene and briefly fights with The Lizard before the reptilian retreats into the sewers. While visiting Doctor Connors' lab, Peter figures out that Connors is The Lizard after seeing a rat they used to test the formula on prior become a vicious creature. He tries to tell Captain Stacy, only for the policeman to dismiss Peter's claims, making a Godzilla reference when he asks Peter if he looks like the mayor of Tokyo to him. If only you tried to clarify everything, Pete.

The Lizard starts planning to mutate everyone in New York into lizards just like himself and eventually figures out that Spider-Man is Peter Parker. One night, The Lizard hatches his plan and heads to Oscorp Tower to put his plan in motion. Captain Stacy captures Spider-Man, but ends up letting him go when he finds out who is underneath the mask. Gwen Stacy heads to Oscorp, willing to help Peter.

Peter battles The Lizard atop Oscorp Tower in a battle for the fate of the city and pretty much all of mankind. The Lizard unmasks Peter during the fight and taunts him, saying he's all alone with no parents and no uncle, until Captain Stacy comes in to aid Peter only for The Lizard to critically injure him. Peter stops The Lizard's plan and the reptilian creature turns back into Doctor Connors.

New York is safe, but at the price of Captain Stacy, who tells Peter to leave Gwen out of this with his dying breath. Gwen's father dies and Peter vows to keep his promise to him, even telling Gwen about it at one point. But a talk with Aunt May makes Peter reconsider. "If you are anything, its good." May tells him. The movie ends with Peter and Gwen attending school together. A post-credits scene shows Connors in prison while a mysterious man talks to him.

What do I think of this movie?

Well, overall, regardless of its flaws, its really good. My mother even said at one point that Andrew Garfield is her favorite Spider-Man and really likes The Amazing Spider-Man over the Sam Raimi films and the MCU Spider-Man. I actually do agree with many others that it is a good superhero film, its not too bad if you ignore the issues it may have. 

Andrew Garfield was a fine pick for Spider-Man and having him fight The Lizard in this installment was an alright idea. After all, Spider-Man 4 was going to see Peter fight The Lizard anyway and TASM is pretty much a fourth Spider-Man movie regardless of the continuity. And as for Gwen Stacy being Peter's love interest instead of Mary Jane Watson, that's fine, Gwen was Peter's girlfriend in the comics well before Mary Jane was Peter's love interest.

The Amazing Spider-Man has some fun action sequences and the tone of the film is quite interesting to take in, especially since it was apparently trying to emulate the tone of the well-received Nolan Batman trilogy. Marc Webb and crew set out to create an engaging Spider-Man reboot and they succeeded. Its an alright movie for its time with good acting, decent screenplay and engaging moments throughout. I give this film an 8.5 out of 10, go watch it if you want to see this. You'll not be put off by it at all.

Next time; The Amazing Spider Man 2 (2014). See you later...

-James M

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