Spider-Man has never been my favorite superhero. Before the whole web cartridge thing was explained to me, I just always pictured a guy with holes in his wrists shooting webs out of. Ewww. It’s the same reason I flinch every time Wolverine’s claws come out – it’s just not right.
I don’t know how closely this movie is the the comic canon but I’ll give you the cliffsnotes version: Peter Parker is given to his Aunt May and Uncle Ben (Sally Field, Martin Sheen) to raise because his scientist parents fear his safety, Peter (Andrew Garfield) grows up and is wicked smart, falls in love with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) gets bitten by genetically modified spider at Oscorp, and becomes a spider-man.
Uncle Ben dies, Peter gets all moody and serves up vigilante justice while looking for his uncle’s killer. Accidentally helps Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans) turn himself into The Lizard and has revelation that he should use his powers for good so he fights to stop him.
Is this the greatest superhero movie this year? No. But I liked it better than the 2002 Tobey Maguire “Spider-Man.” This version is darker and feels a lot more real.
What really sells me on this movie is the cast. Garfield is quick with great delivery. He manages to be humble and cocky at the same time, which is a hard combo. The way it’s written his teen spidey is a bit too angsty for me but he pulls it off in the end. He goes from nice guy, to moody jackass, to vengeful bastard, to happy hero all in about five minutes.
Stone, who I adore no matter what movie she’s in, is a beautiful blonde. She’s funny and quick witted, and a perfect match for Peter. Denis Leary, as police chief and Gwen’s father, plays … well … himself more or less, but it’s still good. Ifans delivers as the mad scientist turned supervillain. And Field and Sheen play off each other so well you almost believe they are an old married couple.
Whether it’s better written characters, or I just liked the casting more, it was easier to connect with these characters and care about their outcomes. It made the whole thing much more enjoyable.
This movie isn’t going to wow you with special effects or creative storylines but it’s an entirely decent superhero film. It asks you to suspend belief a couple times, once involving a very convenient line of cranes, but most of these movies do.
If you’re chomping at the bit waiting for “Dark Knight Rises,” this should tide you over.