As a colleague pointed out recently, Marc Webb's “The Amazing Spider-Man” exists thanks to a fairly bizarre business-minded justification: the 13-year-olds who lined up for this Spidey “creation story” were watching “Blue's Clues” when the 2002 Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire version hit theaters, so they never saw Peter Parker on the big screen.
As for everyone else, the mere existence of “The Amazing Spider-Man” signals dank times for creative minds. Is it time to recast “Harry Potter” yet?
That said, Webb's version is perfectly enjoyable and well acted by Andrew Garfield as Peter and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy — Garfield is a strong and believable presence as a social outcast who finds purpose and power thanks to a spider bite, and Stone does right by the brainy and self-assured Gwen.
But from a creative standpoint, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is treading too-familiar territory, all the way down to the Uncle Ben/Aunt May (Martin Sheen and Sally Field) storyline.
The solid script and cast, which also includes Rhys Ifans as morally challenged geneticist Dr. Curt Connors, makes a solid argument for continuing “Spider-Man” films with new players, but Webb and his writing team should explore new cinematic territory — there are 50 years worth of canonical stories involving Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's character. And if that fails, try spinning a new web.
— George Lang