There are more superhero movies now than ever before. Why? Where would you find a better collection of stories & characters in the past 60 years than in comic books? At first, I thought "another Spiderman movie?" The first Spiderman movie was in 2002 with Toby Maguire, and that doesn't feel so long ago...but to a 14 year old teenager (who was sitting next to me, my daughter) that was a lifetime ago.
She didn't go to the movies to see Spiderman with me in 2002, she was 4! (She did go to Harry Potter though and ran up and down all the aisles.) But she was interested in the reboot, (I'm guessing because of Andrew Garfield and his complicated hair and the delightful Emma Stone as Peter's first real love "Gwen Stacy".)
After the movie was over, I kept thinking about where this movie ranks with all other "hero" movies, and where it ranks with the other Spidey movies, and how it stacked up against Garfield's "Social Network", and Stone's "The Help" or maybe "Superbad"....
I judge all "hero" movies by "The Dark Knight". That is my all time favorite comic book related-hero movie. Everything else hasn't come close yet. "The Avengers" was great, I dig the "Iron Mans", and the other Marvel set-up movies, (Captain America, Thor), but Spiderman is also one of my favorite comics so I have a special place for the young introverted teenager who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and his life changes.
I enjoyed this movie. Thats what movies are supposed to do, give me 2 hours of escapism. Entertain me and keep me engaged so that if even my cell phone vibrates I don't check to see who texted or called because I'm so enthralled in the story. There were a couple of dragging moments in "Amazing Spiderman" that could have moved along a little quicker.
I found myself drawn to Andrew Garfield's hair. I have no idea why, but I found myself thinking, "That is some complicated, hipster hair." His back n' forth with Emma Stone was actually very enjoyable. Seeing them fall in love, watching it play out in dialogue was a plus for the movie. It took a good while for the 'action' to get rolling but once Peter Parker started figuring out that he had something special within him, some acrobatics really took over. (Seeing this in 3D was fun too.)
Here is my one problem with superhero movies, and I think it is probably a nerdy-generational thing...KEEP YOUR FREAKING MASK ON! Heroes rarely ever revealed themselves to anyone in the comics I grew up reading. I can remember in 2002 seeing the first Spiderman movie and when Toby Maguire pulled off his mask, I literally gasped. "YOU DON'T DO THAT!"
I guess I love secret identities. I think I remember one movie where the revealing became part of the dialogue, "is there anybody else who hasn't seen you are yet?" But I figure you have these huge, egotistical actors who need to be seen when us nerd-purists are literally coming to see the "hero" not the actor.
There was a fun little conversation between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy at their high school, and the director chose Coldplay's "Kingdom Comes" for the soundtrack...it worked. The villian; eh. I don't know that there was enough threat to the Lizard. I was more emotional attached to Peter's revelation that he cannot love someone because it would immediately put them in danger or harm's way. That scene was pretty powerful.
All in all, I would put this in a Top 10 list of Superhero movies, towards the bottom 5. Its enjoyable, its got 'franchise' written on it, I hope Andrew Garfield has a decent run as Peter Parker, (I liked him better than Toby Maguire - I always pictured Parker as this lanky, high school-socially awkawd kid and Garfield pulls it off pretty well.)
I'm pretty sure "Dark Knight Rises" is going to rule though.