In the newest entry of Spiderman, arguably the original was the one that started the great comic book craze, the cast is totally redone and the story is recreated. There is no tie to the original save for the stayed and true appearance of Stan Lee. As a comic fan, I have to stop and comment on the lack of Steve Ditko, who is the co-creator of the series. He and Lee had a falling out years ago and while I’ve no doubt he makes money off the series, is never given the credit he deserves. Anyway, in place of the occasionally talented Toby Maguire enters Andrew Garfield, to me, little known British actor who apparently has a feud with Robert Pattinson, can’t imagine why. Opposite Garfield is the adorable Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, previously played for three seconds by Bryce Dallas Howard in the 3rd Spiderman movie. His aunt and uncle were played by Sally Field and Charlie Sheen, both fantastic as Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben.
Casting aside, nothing new is seen in this version of Spiderman. Peter loses his parents at an early age, grows up with his aunt and uncle, gets bullied in school and gets bitten by a spider that magically transforms him into a superhero. He watches his uncle die and then decides to be a crime fighter. Where Garfield excels is where Maguire failed, the comedic timing of Spiderman. Peter Parker always made jokes, Toby Maguire isn’t funny and wouldn’t know funny if his life depended on it. Garfield had a way of delivering lines that made them as entertaining as Parker makes them in the comic. But that is the last advancement to Spiderman that fans can expect from Garfield. He has the same lost look and sad eyes that Maguire mastered long before and delivers his action in the same metered way Maguire did. It all seemed very orchestrated, and I know it is, but I shouldn’t be able to notice that.
The rest of the story revolved around the story of Dr. Curt Connors, the man who turns himself into the Lizard. He reveals nothing to Peter of the truth of his relationship with Peter’s father, but finds the variables to growing his arm back, and in so doing, transforms himself into a crazed half-man, half-lizard, bent on turning NYC into ground zero for lizards. Of course, Spiderman stops him, but at the cost of Gwen Stacy’s father, Captain Stacy of the NYPD played by Denis Leary.
The movie was about what I expected. Garfield was passable as Spiderman/Peter Parker, the rest of the cast fell into place in their supporting roles. Truth be told, the ‘adults’ of the cast were great, the kids, Garfield and Stone were somewhat mediocre in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Emma Stone in Easy A, but her version of Gwen Stacy wasn’t great, but just good. There were quite a few scenes where Gwen should be anything but funny, but Stone is just too funny for her own good and didn’t seem to get serious much, if at all. I thought she could have, but pulled away from it.
As I said before, for $6, this is worth seeing, but otherwise it isn’t a ‘stop what you’re doing to see’ movie. I had hoped it would be better, bring a fresh take to this overdone series, but it didn’t. If anything, it makes me miss the Ultimate Spiderman reboot done about ten years ago by revered comic scribe Brian Michael Bendis, if you don’t know him, shame on you.