I’ll just go ahead and put it out there: I really don’t want to like The Amazing Spider-Man. I already got the Spider-Man movie of my dreams eight years ago with Spider-Man 2. I’ve been a fan of Sam Raimi since Darkman, and I always saw him as being the ideal choice for this property. This reboot wipes the slate clean and starts from scratch, tossing everything Raimi and company did out the proverbial window. That really irks me, yet I still don’t want the film to fail. I want to be proven wrong come opening day. Spidey has been my favorite superhero since childhood, and I root for him no matter what. I’ll gladly eat a nice big slice of humble pie if the final product delivers.
One thing that is made clear right from the outset is that Andrew Garfield’s version of Peter Parker will be a vast departure from Tobey McGuire’s. The goofy nerd of the Raimi films has been replaced by a brooding, rebellious loner. He’s shown aggressively confronting school bullies. In keeping with this theme, the film seems to be portraying the emergence of Spider-Man in New York City as the beginning of a rebellious youth movement. His insignia is shown adorning a wall, graffiti style. Whether it was placed there by Peter himself is not revealed, but it seems to suggest that he has supporters among the populace.
Parker also exhibits more swagger while donning the Spidey costume. He makes a transition that Mcguire was never allowed to, morphing completely into the wise cracking web-slinger from the comics. His body language is more mime-like, and his fighting capabilities have been considerably upgraded. A confrontation with Swat team members shows him to be nimble and precise, like a parkour expert or a mixed martial artist. The movements feel spontaneous and instinctive, instead of looking as though Peter had the fight mapped out in advance. This Spider-Man doesn’t mind putting a few cops in the hospital to make a getaway.
As silly as it may sound, Marc Webb’s vision of Spider-Man seems to have a bit in common with the fascist version of Batman from The Dark Knight Returns. He’s a costumed rebel that strikes fear in the powers that be. I find that idea troubling, but nonetheless intriguing. Raimi’s version of Parker went too far left at times, turning him into a court Jester. Peter Parker 2.0 has been given a massive dose of testosterone. In a way, that sort of kills the nerd wish-fulfillment angle of the story. This kid looks like he was already confident and confrontational before getting bit by a radioactive spider. Still, as a lifelong supporter of the Arachknight, I pray that my fears will be allayed.