Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is an average kid in high school with an above average I.Q. He finds himself helping Dr. Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans), an old friend of his father’s, on a regeneration chemical that could bring back Connor’s arm. But things go awry as Parker is bitten by a genetically altered spider and gains super strength and agility. He, as any kid would, uses this power to goof off until Connor’s chemical turns him into a creature that wreaks havoc on New York City. Parker has to stop him while protecting his new girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
Finally, we can begin to forget. This movie is just about as perfect as a Spider-Man movie could possibly get. They took a lot of risks in making this film but they were all worth it for the final product. They changed an ton about his origin as well as how he handles parts of his secret identity, but the heart of the character is present. It’s been updated and modified to work in today’s world and it’s done with masterful precision.
Instead of going with the 1960s idea of what a loser is, they decided to make Peter Parker more of a modern day loser. The way he dresses and acts makes him relatable in almost an embarrassing way, and it’s all to build up to him learning about responsibility through his struggles. One of my biggest problems with the original trilogy of Spider-Man films is that almost all characterization is done through exposition. We never actually saw Peter do anything to prove to us that he was a science whiz, we were just told that he was. In this he proves it, building his modified web shooters and helping Dr. Connors with his experiments. We also get to really love Uncle Ben (Michael Sheen) before you-know-what happens. It’s all very touching and humanized, with some really fantastic character moments that grasp you by the heartstrings.
The movie also provides some excellent action and balances it rather well. Peter doesn’t really become Spider-Man until about halfway through the movie, but what happens before is compelling and what happens after is extremely entertaining. The action is stylized but grittier than in the original trilogy and they do a great job using the environment in the action. The effects are top notch and the cinematography is fantastic. Every time you see Peter fall from a building it makes you panic because it feels so real. The sound and the visuals mix beautifully to create a masterful work of art.
I sort of hate comparing this to the original trilogy because it is trying to be its own thing, but you can’t escape the fact that it’s such a recent reboot. I love comparing it to the other films though because it’s the first good Spider-Man movie, and it’s great at that. If The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t live up to its expectations (and trust me, I’m praying it does), this will be my favorite movie of the summer, and possibly the year. I just hope others agree with me and it doesn’t end up like Captain America last year.