Note: some minor spoilers.
I’m going to shift things up a bit, as the movie has been out for a while. First, I’d suggest reading this, which compares the Raimi Spider-Man movies with The Amazing Spider-Man. This covers many of my problems with the movie, though I enjoyed it a bit more than that reviewer.
I’d like to doubly call out the new movie’s score for being terrible. A good score stays out of the way of what’s happening on screen. A great score adds depth and dimension. A terrible score knocks you out of your immersion into the movie, and this one does that at a few different points. Seriously, Gwen is hiding in a closet from a huge fucking lizard monster, and it sounds like there’s a pianist just hammering away on the keys just a few feet away. I don’t normally get distracted by the music in a movie but I was rolling my eyes big-time. Way to ruin a moment.
Speaking of Gwen, Emma Stone is absolutely gorgeous as Gwen Stacy, even though they wedged her firmly in the plot by having her work for Dr. Connors. How convenient! Much better love interest than Kirsten Dunst as MJ.
I was also bothered by Dr. Connors – I never felt sorry for him, not really. He was successful, despite his missing arm, and the (small) references to Peter’s parents hurt the likability too. Rhys Ifans is a good enough actor, but he just wasn’t given enough to work with to make Connors the tragic figure he needed to be. You just sort of…shrug.
However, the action scenes with Spider-Man fighting the Lizard are AMAZING (heh). The action looks like how Spider-Man would fight, using the webshooters in clever ways especially. I used to think the Raimi movies had decent fights, but these blow them away. I feel I got my money’s worth just from the combat.
Nitpicky stuff: The shoes – I didn’t actually think that his shoes were sticking to the walls, any more than regular rubber-soled shoes would. I’d have to see it again, though. I liked the tech-based webshooters. I thought they didn’t establish his love of science quite enough. Why is Flash Thompson at a ‘Science’ high school if he’s a jock? Seemed an odd change. Denis Leary as Captain Stacy was fun. Martin Sheen makes a good Uncle Ben, but the famous line didn’t make the cut. I thought Raimi’s Spider-Man dealt with him dying better. The older Aunt May worked better for me too, more like the comics and cartoons I’m used to. Sorry Sally Field.
I’ll say the movie was worth it for me just for the action and Gwen, despite the rest of the emotional parts falling flat. Still needs more humor, though I can see the conflict of putting more in when they are playing things a bit more serious than Raimi did. Bring back JK Simmons as JJJ and I’m good.