“The Amazing Spider-Man” is a reboot of a blockbusting franchise that got off to a good start with “Spider-Man” in 2002, web-slung to towering new heights with “Spider-Man 2” in 2004, and lost its footing with “Spider-Man 3” in 2007. While each of those films were helmed by horror maestro Sam Raimi, this redo is directed by indie newbie Marc Webb, who may or may not have been hired for his eerily appropriate surname. Webb was a good choice: he displays a deft hand at directing drama, romance and action in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and balances them with profound ease and impressive skill. Once again, a “Spider-Man” franchise gets off to a good start. I look forward to its inevitable sequel and look warily upon its probable threequel.
The Peter Parker, and indeed Spider-Man, of Raimi’s trilogy was played by Tobey Maguire, who was 27 years of age when he first played the super-powered high-schooler. In Webb’s film, Peter is played by Andrew Garfield, who is now 28 years old. In spite of the one-year advantage Maguire had over Garfield in playing a teen, I found Garfield more convincing in the role: the L.A.-born English actor, utterly enchanting as Eduardo Saverin in David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” has one of those faces that looks perpetually young or, more specifically, adolescent. Teenage girls could take him home to show daddy, and daddy wouldn’t bat an eyelid. (Continue Reading…)