To say I was dreading the new Spiderman movie would be an understatement. The first reboot was already just OK to me — way better acting than the Sam Raimi trilogy, at the expense of a fairly bland plot and a villain that was “not terrible” at best. Judging by all trailers, reviews, and spoilers I’d caught at SIGGRAPH, the new one had taken the leap from “better-acted version of Spiderman 1” to “better-acted version of Spiderman 3”, complete with an oversized plot, painful CG, and waste of a protagonist from Sideways. Add to that the tiredness of a midnight showing, my general ambivalence towards superhero movies, and the million other things I’d rather have been doing on a Friday night, and the deck was stacked fairly high against (I love that this is the actual director’s name) Webb’s film.
What I got wasn’t a perfect film by any measure, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. In the face of all the brooding Nolan wannabes, the Amazing Spider-Man’s quirkiness and charm gives a much-needed shot of levity to a bloated genre. The plot may be a little overstuffed and the villains one-note, but the 2+ hour film glides by on Webb’s magnetic confidence and Andrew Garfield’s pitch-perfect characterization. The latter might not be as fun as his Parks & Rec doppleganger (Jean Ralphio) but the dude has charisma to spare, and every Peter Parker scene should make Toby Maguire cry. I didn’t quite love it, but I was never not having a good time. It’s a crime that this is rated lower than Captain America.