'The Amazing Spider-Man' is a fantastic update to the franchise

By Jeffrey Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, July 3 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Unfortunately, “The Amazing Spider-Man” does have a few problems. The Lizard’s nefarious scheme — which, naturally, threatens all of New York City as supervillain plots tend to do — feels pretty clichéd and underdeveloped within the context of the film’s not-insubstantial 136-minute run time. Even though the bulk of the story rightly focuses on Peter, it would be a nice change of pace to see a superhero movie (aside from 2008’s “The Dark Knight”) that treats its villain with the same intelligence and care as the protagonist. Instead, the audience is spoon-fed exposition during one scene that features the kind of contrived computer simulation that only exists in Hollywood movies.

Likewise, the film’s CGI can be kind of hit-and-miss at times. For a lot of people, the most glaring of those CGI misses will end up being the Lizard himself. His basic design sacrifices the look from the comics in favor of something infinitely blander.

Unlike the majority of action-heavy movies these days, however, the fight scenes between Spider-Man and the Lizard manage the nearly impossible feat of remaining engaging in spite of the fact that they’re almost entirely computer generated.

Overall, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is a genuine blast with plenty of excitement and humor to balance more dramatic elements.

If “The Avengers” and now “The Amazing Spider-Man” are any indication, at least, it feels like the superhero genre is finally hitting its stride after a decade of inconsistent attempts to capture the feel of comic books on the big screen. Neither film is without a few minor problems, but they are easily two of the best summer blockbusters in the last decade.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" is noticeably darker in tone than any of Raimi's movies, but it's balanced with humor and the clearly identified moral lessons so intrinsic to the character of Peter Parker. Parents should be aware, however, that while its content is generally mild, the film does contain a few scenes of violence that might be deemed too intense for younger viewers, including a brief, but relatively bloody glimpse of an act of rat cannibalism.

A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.

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