Certificate 12A, 136 minutes
Director: Marc Webb
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans
The Amazing Spider-Man is available in both 2D and 3D films. The 3D version was the one watched. This isn't a sequel to any of the previous three Spider-Man films starring Tobey Maguire and directed by Sam Raimi, but is instead a reboot of the series. There was originally a Spider-Man 4 and possibly 5 planned, but it/they were cancelled due to disagreements between Sam Raimi and Sony resulting in the reboot being made instead.
A couple of familiar faces are missing from this version; neither Mary Jane Watson (often Peter Parker's girlfriend) nor J. Jonah Jameson (the editor of the Daily Bugle and Spider-Man's newspaper nemesis) appear in the film, although Peter is not yet working for the newspaper, so it's quite likely that JJ will appear in a sequel, if any. Norman Osborne also doesn't appear in the film (or Peter's best friend, Norman's son Harry) although he obviously exists, as OsCorp features prominently and much of the film takes place in OsCorp Tower and Norman is referred to frequently.
Spider-Man/Peter Parker is played by Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), and his love interest in this film is Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, Birdman, Zombieland) who was in the comics Peter's first girlfriend and is the daughter of police Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) who is determined to catch Spider-Man, who he considers a vigilante and a public menace. The film starts at Peter's parents house when, after a break in, his parents Richard (Campbell Scott) and Mary Parker (Embeth Davidtz) take him to stay with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Be sure to take a look at the notes on the blackboard in Richard Parker's study - even if most of it is gibberish, there are some bits that are relevant.
As a teenager, after coming across his father's briefcase, Peter discovers that Richard Parker used to work at OsCorp with Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), which is a different backstory to the one in the comics. There are suggestions in the film that there is more to be told on this prior partnership. Dr Connors did appear in Spider-Man 2 and 3, although he was a minor character and he was never developed any further. In this film he gets a full part as Spider-Man's enemy is The Lizard, who was at one point the suggested villain in the cancelled Spider-Man 4.
The film does take a while to get to any real action, with a fair bit taken up by Peter being left at his Aunt and Uncle's and later finding out about his father's research which results in him going to see Dr Connors, before he finally gets bitten by the spider. Even then, it still takes some time before he dons his full costume, as always, Uncle Ben is killed by a criminal that Peter could have stopped as he had at that point acquired his powers, and his death provides the motivation. This slow pace to get started probably accounts for the length of the film, but with being a reboot it was probably necessary to show the backstory again. At least Peter is still bitten by the spider, even if the spider's origins are no longer the same.
Watch out for the cameo of Stan Lee (one of Spider-Man's creators) in the film, something he regularly does in Marvel films, where he continues doing his job oblivious to Spider-Man and The Lizard fighting behind him.
The 3D didn't add all that much to the live action scenes, only to those using computer graphics. This was driven home by the fact that for the first 15 minutes of the film, the 3D wasn't actually working (when the 3D was fixed, the film was started again from the beginning) and the difference wasn't that noticeable.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a decent reboot of the series. Andrew Garfield does a good portrayal of the struggling yet brilliant Peter Parker, and also of his much more confident alter-ego Spider-Man. It may be a surprise to see Gwen Stacy replacing Mary Jane Smith as the girlfriend even though Gwen did appear in some of the previous films, but this is true to the original stories. Be warned, there is a short scene in the middle of the credits, so if you leave early, you will miss it.