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Young Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is left in the custody of his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) after his parents are forced to flee somewhere for some reason. Now, as a belligerent teenager, Peter seeks answers from his father’s associate Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) and Oscorp Industries – an energy company with a mutant spider division and a pretty tour guide/lab assistant who happens also to attend school with Peter Parker’s – and Peter gets bitten by a glow-in-the-dark arachnid and becomes Spider-Man an hour or so later.

Garfield overdoes it, too concentrated and eccentric for a Marvel hero. Unfortunately Rhys Ifans’s credentials as a great support actor (or is he?) don’t fit the corruptible but fundamentally sympathetic Spiderman nemesis that Alfred Molina perfected in Spiderman 2.

Covered with Sam Raimi’s leftover web residue, all surfaces have been tread from all angles and frames in some alternate universe. Where Batman Begins offered a distinctive genesis and re-imagining of the hero nearly 20 years after Tim Burton’s Batman  – surpassed by The Dark Knight – this is a recycled story told with less talent.

The film begs a keen ear to the genetic-trans-species-mutation-evolution-splicing but a deaf ear to its characters’ motivations – too much long-winded algorithm chatter equivocated with scenes of instantaneous limb re-growth.

Dr. Connor’s interest in curing the world of “human weakness” is an idiotic pretext for his experiment and he isn’t moved by a revenge fantasy or delusion – he just does it because he can do it, and does it to himself, which is inevitable for a mad scientist however still categorically stupid to most people. The hero’s rifling for identity has Parker indifferent at home, trespassing at Oscorp and invading the Stacey family apartment but he remains unchanged, and unburdened by his separate lives – as he was already an orphaned loser. He is instructed that he must do good, but with no evil in him with which to grapple – it’s too easy.

The Amazing Spider-Man had a sole purpose: to utilise 3D in a comic book adaptation but the 3D is awful and everything perplexing the viewers’ experience of what should be (but aren’t) very impressive effects are inane and flimsy conversations. The film’s only improvement is Emma Stone’s revival of Gwen Stacey – an intelligent, competent science wiz as opposed to Kirsten Dunst’s defenseless struggling actress.

* a version of this post originally appeared at filmblerg.com

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