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Look what Spidey's snagged in his web: some early-bird reviews!
The Amazing Spider-Man doesn't open Stateside until July 3, but a handful of critics have already swung into action with their verdict on the highly anticipated reboot.
And although the friendly neighborhood webslinger has proven to be one of pop culture's most beloved superheroes, the flick is anything but a sure bet: It's got an untested leading man (Andrew Garfield) and a first-time big-budget director (Marc Webber).
Not to mention the fact that this do-over comes just five years after Tobey Maguire hung up his Spidey suit from Sam Raimi's trio of Spider-Man blockbusters.
Sure looks like it: Many reviewers seem sold on the reboot, singling out its fresh cast and darker tone, with just a few holdouts dinging the flick for failing to live up to its predecessors.
"Leaping back onto the screen with a new cast, crew, costume and a whole new array of daddy issues, The Amazing Spider-Man reboots the top-grossing Marvel franchise to altogether satisfying results," praises Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter. "Directed with emotional depth and plenty of comedic touches, this somewhat darker depiction inserts a touching portrait of adolescent angst into an otherwise predictable dose of CGI-fueled action."
"Webb successfully treads a fine line between keeping the hardcore superhero-movie fans happy and injecting a dose of meaningful affect," writes The Guardian's Andrew Pulver, noting that the director is "aided by a terrific performance from Andrew Garfield, who brings a genial unflappability…It's the successful synthesis of the two—action and emotion—that means this Spider-Man is as enjoyable as it is impressive: Webb's control of mood and texture is near faultless as his film switches from teenage sulks to exhilarating airborne pyrotechnics."
"Swinging from fresh to faithful-to-source, Marc Webb's reboot is a sparky, well-cast, often punchy Spidey spin" observes Total Film's Kevin Harley, "but it's also Spider-Man Begins Again, struggling in places to assert its own identity…. [Webb] gets enough right to sign us up for a sequel."
"The film's second half offers more than enough bungee-swinging through Manhattan's concrete canyons, immaculately rendered in vertiginous, silky-smooth 3D, to satisfy thrill-seekers of either sex," writes The Telegraph's Robbie Colin. "What's refreshing is how Webb makes those action sequences count: with a plot that rests almost entirely on the romance between his two leads."
The Daily Mail's Chris Tookey, meanwhile, derided the film as "an efficient piece of corporate filmmaking, but nothing more," adding that "there isn't a lot that hasn't been seen before, and although the special effects are impressive, they're no improvement on Spider-Man 2, which remains by far the best of the franchise. Webb. does a competent job, helped by his two talented leading actors, but doesn't bring anything fresh to the party.
"Webb's film is slow on plot, skimpy on character development," writes the Evening Standard's Nick Curtis. "The 'RealD 3D' is fine for the flying sequences, confusing in the fights, and gives that awful cardboard-cutout look to narrative scenes. Webb saves up most of the emotional punch for a downbeat, wet-eyed ending in which Garfield and Emma Stone are superb."