It's been just 10 years since Sam Raimi's celebrated Spider-Man film hit the big screen and shattered box-office records, and just five years since the trilogy stumbled to its conclusion with the messy Spider-Man 3. So when Sony Pictures announced a new franchise reboot fans of the franchise, many argued that it was too soon. Unlike Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy or 2006's Superman Returns, which put new tonal spins on their superheroes, The Amazing Spider-Man tells an awfully familiar origin story of how a teenage Peter Parker got his superpowers and became Spider-Man. Even the new Spidey, Andrew Garfield, is the same advanced age, 28, that Tobey Maguire was when he first played the web-slinging teen. Now that The Amazing Spider-Man is in theaters, have critics been swayed that the reboot was worthwhile after all?
It's unnecessary, but it's still great: Spider-Man film is so overly familiar that "I didn't much want to like" this movie, says Christopher Orr at The Atlantic. But it's impossible to resist the film's "infectious zeal and hokey grandeur." The three-dimensional web slinging is far more deliriously exhilarating than anything in the original trilogy. And The Amazing Spider-Man truly soars thanks to the "restless energy" of Garfield as Peter, and the "fierce yet amiable intelligence" of Emma Stone as paramour Gwen. It turns out that a film as "profoundly unnecessary as this one… can still be awfully good."
"The Amazing Spider-Man: A swing and a hit"
It's unnecessary, and lousy to boot: The reboot is "dumbed down, tarted up, and almost shockingly uninspired," says Ty Burr at The Boston Globe. The only real changes — besides the lamer dialogue and less charismatic performances — are a slight tweak in the backstory, which has Peter abandoned by his geneticist parents, and a beefed-up romance arc. Nothing in this new film holds a candle to 2002's jaw-dropping sequence of Spidey swinging through the Manhattan skyscrapers or making out upside down with Mary Jane.
"Spider-Man's amazing uninspired reboot"
Its redundancy is too much to overcome: To "retell the same origin story — while the original is still fresh in everyone's mind — is a bit of a head-scratcher," says Mike Scott at The Times-Picayune. The Amazing Spider-Man is a "rock-solid superhero flick," laden with dazzling effects and boasting a spectacular turn from Garfield, but it "never quite makes us shake the feeling that we've done this all before." Even the differences are too slight — a blonde love interest instead of a redhead, the green Lizard as villain instead of the Green Goblin. Perhaps the already-planned sequel from the same creative team will shine more when "not burdened by having to retell a story we all know."
"The Amazing Spider-Man: Franchise reboot is solid, though short of amazing"
Consensus: Rebooting the franchise so soon reeks of blatant cash-grabbing. And though the film is off-puttingly familiar, impressive effects and a star turn from the new Spidey go a long way to making it worth the price of admission.