"Amazing Spider-Man" reviews are in -- and they're surprisingly strong.
"Coming barely a decade after Sam Raimi’s first 'Spider-Man,' the 'reboot' called 'The Amazing Spider-Man' is clearly unnecessary and ought to be shunned for all kinds of reasons — chiefly to deliver a shock to the system of Hollywood execs whose primary job is finding merchandisable 'franchises' and studio 'tentpoles,'" wrote David Edelstein in his review for New York magazine. "But for all its underlying cynicism, the new Spidey picture is pretty damn good."
Sony, the studio behind both the original Spider-Man trilogy and "The Amazing Spider-Man," decided against making a fourth film with Raimi and star Tobey Maguire, instead opting for a reboot. Never mind that "Spider-Man 3" was only in theaters five years ago. "Five years is a lifetime in the movie business," Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal told the AP. "I wasn't troubled by it."
Neither are critics, apparently, as "The Amazing Spider-Man" has a 77-percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
"This is a more thoughtful film [than Raimi's 'Spider-Man'], and its action scenes are easier to follow in space and time," noted Roger Ebert in his three-and-a-half star review for the Chicago Sun-Times.
"The Amazing Spider-Man" stars Andrew Garfield as the title wunderkind and Emma Stone as his plucky love interest, Gwen Stacy. (Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man's famed girlfriend, does not appear in the film.)
Noting how wonderful Garfield and Stone are together onscreen -- the pair are also dating off-screen -- Movieline critic Stephanie Zacharek offered a chief difference between "Spider-Man" and "The Amazing Spider-Man": sexual tension.
Peter, having stolen into Gwen’s bedroom, tries to explain to her why he can suddenly cling to the sides of buildings and swing through the air with impossible lightness. 'I’ve been bitten,' he stammers. She leans in close with her husky whisper: 'So have I.' And that sound you hear is the cumulative sigh of a million viewers who suddenly sort of remember, maybe, that there can be something more to movies than elaborate yet repetitive action sequences and strained 3-D effects. You’ve got a girl and a guy in a bedroom, alone. Aren’t you just dying to see what happens in the next panel?
Of course, not every critic agrees. While Badass Digest's Devin Faraci allows that Garfield and Stone are good together, the rest, he feels, is not.
"[T]he superhero stuff kicks in and the movie shudders and begins falling to pieces before finally becoming a howlingly bad shitshow for the final action scene. The only thing amazing about this movie is how badly it goes off the rails," Faraci wrote.
Deadspin critic Will Leitch was more kind to "The Amazing Spider-Man" -- his final grade is "C+" -- but he can't get past one big problem: "It's professionally made and competent and sincere and well-acted, but it never quite overcomes the nagging sense that there's no reason for it to exist."
For more "Amazing Spider-Man" reviews, head over to Rotten Tomatoes.