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July 3, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

The overwhelming concensus among film critics is that The Amazing Spider-Man is perfectly adequate summertime fare and a clear improvement over Spider-Man 3, while not measuring up to the first two Spider-Man movies. Several critics credit the performance of British actor Andrew Garfield in the title role for lifting it above the usual razzle-dazzle of mostly computer-generated superhero movies. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune remarks that Garfield represents a significant change from predecessor Tobey Maguire. “He’s a rebel with a cause and ultralight ultra-thin metal cable shooting out of his wrists. And he’s very good.” Peter Howell in the Toronto Star is one of a number of critics who praise the film but maintain that it is a far cry from the original two. Nevertheless, he writes, “Andrew Garfield makes a dandy Peter and an even better Spidey, being far closer to the smartass Marvel Comics original than Tobey Maguire’s rather wan depiction.” In the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle comments, “Garfield is not nearly as charming or as idiosyncratic as Tobey Maguire. But Maguire’s reflective quality often rendered him passive. Garfield, a good actor, has a prickly, ruffled undertone that makes him, by nature, more active, more angry and more suited to prowling the streets at night. It’s easier to believe in his anger.” And Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post also finds Garfield’s portray impressive. “With his soulful brown eyes and mop of untamed hair, Garfield is winningly believable as a shy, nerdy outcast — and just as credible as the scrambling, preternaturally limber superhero who saves the day,” she writes. But a handful of critics refuse to go along. Lou Lumenick of the New York Post is one of them, remarking that Garfield could have made a fine Spidey “if he had been given a better script with something like the wit, charm and energy of the first two Spider-Man’ films. Instead, he’s saddled with a slightly darker version of the original film from 10 years ago — filled with unmotivated actions and wholly arbitrary plot twists. Add a slow-as-molasses first half, choppy editing, so-so effects and a chemistry-free love story, and you’ve hardly got a recipe for fun.” And Rafer Guzmán in Long Island’s Newsday calls the movie a “disappointment” and dismisses it as “a much-hyped, expensive-looking and ultimately soulless reboot.” As for Garfield, Guzmán writes, he “makes for a sullen, sour Peter.”