‘Amazing Spider-Man’ mixes romance and action

Photo: Marvel Entertainment/Columbia Pictures

The newest Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) isn’t an awkward teenager anymore.

By Alona Skipper, Staff Writer

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Simply put, The Amazing Spider-Man is the first superhero movie aimed specifically at women.

The new Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) isn’t the awkward teenager Toby McGuire once portrayed; Garfield’s superhero is a bright, intellectual young man. Then there’s his sharp young girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who wants to get under Parker’s skin even more than that radioactive chemical did and find out what it is that makes his Spidey-senses tingle.

Gwen’s father is a police captain who is out to stop both Spider-Man and his enemy, the Lizard (Rhys Ifans), a scientist whose genes get mixed with reptile DNA. It seems as though Gwen’s dad is as much of a threat as the super villain.

If the film were to have a weak area, it’s the super villain: Ifans’ character is not well-developed, and his tragic fall seems to be more of tumble. Some comic-book fans have also criticized the “unconvincing” special effects that bring Ifans’s alter ego to life, although I’m not sure what a convincing giant angry lizard in torn purple pants and a lab coat might look like.

But that’s not to say The Amazing Spider-Man is short on delivering the blockbuster action everyone loves to see. The film’s second half offers more than enough swinging through Manhattan, vividly shown in eye-popping 3D, to satisfy all thrill-seekers. But what I enjoyed the most is the way Director Marc Webb makes those action sequences matter, with a plot that rests almost entirely on the romance between his two leads.

In my opinion, The Amazing Spider-Man is very similar to the original comic book many fans grew up with, so the film brings many of us back to our childhoods. And unlike many critics, I prefer Garfield to McGuire as Spider-Man. I would recommend this movie to all who love an action-packed romance, and I give it four out of five stars.