The Amazing Spider-Man REVIEW

Spidey vowed never to give Mr Tiddles own-brand cat food again.

Release Date: 26 November 2012
2012 | 12 | 136 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£24.99 (Blu-ray)/£29.99 (3D Blu-ray)
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

So much of the chatter around this reboot focussed on how soon it came after Sam Raimi’s swing at the franchise, a slant that unfairly detracted from the new stars’ comfortable assumption of the iconic Marvel roles.

Viewed on its own merits, this 50th anniversary take on the wall-crawler is intelligently cast and vibrantly realised. It attempts to deepen the Spider-myth by layering in secrets about the Parker parents’ past, but its real triumph is the chemistry between its young leads, colouring our wisecracking hero as a thoroughly modern geek instead of a stereotypical High School loser, and partnering him with a charismatic Gwen Stacy.

The spider-bite origin story is woven in, of course, but this is essentially a tale about ol’ Webhead protecting New York from the Lizard’s rampages. Gene therapy experiments are the foundation – there are hints about research conducted by Peter’s father and the frail head of Oscorp pursuing a medical breakthrough – leading to Rhys Ifans’s Dr Connors wreaking reptilian havoc when tests to regenerate his amputated arm go awry.

Sadly, the CGI Lizard is a charmless, unconvincing villain; Peter has a greater sense of emotional conflict with Denis Leary’s police chief. Nonetheless it’s an accomplished start to the relaunched franchise, with some balletic action scenes that never overwhelm the touching character moments. It’s almost enough to make you forget Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst altogether.


Pleasingly, there’s a heap of informative behind-the-scenes chit-chat. The DVD (rated) nets you commentary by Marc Webb, Marvel’s Avi Arad and producer Matt Tolmach, plus 11 deleted scenes (17 minutes), eight stunt rehearsal reels (12 minutes), and three galleries of production art. The two-disc Blu-ray adds seven short making-of featurettes (totalling 110 minutes) that interview cast and crew and address the issue of rebooting the series head on, plus 16 pre-viz scenes and storyboards (39 minutes), five image progression reels with commentary (12 minutes), and a three-minute piece on developing the spin-off videogame. Got a 3D TV? The Blu-ray 3D adds a guide to 3D with Marc Webb and a 3D image progression reel by Sony’s CG experts Imageworks (two minutes), and of course an eye-poking version of the film. All versions come with an UltraViolet digital copy.

David Bradley

For an alternate perspective, read our Amazing Spider-Man review from the theatrical release.
Watch a featurette on Spidey’s costume.
Read more of our DVD reviews.