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Review: This 'Spider-Man' just short of amazing

Published July 3, 2012 9:48 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Fourth of July weekend isn't a weekend this year, since the holiday lands on Wednesday - but Columbia Pictures isn't listening to anyone else by setting a release date for "The Amazing Spider-Man."

This is fitting, since Columbia didn't listen to anybody when it decided to reboot the Marvel Comics franchise, only 10 years after Sam Raimi directed Tobey Maguire as the iconic wall-crawler.

This version of the Spider-Man origin is blessed with a solid cast, led by Andrew Garfield as nerdy Peter Parker and Emma Stone as his brainy crush, Gwen Stacy. Other standouts are Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Peter's guardians, Uncle Ben and Aunt May.

The storyline takes an odd detour, establishing a conspiracy backstory involving Peter's absent father (Campbell Scott), before getting to the familiar origins — of how a genetically engineered spider bites Peter, giving him superstrength and sticky hands. Soon Peter is fighting crime, seeking the thief who kills Uncle Ben in a street incident.

Director Marc Webb ("(500) Days of Summer") gets the character chemistry between Garfield and Stone just right. His skills as an action director are merely serviceable, but the visual-effects teams tend to drive the bus in an action movie's final third anyway.