The Amazing Spider-Man
By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Action-packed series reboot has lots to offer Spidey fans.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Much is expected from those to whom much is given (or, in other words, with great power comes great responsibility). That's the theme that pushes Spider-Man to take on the much stronger Lizard, with some concerns about his abilities, since nobody else really has the ability to stand up to the bad guy. Teamwork and collaboration play important roles, and love (familial, romantic) is a big theme of the movie.
Positive Role Models
Peter Parker is really trying to do the right thing, but he often comes off as a classically immature teen -- self-absorbed, insensitive, and at times narcissistic. But that doesn't make him a bad guy; when it counts, he definitely comes through (although at the end it's not clear whether he plans to keep a very important promise). Gwen is a smart, independent young woman who, unlike many superhero movie female leads, doesn't need rescuing. Uncle Ben and Aunt May teach Peter the importance of responsbility and unconditional love.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of super-powered comic book-style action, including cars getting thrown off bridges, villains throwing heroes through walls, and assorted other mayhem. A mugging leaves a shot bystander bloody and dying, and Spider-Man's first crime-fighting efforts target other muggers, who are clearly outmatched and beaten badly. An NYPD assault team tries to take out both Spidey and The Lizard, using high-powered weapons that leave the web-slinger injured and bloody. The villain impales a cop with his long claws, leaving the officer critically injured. Some bullying among high school students.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirting, and a few romantic kisses.
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Infrequent swearing includes "ass," damm," "hell," "suck up," "oh my God," and the euphemistic "Mother Hubbard," used as an expletive. Some insults -- "stupid," "loser," etc.
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Products & Purchases
Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. A few scenes feature people searching the Internet on Microsoft's Bing browser and looking for medical information on WebMD.com. Several Sony products also get prominent placement, as do Nike shoes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The villain injects himself with a powerful drug that turns him into a giant lizard.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Amazing Spider-Man sticks pretty closely to the standard superhero template. There's an average guy (Andrew Garfield) who mysteriously receives amazing powers and is suddenly thrust into the unfamiliar role of savior, some tame romance (kissing, flirting), mild swearing ("damn," "hell"), and lots of comic book-style action -- cars getting thrown off bridges, villains throwing heroes through walls, and assorted other mayhem, some with weapons and a bit of blood. Popular actress Emma Stone co-stars as Spidey's love interest, and Martin Sheen adds gravitas in the tragic role of Peter Parker's kind Uncle Ben.
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The Amazing Spider-Man
Based on 54 parent reviews
It’s amazing just like the amazing Spider-Man!
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What's the Story?
In THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, young Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) watches his parents rush off in a hurry after parking him with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). They never returned, dying in a crash. It's a wound that Peter revisits from time to time, despite a pretty happy childhood overall (though he's not exactly -- or even remotely -- popular). Then, on a visit to Oscorp, the lab where his father once worked, a trip spurred by the discovery of secret files in his father's long-lost portfolio, Peter meets his dad's former colleague, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), and is fatefully bitten by a spider. Not just any spider: one that somehow transfers its strengths to a teenage Peter. His life will no longer be his own as he struggles to merge his Peter Parker self and his new alter-ego, one who will soon find a dangerous nemesis set to destroy Manhattan.
Is It Any Good?
Director Marc Webb brings a realism to the proceedings that's hard not to like in this superhero reboot. He lingers on the teen romance, which is delightful, and serves up thrilling action sequences without the show-off-y quality that too many superhero movies rely on. One gripe worth airing is about Spider-Man's nemesis: The Lizard seems scary enough, but not so scary as to be a worthy opponent. This Spidey wants to show off, as a teen encountering new powers would, and he deserved a proper fight.
Let's be honest, though: The Spider-Man franchise didn't really need a reboot. Sure, the third film of the last set, which featured the wonderful Tobey Maguire in the titular role, was a bit disappointing, but overall the series was a crowd-pleaser in many ways. So is there any reason to love this new outing, which treads over much of the same backstory as previous films did? Well, yes. Garfield brings a different but equally fantastic energy to the role; his Peter has a skater-on-the-fringes angst that's not emo and not super-boyish (like Maguire) but still perfect for a teenage superhero. He's antsy and curious and very charming. And it helps differentiate The Amazing Spider-Man from previous movies that Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), not Mary Jane Watson, is Peter/Spidey's love interest here.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the Spider-Man franchise. How is The Amazing Spider-Man different from the 2002 version with Tobey Maguire in the title role? Did this series need a remake of Spidey's origin tale? What do you think the main motivating factor was to make one? The story, or the money to be made?
It's hard to imagine a superhero film without plenty of action, including explosions, fights, and gunfire. How does the impact of the violence in movies like this one compare to that of other action or horror films?
Is Peter a role model before he becomes Spider-Man? After?
- In theaters: July 3, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: November 6, 2012
- Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
- Director: Marc Webb
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Run time: 138 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of action and violence
- Last updated: April 22, 2023
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