I'm too far behind on other things to devote a whole lot of time to this, so this is more of a summary of impressions than a review.
I really enjoyed this movie. Andrew Garfield made a believable Peter Parker without being the sad-sack that Tobey Maguire came off as. Once again, as Cliff Robertson in his inevitably brief appearance in the first Sam Raimi movie – has it really been ten years? – Martin Sheen provided a wonderful moral center for the movie, instrumental in the transformation of the boy into a hero. I was less taken with Sally Field as Aunt May, simply because my image of the character is forever informed by the feeble old lady with one foot in the grave that was the staple of the first couple of decades of the comics, including the period of the 1970s-early 1980s which was the only time I've ever read Spider-Man with anything approaching regularity. While rife with difficult-to-swallow coincidence (see especially this blog for a humorous listing), the story more or less held together and brought together the various elements including the mystery surrounding Peter Parker's parents, why he was raised by his uncle and aunt, his origin, and so forth. I've always thought that the Sam Raimi movies lost a good bit of the basic character of the original stories by leaving Gwen Stacy as an afterthought, bringing Mary Jane Watson to the fore as the “first great love of Peter Parker's life.” And she was played very well by Emma Stone – she looked like John Romita's Gwen brought to life. I will say, however, that man, the New York Public School System must be very good, turning out geniuses like Peter and Gwen!
But I was not “blown away” by this movie as I was with the Raimi movies. Perhaps, as a good friend with whom I discussed it immediately afterward put it, I'm a bit jaded with modern special effects, simply expecting them to be excellent as they were here. But the fact is, as “amazing” as the image of Spider-Man swinging through the concrete and steel canyons of New York City remains in “real life,” I didn't find it as awe-inspiring as ten years ago, and I didn't sit there in open-mouthed astonishment this afternoon. And I truly pity the poor soul who wins the job in the inevitable sequel of bringing J. Jonah Jameson to life! I cannot imagine anyone not paling in comparison with J. K. Simmons' spot-on portrayal in all of the Sam Raimi movies.
Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing someone try, in the sequel(s) I eagerly await. Now, if Marvel Studios could just reach some kind of agreement with Sony-Paramount to unify the two movie universes into one truly unified Marvel Movie Universe as are the comics!
Cheers, and Thanks for reading!