The Amazing Spider-Man reminds of when I got my new laptop. First I complained it wasn't needed, then saw the flaws coating the old one, & when the new one came found it not too different, but appreciated the little touches & improved interface. It was about the same thing, but streamlined. The best fix is throwing out the convoluted romance tangle that bogged down the previous trilogy. Here, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy just have a mutual crush, find each other cute, share mutual interests, try dating, and have fun together! There's no melodrama or forced "deep love" theme, just a relationship where two teenagers like each other. Also improved is that Gwen knows Peter's identity, the prime emotions-wringer last time. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry, and the subtext that they're dating in real life certainly assists. This new couple beats the banal "Pete-MJ" by a mile. But Dr Connors is mixed. As soon as he gives "a world without weakness" speeches, you know the guy could fall to the dark side in his sleep. The sudden drop of the Parental Abandonment angle also cut him from more development, leaving just a mad scientist with a lizard motif. But the Lizard itself is better than I expected. I was unsure how creative fights with a lizard foe would be versus, say, a man with mechanical limbs, but Lizard's hook is that he can burst out to attack whenever he wants, making him a credible threat throughout. He also can still talk, which may spice up the fights, except it's always the same rhetoric, so still not much to it. Better than the goofy Goblin, though. Rhys Ifans does give Connors a certain regality. Webb's grounded world is much better than Raimi's often cornball setting, and the funny now blends better with the serious. There's no character I can fault except Rajit Ratha, who sadly is just "evil Indian guy" and in the words of Rifftrax, who put "crucial lines of exposition in the mouth of an actor with an accent so thick"? But Uncle Ben wasn't one note like I expected, and I hoped he'd get to stick around for the whole film. The webflight feels more acrobatic now, and injuries are now believable and cut Spidey's ability. Oscorp's a cool mysterious building I hope the sequels explore. And I love how New York pitches in to help Spidey at the climax. You'll see how.
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