It's no secret that Sony rushed this film into production to meet its copyright deadline, using an inexperienced director and making it a reboot of a franchise that was very popular and still recent enough to be in the collective minds of the audience. It was a reciepe for disaster. What follows is a "been there, done that" rehash of the first films. Similarities were inevitable since they come from the same source material but this movie still followed the same beats as the first movie to the letter and even included aspects that only existed in Raimi's films. For instance, Curt Conners talks to himself a la Willem DaFoe in the first movie, a trait that neither of the villains had in the comics. At the end, Peter has to make a promise to a dying man and push his love interest away after a tragic funeral. If they took a cue from the original comics, they could have easily avoided this but they seemed afraid to stray too far form the "Raimi-formula". There's also the very tired supervillain plot of the bad guy wanting to use a gas/energy/whatever to turn the population of a city crazy/monstrous/whatever. There are differences, however. While Uncle Ben's death in the comics and the first movie was a direct result result of Peter Parker's hubris and newfound powers, in this movie, Ben dies because Peter was simply being selfish while buying chocolate milk. One gets the impression that events would have transpired exactly whether or not Peter had powers, completely destroying the "Great power comes great responsibility" aesop. Peter then becomes your typical hero driven by revenge as opposed to a hero driven by guilt (something that is still original to this day). The fun and classic feel of the original movie has also been replaced by an uneven tone that did not know if it wanted to be lighthearted or dark, grounded or epic. That said, there are great performances by Garfield, Sheen, and Leary. Leary is a good replacement for the loudmouthed J. Johnah Jameson (even though Captain Stacey never acted that way). Garfield is charming and likeable as Peter Parker and Sheen is a wise, fatherly, and very enjoyable Uncle Ben. It's a shame this movie could not have been better.
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