You Had Me At Tobey Maguire’s Not In It:
A Review Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

July 4th, 2012 // 62 Comments
The Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield

In 2002, I was at the height of my Spider-Man obsession thanks in no small part to Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man. So I couldn’t have been more hyped to finally see a Spider-Man movie. In fact, the day it came out, I was still at college and made a two and a half hour drive home that morning to catch it with my dad, who got me into comic books, even though I had to be back that night for a final the next morning. From there, I witnessed a glorious clusterfuck of dumb-face and a fat, chunky Spider-Man that looked like a goddamn Power Ranger. It was terrible. Just fucking terrible. Granted, the sequel was slightly better – which wasn’t hard to do considering how bad the first one was – it really wasn’t that good, and I’ll punch anyone in the taint who says it’s one of the best comic book movies of all time. As for the cinematic rape known as Spider-Man 3, it’s rumored that Sam Raimi purposefully tanked it because the studio forced him to include Venom. A rumor that was even further bolstered when Spider-Man 4 was just about lined up, and suddenly Sam Raimi walked taking everyone with him after the studio demanded he include John Malkovich as the Vulture. (I may be paraphrasing all of that completely wrong.) Which brings us to The Amazing Spider-Man, a complete reboot of the franchise made solely for the fact that if Sony doesn’t keep churning these out, the rights go back to Marvel/Disney. And as shitty as the Raimi trilogy was, it made assloads of money, and Sony’s not about to let go of its golden goose. So don’t buy into the whole, “We wanted to tell the untold story about Peter Parker” because this puppy doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to Spider-Man’s origin. It was cynically farted out to make huge Spider-bucks again which surprisingly resulted in a pretty entertaining movie thanks to a great casting choice in Andrew Garfield whose Spider-Man mops the floor with Tobey Maguire‘s stupid, dumb face godiwanttopunchit.

The Shit That Worked:
- Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Just pitch-perfect, and I really hate to type this next part, with a modern edge. Finally, we have a thin, lithe Spider-Man who’s in way-over-his-head, but out there handling shit with snarky quips even while getting his ass handed to him. Plus he builds his own web-shooters! NERD-SQUEEEE! If you read the comics, this is the Spider-Man you know. Thanks to the script, which inevitably falls into boilerplate superhero movie cliches, you’re actually invested in this Peter Parker. Although some people want to say he’s the Twilight version of Spider-Man – Also, apparently his hair is the same as Robert Pattinson‘s, which it’s not and nowhere near that ridiculous. – Because a nerdy high-school kid whose parents died when he was eight followed by watching his uncle/surrogate father get murdered shouldn’t be a little moody in a few scenes. It’s not like he spends the entire movie brooding when he’s not whipping out his SparkleBoobs. Not to mention, Spider-Man predates Twilight by decades, and could you feel me adjust my taped up glasses on that one?

- Emma Stone. Emma Stone. Emma Stone Em… ma… Stone. Emma <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 ---<---<@ Yes, I'll put my spider-babies in you...

- The love story. Again, really don't get the Twilight comparisons, but apparently you can’t have two high school kids fall in love anymore without being compared to a shit-ass movie even though Gwen Stacy is nowhere near the empty, nothing without a man, shallow SparkleCock holster that Bella Swan is. And before anyone goes, “But both their dads are cops!” HER CHARACTER WAS CREATED OVER 50 YEARS AGO. *attempts to crush 12-sided-die in fist, has asthma attack instead*

- Apparently a lot of people thought this movie was going to follow the Ang Lee’s Hulk route of Peter’s dad performing experiments on him and that’s why he reacted to the spider bite. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Although, there’s a still slight chance for it in the sequel, I don’t see it happening and here’s a Vulture report saying it won’t either. His dad’s character was no Nick Nolte, although he was Roger Dodger, so read into that however you will.

- The scene when Spider-Man saves the little kid from the burning car. Just a really cool little scene that sets the movie apart from the campiness of the Raimi films. (The result of this scene later on in the film, however, was a cheese sandwich served up by Soul Man.) That said, this movie tried to go the gritty, realistic Christopher Nolan route only to realize that completely falls apart with super-powered Spider-Men and dudes transforming into Lizards.

- During the car-jacker scene that the set photos made look like gay porn, I’m almost 99% positive, Spider-Man landed on the guy’s face while yelling, “CROTCH!” I could be wrong, but if I’m not, greatest movie scene ever.

- No Tobey Maguire.

The Shit That Kinda Worked:
- The movie in general. After setting up some solid relationships between Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy and Dr. Connors (The Lizard), the movie devolves into your standard boilerplate summer blockbuster that rises slightly above the rest thanks to how well-written Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is. When Denis Leary’s character asks Peter to make a promise, he completely sells the torment of “AHHH! But I was going to bang her!” Powerful shit.

- The origin story. As much as this movie claims to be the untold story, it still sticks to the same beats though handles them completely different i.e. Peter getting his powers. You see Uncle Ben’s death coming a mile away, it’s so horribly telegraphed if you’ve seen the other films, that the scene loses all resonance, but the aftermath is handled so well, you’re pulled right back into the movie. At least for me, Photo Boy was bored through the whole thing because he felt it was the same story which I’ll get into down in The Shit That Shit.

The Shit That Shat:
- No Kirsten Dunst’s breasts bouncing. You’ll notice this almost right out of the gate.

- That the Sam Raimi movies even happened. Unfortunately for The Amazing Spider-Man, there was a Spider-Man origin movie that came out not too long ago, so it’s almost impossible not to compare it and feel like you’ve seen this all before. Granted, the movies aren’t that similar, they hit a few of the same notes that I can easily see how others might find it repetitive. Which is a shame because this was a much better version of Spider-Man than those other abortions.

- “Oh, hey, I’m a brilliant scientist injecting myself with needles I really want to keep sterile. I’ll build a lab in the sewer next to piss and shit.”

- The wacky sports hijinks. Apparently, everyone at Peter Parker’s high school sees kids fly across a basketball court and throw footballs so hard at a goal post that it bends all the time. NBD.

- The hipster indie soundtrack. We get it, Marc Webb, you directed (500) Days of Summer.

- “So, he’s on top of the building, but how’s a wounded Spider-Man going to beat The Lizard who we just showed can spontaneously regenerate from a barrage of bullets?”
“…. Will just have him find some liquid nitrogen on the roof.”
“Wow, that’s fucking lazy. Make it happen.” – Screenwriter’s Meeting

- Photo Boy didn’t have time to grab a post-movie burrito. One day he will have children, I will eat them.

- The obligatory, looks like a video game cut-scene of Spider-Man swinging through New York that’s in every one of these things. I get it, he shoots his web at the camera, so the mouth-breathers who plunked down for 3D don’t feel ripped off. But here’s how the ending could’ve solidified this as a Peter Parker movie as opposed to Spider-Man: Andrew Garfield says his last line. Emma Stone reacts. BOOM. Throw up the logo, roll credits and no one’s got a fistful of ham.

After the 800-page Prometheus review, I promised myself I’d keep this one short, so bottom line: I enjoyed the hell out of The Amazing Spider-Man even though it’s impossible not to compare it to the Raimi version, and Great Escape 14 shoved the non-3D version into the smallest theater they had, so a Latino dude and his girlfriend sat directly next to me and talked the entire time. (Fun Fact: He really wants the Spider-Man video game AND Assassin Creeds 3. Also, he’s apparently never seen an explosion before because without fail, every time one happened, even in the trailers, he’d say some word in Spanish I didn’t recognize. Sounded like “Back Cone.” Although, he did say “Bat-mano” during the Dark Knight Rises trailer which was almost worth the talking. Almost.)

3.5 out of 5 inhalers, and “How has this guy ever gotten laid?” is a completely natural and appropriate response to everything you just read.

Photo: Sony/Columbia Pictures


  1. Katie

    you are a reasonable person my friend. great review!

  2. Dick Hell

    Since all I know about this movie is based on the above graphic I have to ask, is Dexter really Spider-Man?

  3. And here I thought I was the only one who felt the Sam Raimi movies sucked ass. Except I consider #2 to be even worse than #1. “Oh, by the way, to assist me in this fusion demonstration, I’m going to hook up these artificial-intelligence robot arms that I’ve developed. But pay no attention to that cool shit that I just dropped on you, only the fusion.” There was also some big speech Aunt May gives Peter about two-thirds of the way through that made me feel like banging my head against the seat in front of me—and maybe I actually did that. Fortunately, that’s about all I remember. (Didn’t even bother seeing #3.)

    Your “audience participation” is the reason I generally wait a few weeks to see any new major release. Maybe you should see if Buzzmedia can get you into press screenings. (Bet that “Spanish dude” wasn’t actually from Spain, though.)

    • Brooke

      He said Latino, but maybe there was a stealth edit.

    • I also loathed the Raimi movies, with the addition that they not only drove me to want to smack Maquire, but to sock ol’ MJ Dunst in the snaggleteeth as well.

      Fish, while you had my undying allegiance at “shallow SparkleCock holster” I will still fight you to the death for Emma Stone – and I love her so much I’ll fight dirty and stomp on your glasses right out of the gate.

      More reviews!

    • SMB

      Thank you, Fish… Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
      (you too, TomFrank)

      I am SO fucking tired of having the same fucking argument with the guys at my comic book store, and feeling like i’m taking crazy pills… i just knew i could’nt be the only comic book fan who did not fall for the heaping piles of crap that are the raimi movies… i am SO fucking sick of hearing them “debate” why this one was superior to that one and why, like they’re fucking saying something real. *UGH* …no one has made the spiderman movie i want to see… i feel like spiderman should be treated exactly the same way as richard donner’s superman (1978) …tell me that the pathos of pa kent’s death is’nt EXACTLY how uncle ben’s death should be portrayed (and the sweet, loving relationship with ma kent = aunt may) …tell me that the way they handled young clark learning about his powers is’nt EXACTLY the way it should happen with peter …tell me that the way young, humble, quiet, shy clark was portrayed is’nt EXACTLY how young peter should be portrayed except with extra nerd & awkwardness …and i would rather see MJ as pete’s object of affection and have it play out the same way clark & lois were played out, rather than gwen stacy (who’s really only a footnote in the spiderman lore, mainly because of her death)…THAT is the spiderman movie i want to see, the way lee & ditko envisioned him… not just another formulaic, glossy, big-budget hollywood action film. (and will someone PLEASE explain to me; how the fuck does this high school kid afford these fancy-schmansy, overly-detailed, overly-designed, hi-tech costumes they keep putting him in…jesus…at least make it look like something a lower-middle class high school student from queens could put together…oh, and, if this movie does explain that, ignore my previous rant)

      i will say, however, i trusted your thor review, and hated that movie…hated. (thor has been my favorite marvel character since i was 8…and this was NOT the thor movie i wanted to see, not even a little) …BUT, that not withstanding, you are now my 2nd favorite movie reviewer, next to plinkett …keep up the awesome work, son!!! xoxoxo

  4. DeucePickle

    My favorite part of the first Raimi Spiderman was Macho Man as Bonesaw.
    “Bonesaw is reaaadyyyyyyyy”
    Also, *attempts to crush 12-sided-die in fist, has asthma attack instead* – awesome.

  5. metal_gear

    Go to hell. I LIKED Tobey as Spider-Man, and Spider-Man 2 was my favorite.

    Although if he kept taking his mask off, I was going to go mental…

  6. MyCoworkerIsHot

    I was going to skip this, cause I am so sick of spiderman and that Andrew guy looks really small, like tiny, like not manly- I dunno. I thinki was just sick of tobey. So thanks for the review I think I will head out to watch it. My husband will be so happy.

  7. Scooter

    People actually like Andrew Garfield in this movie? The guy has a total of 10 lines of dialog in the film. Totally looks like a svelte, teenage boy hero, but damn is he not compelling. If Toby Maguire was annoyingly melodramatic, Andrew Garfield is on the exact opposite of that spectrum in the who-gives-a-shit territory.

  8. ohonore

    FYI: Hispanic guy was probably saying “vacano”, which means cool. I didn’t know people still said that, actually.

  9. Brooke

    I wasn’t going to see this movie because it was too soon for a reboot, but your review makes me think I might see it with my brother when I visit the US this month. I actually liked that Spider-Man shot real web in the Raimi movies, even though the comic was different, since that added to the spider mutation (and if Parker can build web shit, he doesn’t need a radioactive spider bite to be a bitchin’ costumed hero, he can Batman it).

    I don’t think the lack of anything Kirstin Dunst is a bad thing, though. Even if it’s just her tits. She was a terrible MJ.

    • Actually, if Spider-Man tried to web swing without his powers, he would rip his shoulders out of the sockets. The powers give him a certain level of endurance and strength.

  10. Mike Walker


  11. Katrina

    i love your movie reviews! they are so smart and funny and you should really write more of them!

  12. Mandy

    I thought his yelled “Crotch” too, so I laughed like a mother fucker. But no one else in my theatre laughed – so I guess he didn’t say it?

    I thought some of the CGI was uncomfortably bad. The lizard’s face was something from a made-for-TV movie, and the scene where he jumps across the court to dunk the basketball was cheesey as hell (maybe it looked weird because I saw it in 3D?)

    Emma Stone was amazing and I want to marry her. I did love the Tobey McGuire movies, but I think Andrew Garfield did awesome and I can’t wait for the sequel to this.

    • JPC

      Is it possible he said “Catch!” instead of “Crotch!” (as in, “Here comes my crotch, catch it with your face!”)

      They could conceivably sound similar when shouted (try it out in your head), and would explain why the rest of the audience didn’t laugh.

      Or he really did say “Crotch,” and the other people in your audience had terrible senses of humor.

  13. Recognise, with an 's'

    What’s a spider-man?

  14. Mauricio Muniz

    Thank God more and more people are coming out of the closet regarding the awful Raimi movies. They were so, so bad. SPIDER 2 was the worst of the bunch for me. People malignates the third movie, but it was just on pair with the other two and had even some good setpieces.

    AMAZING is not really “amazing”, but it is a big improvement! It is kind of SPIDEY BEGINS and it is good enough for me want to check the next movie. THE WEB KNIGHT, anyone?



    • metal_gear

      Not only are you hating on the Raimi films, you’re hating on the best one….

      You’re on fucking crack-cocaine…

  15. El Jefe

    Easily the best Spiderman movie ever. Emma Stone was fantastic and gorgeous in it. It is worth it just to see her. It was a nice twist and modernization of the story. Even Dennis Leary did a great job and that is saying something because I despise that fucker.

  16. Gina

    I’m way more comfortable with my nerd-ness than I am with my interest in celebrity gossip, so the usually secretive time I spend on this site gets completely justified every time you review a movie. You review the right movies, you do it well, and you make excellent points, some of which I don’t even realize I agree with until I see it literally typed out for me.

    • eatme

      “You review the right movies”
      …ummmm, the only movies he has ever reviewed are the fucking retarded big budget mega flicks that all the fucktards of the world go to see.

  17. terry

    Give me a fucking break. How the hell paid this douche to denounce Sam’s Spiderman? Oh of course, the studios.
    By braining washing the suckers you can make way for this bullshit, quick buck trash. It amazes me how obvious the trolling is.
    I won’t be watching this crap.

    • We can be sure you aren’t brainwashed then. That would require a brain.

    • The REAL Terry

      “terry” huh? I didn’t think you’d be so butt-hurt as to not even capitalize your fake name, Mr. Raimi… Your movies with the Pillsbury Spiderman SUCKED! This thing wasn’t great, but it wasn’t crap, either. Nice review, Fish.

  18. klm

    The Fish has gotten laid? Pics or you’re a dirty fucking liar.

  19. You had me at “shallow SparkleCock holster”.

  20. Jon Hex

    I’m calling bullshit on the Raimi hate.

    • eatme

      Forget Sam Raimi doing wrong to Spider Man, Spider Man did wrong to Sam Raimi. One of my favorite directors making that fucking bullshit? Oh well, he’s doing his Oz movie now which is going to put the Spider Man franchise to shame. But if he hadn’t been pulled into Hollywood mega-film shitdom at all, he might have actually become a director making smart films for adults as he was becoming before the Spider Man shit can came knocking.

  21. This review makes me want to get down on one knee and ask you to be my lawfully wedded nerd.


  22. I loved the Raimi movies. One thing you’re forgetting about those movies is JJ Jameson. The man who played him in the first 3 nailed it perfectly.

    I’m definitely going to see this movie. Spider-Man is my favourite superhero.

    • The “man who played him” is J.K. Simmons, and you should check out his portrayal of Vernon Schillinger in HBO’s Oz if you think J. Jonah Jameson was a great performance.

      He’s one of the best fucking character actors alive and I may be forced to switch to Farmer’s Insurance because I can’t stand to have him disappointed in me.

  23. El Jefe

    There was nothing wrong with the Raimi movies, they were very good also, this one just happens to be different and better in my opinion.

  24. Julius B

    The Sam Raimie spidey are much better than this one. I saw this movie… and it felt shallow.

    Tobey Maguire’s spiderman has more gravitas to it.

    • Deryn

      Because that’s what you really need in a comic-book movie about a teenage science nerd in red footie pj’s flying around meting justice, is the gravitas.

  25. Good review. I loved the movie, no complaints from me.

  26. mfb

    THIS movie was very disappointing….once again we have our hero using super powers without a costume on and nobody notices that something might be a little off…..spidey takes his mask off way too much…..we get treated to about 40 minutes of suspense because our hero, get ready….GETS BITTEN BY A SPIDER!…thanks for the build up cause even 4 year olds know the origin by now….bad script, bad editing, bad score….great fight scenes…and whats up with parker crying every 30 minutes???

  27. O'chunt

    Hang on. This movie was painstakingly designed for and shot in native 3D — and you went to see the flat 2D version? You’re a fucking idiot. A good review otherwise but don’t go slagging off something you obviously don’t understand.

  28. dennis

    You are smoking crack with calling the Raimi trilogy as “shitty”. Name a good Marvel super-hero movie before the first Spider-Man was made?

    I do agree that Spider-Man sucked balls.

  29. Racer X

    This place is one big Nerdgasm. As for the TASM, meh.

  30. nicole

    I thought the movie was great and I am not a comic book person. I kept asking my husband if certain things followed the comic more and apparently they did. The only thing that bugged me terribly was that sometimes his hands and feet were really sticky and sometimes they weren’t. And then he puts a suit on and somehow still sticks to everything?? I still wish some version of this movie would explain why the spider bite did that to him. Were they genetically altered spiders? But the story was much better, much more time spent on the development of the characters.

  31. EricLr

    My favorite teen movie cliche is in full effect here: the fact that the “teens” are always played by actors pushing (or even well into) their 30′s. I guess at least this one isn’t as bad as Beverly Hills 90210 (where half the actors were pushing their *40′s*), or Smallville (where the actor playing “young” Clark Kent was older than Christopher Reeve in Superman I).

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  33. I dont believe those were breasts. I think they were just chest meat. Maybe I’m only saying this so that I never have to give Kirsten Dunst adult career any redeemable value.

    Either way I still prefer Bryce Dallas Howard’s Gwen Stacy over Emma Stone. She was more adorable and more attractive back then. Plus, it wasn’t her fault that Spiderman 3 sucked. She didn’t make him dance at the nightclub. Hollywood is not going to make me like Emma Stone. I don’t care how much better she looks than Kirsten Dunst. The Fukked up part is that Im not done being angry about her. Maxim or People or some other failing mag is going to put her on Top of their Hot 100 list simply because of how well she performs on the casting couch. Look, people, just because you like the “girl next door”, doesn’t make her the sexiest women alive. Since when does having a cool personality and the ability to not call the cops after being fukked in the ass after I got you drunk on Jager because It was either fukk you or a tubesock at 3am in the morning make you a sex symbol. Stop rewarding these 6s with first round lottery money. Its not that serious.

    • Watch “Easy A” and “Crazy Stupid Love” sometime – she’s sexy as hell in those roles and she can fucking act. And she didn’t get the lead role in “The Help” due to the “casting couch” – that route is reserved for the Lindsay Lohans of the world.

      Also, if you keep spelling it “fukked”, that means you’re still scared that mommy will find out you’re using naughty language and take your computer away. Stop being such an illiterate pussy.

    • JPC

      Spoken like a true virgin, Anthony.

    • Deryn

      I’d think this was Dina Lohan having a jealous tantrum, except for all the literacy.

  34. AG_Sux

    Another Spidey movie? Meh.

    If you liked this one, you have no life and need to get laid.

  35. Saw it last night, and I agree with Fish on this one. It was excellent.

    Oh, and judging by the subtitles (I’m danish – and I think they’re written part from the screenplay part from the dialogue in the movie) he did in fact yell “CROTCH!” when teabagging the carjacker.

    Good stuff, and even though I liked the costume somewhat better in Raimi’s versions, this IS the Spider-Man I know and love from the comics. But.. They should go with the Todd McFarlane big eyes on the mask though… Oh, and the web-shooters’ usage in the sewer scene – awesome..!

  36. alex

    Fish, photoboy or whoever is interested…THIS is a good review of this film…it seems you might be the only one that loved it.
    Just read these two…

    I loved the Raimi films (#3 not so much) but I am NOT excited for this…after the avengers, I can predict a letdown.

  37. FlyingOne

    Doc Oc was cool, Norman Osborn was cool. The biggest problem with the Raimi films was just that Tobey and Dunst were so bad in them. Like I wanted to cry during the Uncle Ben death scene until Tobey started sobbing like a little girl. Then it just felt awkward to watch,

  38. Boy

    Fish is correct best Spider-Man movie yet.and #2 was the worst film of comment on that!

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