The Amazing Spider-Man is a 2012 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man and sharing the title of the character’s longest-running comic book of the same name. It is the fourth to portray Spider-Man in film distributed by Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment and a reboot of the film trilogy preceding it by 2002–07 that was also distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The film was directed by Marc Webb, written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves and stars Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curtis Connors, Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy along with Martin Sheen and Sally Field as the uncle and aunt of Peter Parker, Ben Parker and May Parker. The film tells the story of Peter Parker, a teenager from New York City who becomes Spider-Man after being bitten by a genetically altered spider. Parker must stop Dr. Curt Connors as a mutated Lizard from spreading a mutation serum to the city’s human population.
Development of the film began with the cancellation of Spider-Man 4 in 2010, ending director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film series that had starred Tobey Maguire as the titular superhero. Opting to reboot the franchise with the same production team along with James Vanderbilt to stay on with writing the next Spider-Man film while Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves helped with the script as well. During pre-production, the main characters were cast in 2010. New designs were introduced from the comics such as artificial web-shooters. Using Red Digital Cinema Camera Company’s RED Epic camera, principal photography started in December 2010 in Los Angeles before moving to New York City. The film entered post-production in April 2011. 3ality Technica provided 3D image processing, Sony Imageworks handled CGI and James Horner composed the film score.
Sony Entertainment built a promotional website, releasing many previews and launched a viral marketing campaign, among other moves. Tie-ins included a video game by Beenox. The film premiered on June 30 in Tokyo and was released in the United States on July 3 in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D and released in home media in November 2012. Critical reaction was mostly positive, according to review aggregators Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, and the film was also nominated for several awards. The film was a box office success, grossing over $752 million worldwide, becoming the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2012, and the highest-grossing reboot of all time. The film’s sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, was released on April 16, 2014, with director Marc Webb and most of the first film’s main cast returning to their previous roles. A third film is set for 2016 and a fourth for 2018. In addition, Sinister Six and Venom spin-off films have been announced.
A young Peter Parker discovers his father Richard Parker’s study has been burgled. Gathering up hidden documents, Peter’s parents take him to the home of his Aunt May (Field) and Uncle Ben (Sheen), then mysteriously depart.
Years later, a teenaged Peter (Garfield) attends Midtown Science High School, where he is bullied by Flash Thompson (Zylka) and has caught the eye of the beautiful Gwen Stacy (Stone). At home, Peter finds his father’s papers and learns he worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors (Ifans) at Oscorp. Sneaking into Oscorp, Peter enters a lab where a “biocable” is under development from genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him. On the subway ride home, he discovers that he has developed spider-like abilities.
After studying Richard’s papers, Peter visits the one-armed Connors, reveals he is Richard Parker’s son and gives Connors his father’s “decay rate algorithm”, the missing piece in Connors’ experiments on regenerating limbs. Connors is being pressed by his superior, Dr. Ratha (Khan), to devise a cure for the dying (but unseen) head of Oscorp, Norman Osborn. In school, Peter gets into trouble after a basketball challenge with Flash in which Peter accidentally shatters the backboard glass. His uncle changes work shifts to meet with the principal and asks Peter to replace him walking home with Aunt May that night. Peter gets distracted and helps Connors regenerate the limb of a laboratory mouse. Peter’s failure causes an argument with his uncle and he leaves. At a nearby deli, a cashier refuses to let Peter buy a chocolate milk since Peter is two cents short; when a thief suddenly raids the store, Peter indifferently observes. While searching for Peter, Uncle Ben attempts to stop the thief and is killed. The thief escapes as Peter finds Ben on the sidewalk.
Afterward, Peter uses his new abilities to hunt criminals matching the killer’s description. After a fall lands him inside an abandoned gym, a luchador-wrestling poster inspires him to create a mask to hide his identity. He adds a spandex suit and builds mechanical devices to attach to his wrists to shoot a biocable “web”. Peter accepts a dinner invitation from Gwen, where he meets and has a tense conversation with her father, police captain George Stacy (Leary), over Spider-Man’s motives. After dinner, Peter reveals his identity to Gwen and they kiss.
After seeing success with the mouse using lizard DNA, Ratha demands Connors begin human trials immediately if Osborn is to survive. Connors refuses to rush the drug-testing procedure and put innocent people at risk. Ratha fires Connors and decides to test Connors’ serum at a VA hospital under the guise of a flu shot. In an act of desperation, Connors tries the formula on himself. After passing out, he awakens to find his missing arm has regenerated. Discovering that Ratha is on his way to the VA hospital, Connors, whose skin is turning green and scaly, goes to intercept him. By the time he gets to the Williamsburg Bridge Connors has become a violent hybrid of lizard and man, tossing cars, including Ratha’s, over the side of the bridge. Peter, now calling himself Spider-Man, snatches each falling car with his web-lines.
Spider-Man suspects Connors is Lizard and unsuccessfully confronts the creature in the sewers. Lizard learns Spider-Man’s real identity via the name on an abandoned camera and follows Peter to school where they fight. In response, the police start a manhunt for both Spider-Man and Lizard. The police corner Spider-Man and Captain Stacy discovers that he is really Peter. Lizard plans to make all humans lizard-like by releasing a chemical cloud from Oscorp’s tower, to eliminate the weaknesses he believes plague humanity. Spider-Man confronts and battles the Lizard on the roof of Oscorp Tower and eventually disperses an antidote cloud instead, restoring Connors and earlier victims to normal, but not before Lizard mortally wounds Captain Stacy. Before his death, Captain Stacy makes Peter vow to keep Gwen safe by leaving her out of it. Peter initially does so, but later at school suggests to Gwen he may see her again.
In a closing-credits scene, Connors, in a prison cell, speaks with a man in the shadows who asks if Peter knows the truth about his father. Connors replies, “No”, and demands Peter be left alone before the man disappears.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this film:
First Published: Dec 23, 2011 – Last Updated: May 1, 2014