The Franchise that Couldn't: Looking Back on the Amazing Spider-Man
By Felix Quinonez Jr.
January 16, 2017
But, clearly, the biggest problem of the film is its obsession with building a shared universe. Although Marc Webb is credited as the director, there's a sense that the movie was made by committee. It seems like the movie is clumsily juggling too many plots, in hopes of kick-starting several spin offs and to give Sony more franchises. And because there is so much going on, the movie has to keep things constantly moving along, robbing them of their impact. Even the emotional moments feel hollow. The overstuffed nature of the movie also robs it of the level of intimacy that made the first one so special.
Unfortunately, the franchise never quite got a handle on what it wanted to be. The tone varies so wildly that at times the sequel seemed like another reboot. And it was too busy trying to keep up with trends to ever establish its own identity. But it did give us some wonderful performances and many great moments. But sadly, in this case, the whole was not greater than the sum of its parts.
And even though it's become popular to put down Garfield's performance. At least some of that is people retroactively jumping on the bandwagon after the franchise's demise. But at the time of its release, even critics who disliked the movie praised Garfield. In fact, it was a popular sentiment that his performance was better than the actual movies.
But even critics have to agree that he made the role his own rather than emulate what Maguire had done before him. Maguire's Spider-Man often felt like he was still Peter behind the mask. But Garfield really gave the sense that Peter had dual identities. And his Spider-Man was a lot more energetic and wisecracking. You got the sense that Peter really came alive when he put on the suit.
And Garfield was always game to follow where the movies led him. His performance was confident even when the movies didn't seem to know what they were doing. In fact, the opening chase scene through New York streets, in the sequel, alone should be testament to the greatness of his performance. He infuses that scene with humor, and lighthearted fun that perfectly captures the jubilant energy of the character.
Unfortunately, for the time being it seems that The Amazing Spider-Man franchise will be sadly remembered as a misguided mistake that needed to happen for Spider-Man to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But perhaps, with time, audiences will grow to appreciate its many charms.