Even though the film doesn't begin hitting theaters internationally until next weekend, U.K. critics have put on their monocles and taken out their quill and dropped the first reviews for Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man" reboot. And, somewhat surprisingly, it's getting some mostly very, very positive early notices.
Directed by Marc Webb, with Andrew Garfield shooting the webs, Emma Stone catching his eye and Rhys Ifans ready to give him a hard time as The Lizard, so far the film hasn't quite reached the anticipation levels of this year's other comic crop, "The Avengers" or "The Dark Knight Rises." Perhaps it's how soon this reboot is happening, or maybe over-familiarity with the character (particularly as this goes over some of the same origin story beats), but if U.K. critics are to be believed, we've been underestimating the movie.
Calling it "the superhero film for the 'Twilight' generation," The Telegraph gives the film four stars, noting that it very openly courts the female demographic in the way that Sam Raimi's films never did. But the dudes needn't worry about getting their fair share of action as "the film’s second half offers more than enough bungee-swinging through Manhattan’s concrete canyons, immaculately rendered in vertiginous, silky-smooth 3D, to satisfy thrill-seekers of either sex. What’s refreshing is how Webb makes those action sequences count: with a plot that rests almost entirely on the romance between his two leads."
Meanwhile, in another four star review, The Guardian says: "It's the successful synthesis of the two – action and emotion – that means this Spider-Man is as enjoyable as it is impressive: Webb's control of mood and texture is near faultless as his film switches from teenage sulks to exhilarating airborne pyrotechnics."
Staying on trend, Total Film also flanks the movie with four stars. "Maybe Webb should have avoided the origin story and started with Spidey established," they say, addressing the most common complaint about the film. "But [Marc Webb] gets enough right to sign us up for a sequel, not least a thrilling climactic blast-off. The route there? Bit bumpy. Finally, though, Spider-Man re-begins in style."
And SFX keeps up the four star love affair as well: "It may not have the non-stop action and spectacle of 'Avengers Assemble,' but it does have characters you can fall in love with, and bags of charm. You feel the series is in safe hands with Webb, Garfield and Stone. And in an extra scene in the end credits, it also delivers an enticing cliffhanger that should definitely leave you wanting more…"
The lone dissenting voice (thus far anyway) is the London Evening Standard, who hands the film a paltry two stars, not finding the action or effects as breathtaking as their fellow colleagues. "The 'RealD 3D' is fine for the flying sequences, confusing in the fights, and gives that awful cardboard-cutout look to narrative scenes," they write. "Webb saves up most of the emotional punch for a downbeat, wet-eyed ending in which Garfield and Stone are superb. Then there's a completely nonsensical scene cueing up the inevitable sequel."
Of course, there is going to be plenty more to talk about as the money heads into theaters, so we'll see if the positive word continues or if things begin to level out. "The Amazing Spider-Man" begins rolling out internationally on June 28th and hits U.S. theaters on July 3rd.