Since SPIDER-MAN is opening in a handful of locations tonight (Monday) some U.S. critics are getting a head start by releasing reviews of The Amazing Spider-Man a day earlier than the film's national release. Most have been positive if not enthusiastic. The latest Spidey movie begins where the now-ten-year-old original did -- at the beginning of Peter Parker's transformation into a superhero. "This is a more thoughtful film, and its action scenes are easier to follow in space and time," writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times , adding "If we didn't really need to be told Spidey's origin story again, at least it's done with more detail and provides better reasons for why Peter Parker throws himself into his superhero role." Claudia Puig in USA Today explains that it's not really a prequel to the first film. "This version adds illuminating plot points, improving on what has gone before," she observes, remarking that "one of the major reasons it works so well is the gangly charm of Andrew Garfield in the lead role." And Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times concludes that Sony has made "a shrewd wager that mostly -- but not entirely -- pays off." At 2 hours 18 minutes, there's too much going on that seems to be filler, he suggests. "This is a film that is memorable in pieces but not as a whole, doing enough right things in key areas to ensure box-office success but permitted to drift into earnest pokiness when the spotlight is not on," he writes.

02/07/2012