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Film & DVD

'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Marvel reboot fails to improve on much of anything

Photo: , License: N/A

The airborne acrobatics and grounded fights often boast a strong sense of visual flair, embellished with the sporadic use of first-person perspective as Spider-Man swings through the city, but slapstick bits, skateboarding montages and city-rallying scenes in between border on groan-inducing, while James Horner's grandiose score proves equally ill-suited whether used against an intimate confession scene or an ostensibly tense moment involving a kid in peril beneath the Williamsburg Bridge. Critical emotional stakes prove to be nonexistent once a plan to transform New Yorkers into a veritable army of Koopas raises its ugly head, and even when the dynamics of Parker's homemade web shooters are smartly exploited in a high school-set melee, it can't come without the film kowtowing to two especially tired tropes of the genre: the oblivious-bystander moment and the requisite Stan Lee cameo.

Toward the end, an English teacher explains that, for all the claims that there are only about 10 plots for all fiction stories, there's really only one. After this bout of derring-do déjà vu, it's hard to disagree.

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