The first reviews of the big-screen Spidey reboot Amazing Spider-Man are beginning to emerge online, and despite some misgivings amongst fans about the successful film series being rebooted so quickly and the origin story being retold so soon, the early word is nearly universally positive.
Of the 11 reviews currently tracked by RottenTomatoes.com as of Friday afternoon (mostly UK based publications), only one has been negative, giving director Marc Webb’s Amazing an early but highly encouraging 91% approval rating. Critics so far have been drawn to the balance of romance, humor, and characterization that gives life to what Boyd van Hoeij of Variety calls, "a mostly slick, entertaining and emotionally involving recombination of fresh and familiar elements."
Judging by these early numbers — and it's hard not to — The Amazing Spider-Man looks to capture the emotional core that some felt was lacking in director Sam Raimi's three films, with Ian Freer of Empire Magazine stating, "The Amazing Spider-Man is a rare comic-book flick that is better at examining relationships than superheroism," and Andrew Pulver of the Guardian (UK) saying, "Webb successfully treads a fine line between keeping the hardcore superhero-movie fans happy and injecting a dose of meaningful affect."
That’s no surprise, as Webb's only previous feature film was 2009's off-beat romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer, which was praised for its innovative and heartfelt tone. By and large, critics are laying the same praise on The Amazing Spider-Man, with David Calhoun of Time Out saying, "We're never far from romance or laughs, and at times The Amazing Spider-Man feels like a romcom upgraded to include 3D and industrial cobwebs." Other critics are echoing these sentiments, with the thus-far consensus saying that the film is "flashy," "daring," and "emotionally gripping."
Comparing these early numbers with the approval ratings of the films in the previous incarnation of the franchise also shows promise, with only the highly regarded Spider-Man 2 sporting a better approval score, and the critically maligned Spider-Man 3 almost 30 points down at a score of 63%. Of course, only time will tell how The Amazing Spider-Man is received by the fan community, and, most importantly to the bottom line, the general public.
Box office analysts are saying the movie is tracking well and buzz is growing, but the estimates are still relatively low in light of the success of Marvel’s The Avengers, not to mention the box office success of the previous three Spider-Man films. The Hollywood Reporter’s pre release tracking has it at $125 million over its first six days (Wednesday July 4 to Monday July 9).
The widely disliked Spider-Man 3 made $151 million in its 3-day opening weekend alone, in 2007 dollars and without 3D premiums. Analysts are expecting the disappointing nature of part 3, franchise fatigue, and the too-soon reboot factor to take a bite out of Amazing’s returns.
The same analysts will be watching closely to see if the positive reviews affect the social-media buzz machine and push estimates upwards or if the box office trackers are simply misfiring on this one.
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