The Amazing Spider-Man is streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Are you in the mood for a Spider-Man movie, but, like, not a very good Spider-Man movie? If so, you’re in luck! The Amazing Spider-Man, arguably the worst superhero reboot in cinema, is streaming right now for free on Tubi.
Released in 2012, barely five years after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man failed to weave a web strong enough to capture fans’ hearts the way the first Spider-Man did ten years earlier. 2002’s adjectiveless Spider-Man became a part of the cultural zeitgeist and kicked off the superhero trend that still dominates cinema decades later. The Amazing Spider-Man? Not so much.
There was nothing in ASM as iconic as the upside-down kiss in the rain between Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. The closest Amazing comes is a quick library fight scene that takes place in the background as an oblivious Stan Lee listens to classical music and puts books away. It’s a great bit, to be sure, but it failed to reach the Matrix bullet time level of parody and homage as the upside-down rain kiss.
The Amazing Spider-Man rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Sam Raimi’s scrapped Spider-Man 4. Sony attempted to differentiate the reboot by adding comic-accurate details like non-organic web shooters and changing Peter Parker’s love interest from Mary Jane to Gwen Stacy. Unfortunately, they still felt it necessary to re-tell Spider-Man’s origin, making the movie feel somewhat like a retread of what came before rather than the fresh take Sony was aiming for.
Sony’s first misstep may have been hiring Marc Webb to direct the Spider-Man reboot. Despite having an apropos name to helm a film about spider people, the former music video director only made one feature film prior to The Amazing Spider-Man (500 Days of Summer) and it was as far from a tentpole action movie as one can get. That’s not to imply that Marc Webb is a bad director, but he definitely failed to imbue ASM with the level of inspired visual spectacle that Sam Raimi brought to his series.
Raimi’s experience making low-budget horror films translated beautifully to the world of Hollywood blockbusters in a way Webb just couldn’t replicate. Webb’s Spider-Man movies look fine, but they never match the intensity of, say, the Doc Ock hospital scene from Spider-Man 2.
One thing that The Amazing Spider-Man can’t be faulted for, however, is its cast. Relative newcomers Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have a chemistry that blows away Maguire and Dunst’s wooden romance in the three prior Spider-Man films. Garfield and Stone’s onscreen chemistry was so good that they began dating offscreen, a tradition that seems to follow every big-screen iteration of Spider-Man. Toby and Kirsten started dating during the original 2002 Spider-Man, and Tom Holland and Zendaya contained the trend throughout the making of the most recent trilogy of Spider-movies.
Backing up the two love birds are veteran actors Denis Leary as Captain Stacy, Gwen’s father, and Sally Field and Martin Sheen as Peter’s Aunt May and ill-fated Uncle Ben. Rounding out the Amazing Spider-Man cast is Notting Hill‘s Rhys Ifans as super baddie The Lizard. Raimi had been setting up his version of the Lizard by having Dr. Curt Connors—as played by veteran character actor Dylan Baker—appear in Spider-Man 2 and 3, but when Sony decided to reboot the franchise, they scrapped Baker in favor of Ifans to give series a fresh start.
The Amazing Spider-Man used practical effects and real-life stunt performers when possible to give the movie a more realistic look. Director Marc Webb specifically wanted it to look more realistic when Peter was swinging around New York and used video footage of an Olympic gymnast swinging from a horizontal bar for reference. The movie’s crew built a pair of rigs 200-300 feet long to help film the realistic web swinging.
The Amazing Spider-Man earned a worldwide gross of $757.9 million on a budget of less than half that amount. The movie holds a review aggregate score of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a slightly higher 77% as an audience score. With a great cast, lots of profit, and generally favorable fan reception, why isn’t Amazing Spider-Man remembered more fondly in 2023? Well…
For starters, the new Spider-Man costume made some questionable choices. The new yellow eye lenses are just plain weird, and the mesh pattern all over the suit looks too busy. In addition, despite them being more comic-accurate, fans of the Raimi series didn’t care for Peter’s new mechanical web-shooters. Many wondered how a high-school kid was able to build such a contraption and why, if his aunt and uncle are in such dire financial straights, he doesn’t monetize his invention.
Another reason the movie isn’t more well-regarded is The Lizard. In most superhero movies, the hero is only as good as his villain, and this Spider-Man’s villain was…not good. In the comic, the Lizard has more of a scaly, alligator look to him, with a more pronounced snout and sharp, scaly ridges. For some inexplicable reason, The Amazing Spider-Man went with a design that looks like the goombas from the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie from the ’90s.
Lastly, the movie has the misfortune of being sandwiched between a trilogy of superhero movies that fans idolize and a sequel that fans despise. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was such a failure that it ended the Andrew Garfield iteration of Spider-Man. There’s a good chance some of that ill-will retroactively bleeds into a lot of viewers’ memories of the Amazing Spider-Man duology as a whole, making ASM 1 look worse than it actually is.
Fans should decide for themselves, however, and now that The Amazing Spider-Man is free on Tubi, there’s no better time to check out one of the wallcrawlers’ more maligned outings. It’s also important to remember Amazing Spider-Man is only considered the worst superhero reboot ever because 2015’s Fan4stic can’t legally be called anything other than a dumpster fire in print or otherwise.