Film: The Amazing Spider-Man
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Denis Leary, Irrfan Khan
Five years after the revolting Spider-Man 3, the big screen witnesses the webslinging ways of one of Marvel Comic’s most popular everyman superhero in The Amazing Spider-Man.
The film steers clear of the famous origin and early antecedents that have been depicted and endlessly recounted in the character’s numerous cartoon incarnations and the vastly successful Sam Raimi franchise.
Fret not, our protagonist is still the brilliant, socially awkward and photography-inclined Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), who, as with the beginning of every series, lives with his uncle Ben and aunt May (Martin Sheen and Sally Field). But the film offers an interesting spin to the fateful ‘along-came-a-spider’ bit that heralds the rise of the sticky-fingered, supersstrong hero (albeit one who never seems able to catch a break).
Without giving too much away, the film seeks to enrich itself with a larger back story where Parker’s scientist father was once involved with the mad science of Dr Curtis Connors, now working with the larger-than-life corporation Oscorp Industries.
Rhys Ifans as Dr Curtis Connors
The story, minus the brilliant special effects and awesome performances that lend it gravity, is a little insipid. Especially in comparison to the brilliant reboot Batman Begins whose influence is clearly seen. In some aspects, the film comes closer to the comics by picking up what the Raimi films discarded, like mechanical webshooters and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) as Parker’s first true love.
Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield
Although it must be said that it can’t be very easy to concoct a new mythology around a beloved hero while deliberately keeping at arms length the myriad finer, cherished details associated with his becoming. For example, the film works its way around the awaited utterance of the oft-quoted 'With great power comes great responsibility'. Instead, the theme resonates across scenes as our hero swings his way to his destiny.
There is a fair amount of humour and warmth that wonderfully contrasts the film’s edgy vibe and for this it should be grateful to Sheen as the paternal Uncle Ben whose
With his wide range of emotions, the gangly and brooding Garfield definitely one-ups the stoic Tobey Maguire as a figure whose capers continue to bring hope and catharsis to bumbling teens and loners everywhere. Stone, as always, is a complete spark plug and her chemistry with Garfield is one of the highlights of the film.
Comedian Denis Leary, as Gwen’s Spidey-hating father (also, unfortunately enough, the police chief) gives a rousing performance and is as good as Field, whose take on the usually frail and lamb-like Aunt May might come as a surprise to some.
Ifans is the bad guy whose inherent nature isn’t really that rotten. It’s a shame the way his character’s metamorphosis was rushed and overall role underwritten. Don’t hold your breathe for any scene-stealing on the part of Irrfan, though.
While the story of The Amazing Spider-Man just about succeeds in working its way around origin-story fatigue in viewers, watching Spider-Man skim past the skyline with the greatest of ease never ceases to be an exhilarating experience thanks to the vivid employment of 3D and James Horner’s rousing score.