Saturday, 11 May 2013

FILM: The Amazing Spider-Man (8/10)

Why did I watch it?
I never read any comic books as a child, learning of the best Marvel and DC had to offer through Saturday morning cartoons instead. Spider-Man is one the biggest of the bunch and when he gets a new film, it's a sure thing to be watched eventually in my house.

What's it all about?
The Amazing Spider-Man sees Spidey's origin story rebooted following the cancellation of the planned fourth film of Sam Raimi's franchise. Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) replaces Tobey Maguire as the web-slinging hero and Emma Stone plays love interest Gwen Stacy rather Mary Jane in a noticeable difference between franchises. Once the origin story is relaid, Spidey battles Dr. Curt Connor's Lizard to save New York's inhabitants.

Should you watch it?
It is too easy to compare Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man to Raimi's first effort, primarily because for the first half at least they are the same film, or are at least both films telling the same story. Pages and pages have been written on the reboot debate so I won't add to them only to say that I think I enjoyed the updated take on the origin story more. The conspiracy behind Peter's parents deaths adds some complexity to the story and Peter's first experience of Spider-Man's abilities is made into an amusing sequence. Credit for that must go to Andrew Garfield, who improves on Maguire's take on Parker no end, proving that Peter can be geeky without being too pathetic. Perhaps it was setting the story in high school, with the sympathies that come with being different in that environment, that makes Garfield's Peter more likeable.

Once the origin of Spider-Man is complete, the film moves through the gears and the budding romance and chemistry between Peter and Gwen is sincere and likeable. With a supporting cast including veterans Martin Sheen and Sally Field, there is no shortage of strong performances.

What a crock
The film is a bit heavy handed with it's vigilante right or wrong mantra and I was hugely disappointed with Rhys Ifan's Lizard. Ifan's performance as Connor's is decent enough but for me visually the Lizard didn't fit closely enough with the character's traditional appearance. Maybe it was an attempt to make the character realistic in a Christopher Nolan manner but rather than look like a lizard (with a lizards head) he looks like a generic green monster that could appear in any film.

An enjoyable, if unnecessary, return to Spider-Man's roots with a fresh bunch of characters that is worth a watch even if just for a comparison with the original trilogy.


  1. No comic books as a child??? Were you trapped in the mines in The Temple of Doom? ;-)

    I actually ended up enjoying this Spidey film more than I thought I would. That may be because of Emma Stones boots and short skirt.

    1. LOL! Only online can not reading comics be a source of shame!

      Thanks for the comment, her skirt and boots combo certainly got my attention as well!