In the wake of Sam Raimi’s (Raimi) series killing Spiderman 3 were sure that it would be some time before we’d see another cinematic Spiderman. However, in a rush to compete with Marvel catapulting second tier heroes working into huge interconnected blockbusters Sony swept away the emo dancing for Spidey ‘Begins’. The Amazing Spider-man changes the comic origins to focus on Peter’s father, a geneticist, who uproots the family, leaving him with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) prior to their mysterious passing. Fast-forward to a teenage Peter (Andrew Garfield) who discovers his father’s lost work and secret formula, which leads him to Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans) and his trans-special experimentation. The all-too familiar radioactive Spider bite and the untimely death of Uncle Ben inspires Peter to don the spandex and fight crime in the form of a new reptilian genetic mutation caused by revealing his father’s formula.
Andrew Garfield succeeds most in bringing the flaws to the character. The teenage Peter Parker is an emotionally raw teenage, outsider who attempts to uncover the truth about his family’s illusive past. Garfield takes the hits, the pain and the falls like a champion and there’s not the instant ‘polish’ to his fighting, swinging or confidence that you’re expecting from his comic book and filmic adaptations. Emma Stone’s Gwen is a charismatic, beautiful and believable teen. She succeeds in seeing the smarts and the rebellious streak in Peter and Webb capitalises on their chemistry.
Marc Webb’s delivers comic book grandiose action intertwined with the intimacy of teen film dramatics. Webb is attuned to the importance of keeping Parker relatable via Gwen. The special effects are incredible. The use of the “spidey cam” that gives you the first person experience of him slinging himself through the air was a really welcome use of 3D. The Lizard looks fantastic – for comic book fans he looks less Lizard and more ‘Killer Croc’ from the DC universe.
Unfortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man repeats what every “super” film must endure – the ‘origin’. And the collective familiarity with the original Raimi film hinders the good that they’re doing to revive the franchise. There’s a sting to those repetitious elements that had me crying out for them to be over. Come on, sing it with me: “If you don’t know what Spidey can do by now…..”
The "Amazing" Spider-Man doesn't earn its moniker. The fresh directorial approach, darker origins and youthful flavour is suffocated by the obligation of laying all too familiar foundations to the Spidey-verse.
***Stay behind for a (Marvel style) mid credits scene***
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Steve Kloves, Alvin Sargent
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dennis Leary, Rhys Ifans, Dennis Leary, Sally Field
The Amazing Spider-Man is released in Australia on the 4th of July 2012, and in the U.S.A and U.K on the 3rd of July 2012.
Blake Howard is a writer, a podcaster, the editor-in-chief & co-founder of Australian film blog Graffiti With Punctuation. Beginning his criticism APPRENTICESHIP as co-host of That Movie Show 2UE, Blake is now a member of the prestigious Online Film Critic Society, sways the Tomato Meter with Rotten Tomatoes approved reviews. See his articulated words and shrieks (mostly) here at Graffitiwithpunctuation.com and with DarkHorizons.com & 2SER Sydney weekly on Gaggle of Geeks.