Before it came out I had my doubts over The Amazing Spiderman. It’s not that I’m having superhero fatigue, but was the world really crying out for the another Spiderman origin story only 10 years after Sam Rami’s Spiderman first hit our screen? Well whether we want it or not it’s here.
For those who don’t know, where have you been? Andrew Garfield is Peter Parker a high school genius who lives with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May after his parents mysteriously disappeared. He’s a loner, getting bullied by a guy called Flash (really and Peter’s the one getting beaten up?) and in love with a girl called Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone). Trying to find out more about his parents he visits his father’s co-worker Dr Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans) at Oscorp and ends up getting bitten by a genetically modified spider. This leads to amazing superpowers. After his uncle’s death at the hands of a criminal he sets out to find the killer and along the way become a hero.
The Amazing Spiderman is not a radical reinterpretation of the Spiderman franchise. A lot of the same points are revisited, the spider bite, discovery of new powers, Uncle Ben’s death, Peter’s guilt etc. But this film has two Aces in its pack and those are Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Garfield is a loveable ball of nervous energy; his Peter is lanky, awkward and funny. I was a big fan of Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker and I was afraid it was going to be a tough act to follow. Luckily Garfield is a likeable Peter, getting the audience’s sympathy even when he’s acting out against his long suffering Aunt May.
Stone is engaging in a role which could easily have been two dimensional. She’s a girl who is clearly smitten with Peter but doesn’t build her whole life around him. She’s allowed to be smart and feisty and manages to avoid the typical girl in peril role. We see that she has just as strong a moral centre as Peter and able to make her own decisions when the danger sets in.
The film’s strongest scenes are those involving Peter and Gwen. Luckily Peter reveals his secret to Gwen fairly early which makes for a more interesting, equal dynamic rather than the tired I-have-to keep-this-a-secret-to-protect-my-loved-ones old story. The two of them together have great chemistry (one that spilt over to off screen) and it’s a lovely romance to be watching.
Not that The Amazing Spiderman is lacking in action. Peter has a lot to face with Conner turning into an evil Lizard (another experiment gone wrong) which leads to some great set pieces, one on a the bridge and another at the film’s climax. This Spiderman is also a lot more snarky in this film which will please those who enjoy Spiderman’s quips in the comics.
The only thing really failing this film is that it does have to start at the beginning again. Sometimes it feels like we’re rehashing old ground just with a new cast. Although it throws up a few different things such as the mystery behind Peter’s parents but then there’s few revelations to this at the end of the film. Just a few tantalising hints which one guesses they’ll explore further in future films. Something that I’m surprisingly looking forward to.
Total score 4 out of 5
A good film boosted by smart casting choices that leaves me highly anticipating the next instalment.