Release Date: 3rd July, 2012
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an over-achieving, teenager boy raging with hormones has his world turned upside down when he is bitten by a radio-active spider whilst snooping around his deceased father’s workplace. Long gone is the polite, well-behaved boy that his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) adored; but now stands a mysterious masked vigilante with highly attuned spidey senses who gets a thrill out of fighting crime. But every hero needs a villain and this comes in the form of the cross species expert Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) who is out to change humanity. As well as dealing with his new found fame, arachnid senses and being a teenager; Peter Parker’s Spiderman has to stop the world from becoming a breeding ground for mutant lizards.
It is extremely hard not to compare Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man with Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spiderman, although it is not a remake their narratives are very similar. Webb’s portrayal takes into account its predecessor but attempts to shed light on sections that were considered underdeveloped in Raimi’s. The Amazing Spider-Man has come at a difficult time as 2012 has seen a massive increase in superhero movies, including Avengers Assemble and The Dark Knight Rises both smashing the box office. Yet, there is something that The Amazing Spider-Man has that all of the others lack… teenage awkwardness and angst. Not as bleak as Batman and nowhere near as serious as Captain America, The Amazing Spider-Man portrays an ordinary teenage boy, getting into high school scrapes as well as trying to master the art of “webbing”; a perfect fantastical protagonist for teenagers to relate to.
The unpopular, exceedingly shy science geek from Raimi’s Spiderman has had a massive modern makeover! Long gone is the awkward and quiet Peter Parker; now we have a mysterious, skateboarding connoisseur with really cool hair who just so happens to be a whizz with algorithms. The focus on a school boy’s fantasy is prominent in this film. Parker’s new abilities allow him to beef out physically, humiliate the school bully on the basketball court and scoring a goal from the other side of the football pitch.
The on screen chemistry between the off screen lovers is apparent and realistic. The awkward hallway conversations and the heated kissing scenes between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone really encapsulates the notion of a first love; much more so than the relationship between Tobey Maguire and Kristen Dunst. Rhy Ifans plays the unfortunate character of Dr Curt Connors, who is blackmailed into testing an unfinished drug that turns him into a massive half human/half lizard hybrid. Ifans deliverance is near on perfect as the spectator feels immediate sympathy for the misunderstood character that had good intentions. A cheeky comedic cameo from Stan Lee also brought laughs to the whole cinema.
Unlike other portrayals of the character; The Amazing Spider-Man looks into the disappearance of Peter’s parents and how it affected him growing up. Watching your parents leave you on a dark stormy night can seriously mess a guy up, thus suggesting why Peter is the perfect candiate for being a misunderstood vigilante. Another interesting aspect that Webb considered is the perfect balance of action and comedy. In one scene, a car thief brandishes a knife to Spiderman, to which his replies with “Oooh, my weakness is small knives” and continues to snot-rocket webbing to the thief’s hands and feet, gaining a few laugh out loud chuckles from the audience.
However, in Raimi’s Spiderman, although it didn’t deliver a back-story on the character, the spectators were aware of the trials and tribulations the character faced when mastering his spidey-skills. Yet, in Webb’s version, as soon as Garfield is bitten by the spider, he seems to have mastered the art of walking on walls and ninja style fighting almost instantly. The narrative developed beautifully before the character put on the suit but afterwards the narrative seemed to cover too much in a short amount of time. Along with the instantaneous fighting skills, the development of the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy is also skimmed over. After their awkward conversation in the school hallway, they practically jump each other on their next meeting. What happened to old fashioned dating? Yet, the ending leaves a massive space open ready for the sequel in 2014!
A perfectly balanced comedic and action packed portrayal of the Marvel tale. A mix bag of laughs and edge of the seat moments; The Amazing Spider-Man is definitely one to be recommended. However, the rushed feel towards the end of the film delivers a disappointing blow that could ruin the viewing altogether.