Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Cinematic Release: 3rd July 2012
Budget: $220 million
It’s only been five years since our last Spider-Adventure and now it’s time to reboot! New cast, new villains, newish origin. The first thing I’d argue is that we already know his origin and don’t need to clog up half of the movie retelling it again. But they do move through it pretty quick and add a few interesting changes to freshen it up.
The cast really captures their characters for the most part, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker looks the part, he is thin, lanky and looks like he could actually be as agile as Spidey. He is the smart science nerd he needs to be and has all the humour he needs. And above all he actually looks like he could be a High School teenager and doesn’t at any point slick his hair back and dance down the street.
This time around the movie actually explored Peter Parker’s parents, a rarely touched story thread in the comics. His father was a scientist who was working on cross species genetics based around spiders. When one day they are apparently killed in an accident and Peter ends up living with Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). The performances of these two were flawless and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them in action, sadly we probably won’t be having Uncle Ben much in the sequels. After this his work is continued by Dr. Curtis Connors played by the slightly damp Rhys Ifans, who is fine in his role but didn’t really deliver the whole tormented scientist thing for me. Throughout the movie Dr. Connors is obsessed with trying to use lizard genes to regrow his missing right arm. Peter helps him using some of his father’s research, which naturally ends up turning him into a lizard monster with a grudge against world. The Lizard himself looked fine, his face was a little too human almost veering into the Uncanny Valley rather than the monstrous lizard it was trying to be.
While all this is going on Peter is preoccupied with learning what it means to have these powers, coming to terms with Uncle Ben’s death and of course trying to find a way to talk to that girl he likes. That girl being Gwen Stacy played by Emma Stone, who is actually an unexpected highlight of the movie, she is a strong, intelligent and resourceful daughter of a Police Captain who just happens to be interning at Dr. Connors laboratory, which is how she gets caught up in all this mess.
The action and combat is superb and very well lit, the 3D effects when utilised are some of the best I have seen, but it’s just a little too short in some sequences, and not enough to justify having to wear 3D glasses for one hundred and thirty six minutes. It’s exactly what you want visually from Spider-Man, from the signature poses, to web swinging in creative ways and using his spider-power creatively in combat instead of just standard punchy punchy.
While The Amazing Spider-Man is a very entertaining movie I feel It just can’t compete with your Iron Mans, Batmans or Avengers. But there is no reason why it can’t or shouldn’t, the subject matter is there. Much like X-Men: First Class this movie was made in an attempt to retain the rights so they don’t revert back to Marvel Studios. It also tried to mimic Marvel’s post credit scenes but that only served to be pointless, confusing and not really reveal anything.
It’s a good movie and definitely worth going to see for Spider-Fans. Enjoyed as a stand alone movie, independent of everything it’s an 8.5/10, but taking into account how high the bar has been set by Avengers and The Dark Knight, the fact that it has only been five years since the last Spider-Man movie, and most importantly; it’s a Sony Picture not Marvel Studios meaning it can never cross over into the rich continuity they have been painstakingly building since Iron Man. So we know we can’t ever see Spidey team up with Cap and Iron Man because of a licensing deal made decades ago, and it’s just missing some polish here and there. The Amazing Spider-Man clocks in at around the 7/7.5 mark, In a world where this was the first big comic book movie you would walk out of this saying “Wow, this is the start of something awesome.”