The Amazing Spiderman
Dir: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone,
Rhys Ifans, and Martin Sheen
Spiderman pulls fans into web
MONTE YAZZIE ~ THE FOOTHILLS FOCUS~ 7/11/2012
Ten years. That’s how long it’s been since the first Spiderman film graced the screen, and thus spawned two sequels helmed by Sam Raimi. The Amazing Spiderman is a film reboot of the lucrative franchise last seen five years ago. With the films being so fresh in the minds of super hero fans and considering that the original Spiderman was an excellent film, one of the best comic book adaptations to come out at the time, creates a daunting task for any film to try and emulate, let alone surpass. This will have many pondering whether starting the franchise from scratch is to quick of a decision? The answer is yes, treading established property is probably unnecessary, but that doesn’t make it any less of an entertaining story to weave.
The film setup is similar, at times identical, to the original. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is a nerd who get’s picked and pushed on by the popular bully; humiliated in front of his crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Peter is wounded by the abandonment of his parents in the mysterious introduction to the film, which leaves him in the carrying arms of Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). Peter yearns to understand the disappearance of his parents, and after discovering his father’s brief case learns that Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a colleague of Peter's dad, could shed some insight on the past. Connors works for Oscorp, a laboratory that is trying to make a world without weakness through the study of animal DNA. Connors is also a wounded character, like Peter, desperate to regain physical abilities taken from him. This leads Peter to sneak into Oscorp, break into a lab room, and get bitten by the genetically altered spider.
The tone of the beginning of the film is similar yet less light hearted and comic than Raimi’s rendering. There are some nice touches to the story that offer greater character development, for instance the way Peter deals with the bully once he has realizes his greater powers is more vengeful and deliberate. The focus on relationships is the real stand out quality in this film. Director Marc Webb does a great job of establishing character bonds, most specifically Peter and Gwen’s budding romance. A big part of this quality is due to the performances of the cast. Andrew Garfield is simply a good actor; he conveys the emotional aspects of Parker’s past with empathy and ease. Emma Stone establishes chemistry with Garfield from the start; their scenes are some of the best in the film. Rhys Ifans, who portrays the villain in the film, chews up scenery when he is allowed to be unhinged; something he does particularly well.
Unfortunately there are some missteps with the narrative. There are storylines and characters that are introduced and then disappear without any further explanation, some of which seem important to the buildup. And, although Webb pays great attention to the character relationships, there is some consideration that is lost on the action scenes that at times seem disarrayed and derivative. The first person Spiderman camera angle seems tailored for 3-D, but the rest of the film seldom uses it, which makes for a glaring break in pace.
Although The Amazing Spiderman is similar in many regards to the original film made just a few years ago, one should judge this film as if the first one doesn’t exist. In that regard this film is entertaining, offering great character development with a focus on relationship, but it is not without its flaws. A comic book film hinges on the portrayal of the established origin and subsequent journey of the hero's plight, qualities that The Amazing Spiderman achieves.
3.50 out of 5.00