The Amazing Spider-Man
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Martin Sheen and Rhys Ifans
Directed by Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer)
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Much like Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man, this new reboot attempts to tell the genesis of everyone’s favorite webbed crime fighter with a different vision. Just like the other version, Peter Parker is a bullied young high schooler who lives with his aunt and uncle. When he is bitten by a radioactive spider, he gains new abilities that allow him to become a vigilante hero.
If you are like me, when you found out that Spider-Man was getting remade just a decade after it became a hit, you probably had to scratch your head a bit. After all, while the third film wasn’t too terribly great, the franchise was still fairly fresh and it hadn’t fizzled like the Batman franchise had before Christopher Nolan took over. All I knew was that I really liked director Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer and I thought the world of Andrew Garfield, who had wowed me in The Social Network, Never Let Me Go and the Red Riding Trilogy. But was starting up a new vision of my favorite childhood hero necessary?
In order for the film to work it needed to be different enough from Raimi’s vision and it had to hold some surprises. In this new reincarnation, Peter Parker is much more of a rebel and more street savvy than Toby McGuire. This gives Spider-Man a new angle and a fresh perspective. This new creation isn’t anywhere near the leap that Nolan took in Batman, but the new vision does work effectively and should keep fans happy enough.
One thing I really liked about the script is that it explores Peter’s relationship with his father rather than just his aunt and uncle. The pain and anguish he suffers over the loss of his father is truly felt and the dialog is well-written in this regard. You get the sense that you are watching a troubled teen with a secret that really suffers internally.
Of course it helps to have a great young actor such as Andrew Garfield. You may not know his name now, but he is a future star. He’s been nominated for a Golden Globe (and should have had an Oscar nom as well) for his role in The Social Network and at the age of 28 he has already turned in loads of great performances. His performance here is one of the big highlights of the movie. He embodies Peter Parker perfectly and carries the movie to a level it couldn’t have achieved without him.
What are the detractors here? As soon as I start talking about all of the technical problems and the “that couldn’t have happened because” I would be able to see your eyes roll through the newspaper. So I’ll just say that there were many liberties taken and a whole lot of “who cares – if we don’t understand it they certainly won’t” talk done on the script. And then all you have to say is “ Danny – it’s a movie about a man-spider” and I would be forced to hang my head in shame because you’d be right. So let’s just say there are a few unbelievables I found to be distracting, but I’m sure they really wouldn’t matter to 99% of you and you might even think less of me for mentioning them.
So in answer to my question earlier about the film being necessary – I would just have to say – why not? As long as the film is well-written, well-acted and well-executed, then bring it on. After all, I’ve read hundreds of his stories in comics growing up. If the films are at least this good – I’ll watch hundreds also. A-