Following the darker reboots of the Batman and James Bond franchises, Hollywood’s latest re-
imagining The Amazing Spider-Man has taken a much lighter path.

Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) and writers James Vanderbilt (The Losers, Zodiac), Alvin Sargent (Spider-Man 1, 2 & 3) and Steve Kloves (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2) combine family favourites murder, vengeance, responsibility, secrets, remorse and sacrifice and spin together a good old fashioned movie.

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, Never Let Me Go) is well cast as school student Peter Parker and the webbed-wonder Spider-Man, adding adolescence impulsiveness and humour to a role
usually associated with power and responsibility. What teenager wouldn’t brag about or show off their newly acquired super-powers? The Help’s Emma Stone is equally well cast as the web-slingers classmate and girlfriend Gwen Stacy.

Keen to discover the circumstances of his parents’ disappearance, Parker locates his father’s friend and ex-partner Dr. Curt Connors. During his first meeting with the single minded geneticist and soon-to-be-foe, eerily portrayed by the excellent Rhys Ifans (Anonymous, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1), Parker is accidently bitten by a glowing arachnid which leads to his life-changing transformation.

Surprised by his new abilities, Parker’s super-strength, spidey-sense and sticky fingers create a ruckus on the subway. The calamitous and hilarious scene sets the tone for Parker’s journey of discovery from school nerd to super-hero.

While trying to come to terms with his alter-ego Parker distances himself from his Uncle Ben
(Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) until Ben is murdered following a family argument. Sheen (The Departed, West Wing) and Field (ER, Forrest Gump) show their acting pedigrees as they give their characters genuine emotion and the film credibility.

Following the death of his Uncle, Parker attempts to track down his killer, alerting the police led by Captain Stacy (Dennis Leary) to a masked vigilante with a penchant for long blond haired villains (who knew New York had so many).

Meanwhile, Parker with the help of his recently acquired super-genius gives Connors the missing key to his controversial research, which results in the creation of The Lizard, a psychotic man-reptile.

Pursued by the police our acrobatic hero attempts to defeat his reptilian adversary with the help of the capable Gwen and some typical comic book science. Webb’s direction adds something new to the usual web-swinging stunts of the past movies.

Garfield’s Spider-Man is a determined and likeable hero with uncomplicated morals and someone
you want to root for. In a similar vein to the 1978 Superman movie, The Amazing Spider-Man is a top drawer feel good movie and extremely watchable, even with a less than memorable super-villain.

In increasingly typical form the inevitable sequel is setup at the end of the film, but at least they were courteous enough to wait until after the final credits. Unfortunately the same forethought didn’t go into the 3D, which added little to the film.

Vinny Lawrenson-Woods

The Amazing Spider-Man is showing at FACT now

  • http://www.far-fiction.com Joshua Garratt

    The other characters are rather lacklustre though, while Garfield does a good job of being the likeable Peter Parker we all wanted/expected. The under utilization of characters like Gwen Stacey, They present her as a strong character, or at least a forward one (especially when she’s the one to ask Peter to dinner), and then simply topple the characterization when it’s Peter’s “decision” to not see her any more for risk of her being hurt. The turn takes away a considerable amount of her agency. All in all though, the film was enjoyable to watch, and certainly better than the last incarnation, but as with Hollywood these days, it could have been better.