In 2002, Tobey Maguire brought the Marvel web-slinger to life in the first live-action Spiderman movie. The two sequels went steadily downhill, but now we have something new. Andrew Garfield stars as the beloved hero in this re-telling of the story from a different Spiderman universe, and trust me when I say, fans of the franchise are in for a treat.
Inevitably, this film was, and is going to be compared to the first film. The Amazing Spiderman isn’t a remake of it, but more of a look at the Spiderman story from a different point of view. For anyone who isn’t a superhero nerd out there, I’ll break it down for you. Each superhero has a number of universes. In each universe, the back story is similar, but with a few changes. Also, the costume, powers and style tends to be rather different. For example, the new story still stars Peter Parker, raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, picked on at school, etc. But there are many alterations to the story that people know. For example, this new version doesn’t have the power to spin webs, and so must rely on the science based devices that he creates to shoot his home-made ‘webbing’. Also, this incarnation seems much more agility based in his combat style, rather than Tobey Maguire’s punch-up routines. And as for the costume...well you’ll see. Personally, I loved it.
The narrative of the film is great, and will feature a classic baddie who Spidey fans will recognise from the first mention of the name. Dr Curtis Connors, AKA, the Lizard. An old friend of Peter’s dad and a super-genius. But when an experiment goes wrong, he becomes a monster (don’t they all?). This runs alongside a new take on the origins of Spiderman...although it’s mainly the same thing in a different room, but whatever!
Andrew Garfield fits the role brilliantly. He really manages to create a character for both Peter and Spiderman, who seems more likeable than Maguire. He cracks more jokes and seems more realistic and easier to relate to as a character. Well, as easy as it can be to relate to a superhero. The performances are nothing truly spectacular, but they are pretty good. Emma Stone, playing Gwen Stacey (the Mary Jane of this universe) delivers a particularly moving performance at the end of the movie.
Unfortunately, there are a few hiccups, but these are minor. The main issue was that the beginning of the film is almost a word for word copy of the first film, particularly Uncle Ben’s death. In some ways, the familiarity was nice, but sometimes, I got a kind of “Been there, seen that” sort of feel. Whilst it was still effective and done well, it all felt a little samey, and I was a little disappointed as I’d hoped to see something new. There are also a few moments that made me wonder if they’d only been put in for the sake of making the film more dramatic. This might not sound like a bad thing, but when you consider how dramatically he stumbles around when he gets wounded near the climax, before simply covering it with some webbing then continuing on his merry little way, I found myself asking (more than once) “why didn’t he just do that earlier?”
When all is said and done, The Amazing Spiderman is, on many levels, amazing. A few minor problems hold it back from being all it could be, but this shouldn’t stop you from buying your ticket. Swing on by to your local cinema and check this one out.
8/10 - Great