Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
So the much maligned Spider-Man reboot, starring Andrew Garfield as our web-slinging hero, has been thrown into the Hollywood recycle bin now that Marvel reclaimed the cinematic rights to the character. Spider-Man will now join the Avengers in the final leg of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Tom Holland set to debut as Spidey in next year’s ‘Captain America: Civil War’. Whilst the thought of Spider-Man lining up next to Iron-Man and Captain America is undoubtedly pleasing to all superhero fans, myself, and what feels like a very small portion of the film-fan community, found this development to be a bittersweet moment. Andrew Garfield and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series has come under a lot of scrutiny and criticism, and even the man himself has recently described how he never felt comfortable in the role, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed both his outings in the red and blue suit and wish there could have been more.
We all know the story of how Peter Parker became the Spider-Man, right? Well for those who don’t, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is your average geeky kid who’s trying to keep the peace in school and just make it through alive. He struggles with not knowing what happened to his late parents, and constantly tries to coerce his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) into divulging some information as to what really happened. He eventually learns that his Dad (Campbell Scott) and Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) worked on a few dozen, secret, scientific projects together involving, you guessed it, spiders. In between discovering this, getting bitten and the adventure that follows, he also has to navigate his way through a relationship with the girl of his dreams, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
This is one the best ‘reboots’ I’ve seen thus far. It sticks to the original origins of Spider-Man and follows some of the newer ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ TV series storylines, without blurring the lines between the two. This revamped Spider-Man though, only has a relatively brief character development in comparison to the previous versions, which is odd and slightly disappointing. Not that we were left wanting, but Parker and Stacey’s all-important chemistry can only be judged by their actual time together on-screen, which was maybe less than 30 minutes in total. However, most of this relationship is open to development in the sequel, after being very deliberately set up at the end of the credits. This revamp also shows a slightly smarter side to Parker, whereas in the other films, Tobey Maguire brought a fumbling, slapstick element to the character.
Now, everything was impeccably shot and edited, but the CGI was a bit much. Indeed, there was an overload of CGI, to the point where some of it ate away at the story and lacked authenticity. After the point at which Dr. Connors voices his hatred of mankind and desire to cure the human race with what he and Parker’s father discovered, the next hour or so of the movie is nothing but pure action. Is this a bad thing? Not entirely, although I don’t care for it too much, considering the prior films placed more emphasis on the strong emotional tie between Parker and other characters, which I felt worked well. The previous films were more loyal to the comic-books, but this attempt did ‘fix’ any of the mistakes we witnessed in the disastrous ‘Spider-Man 3’.
With this new and refreshing cast, I had hoped they would keep the franchise alive longer, to introduce other villains to the world audience, and hopefully correct the all of those sins from the Venom storyline in ‘Spider-Man 3’. In the end they could have done with a little more interpersonal character development between Stacy and Parker, but the chemistry we did see between Garfield and Stone was believable and arguably the best thing about ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. You probably don’t know if you’re coming or going with all these various Spider-Man franchises flying around over the last thirteen years. If you enjoyed the originals, but wanted more action, this is the perfect balance. But don’t get too attached, as ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is as far as this series will go.