Just ten years after Sam Raimi's original Spiderman trilogy hit cinema screens Marvel has brought their most prized superhero back for a rebooted adventure. Continuing in the vein of darker grown-up comic adaptations Spidey's latest outing is an emotionally packed film full of action, humour and an exceptional cast which tries its best to distinguish itself as a completely separate entity to the aforementioned franchise.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Marc Webb // 2012 // 12A // 136 mins
The Amazing Spider-Man opens with a young Peter Parker being left in the care of his Aunt and Uncle by his parents after his family home is broken into by an unseen intruder aiming to steal his fathers work. Now grown up, and a slightly nerdy, awkward teenager, Parker (Andrew Garfield) seeks out his fathers work colleague Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) in the hopes of discovering what actually happened that night and why his parents have not been heard from since. While exploring the laboratory where Connors works, Peter stumbles into a room filled with experimental spiders, one of which makes its home in his jacket and later delivers the fateful bite which infamously grants the young man with superhuman strength, heightened senses and a knack for sticking to things.
The challenge placed upon second time director and aptly named Marc Webb, is that this story has been seen time and time again, through films, comics and cartoons, and so he has to re-present these familiar events in a fresh and captivating fashion. Webb cleverly delivers a take on the hero's origins which is always familiar but never seems recycled or old, in particular his depiction of the bite is unique in its far less dramatic nature and instantly sets this film apart as its own entity. Several amusing sequences detail Peters newfound abilities, as he smashes his alarm clock and squeezes the shit out of his toothpaste, while his more skilful practices of learning to swing and developing a near gymnastic talent are treated with great respect and patience.
That Webb leaves so long before Peter adorns the red and blue unitard is a clear indicator of how carefully the film constructs it's characters, which are all brilliantly brought to life by an array of outstanding performances. Garfield IS Peter Parker, he inhabits the shy, tormented teen and revels as his cool, sarcastic alter-ego, while never straying from the great emotional grounding present in this depiction. As the antagonistic Dr. Connors Rhys Ifans truly shines, he conveys the family friend turned monstrous reptile with such tragedy and perfectly captures the characters descent into madness. Rounding out this series of terrific performances is Emma Stone, who is utterly captivating as thigh-high sock wearing love interest Gwen Stacy. Stone claims her role as leading lady through a greatly relatable performance, whilst the chemistry between herself and Garfield sets up this pairing as what could potentially become one of the best comic book romances seen on film.
Visually the film is a complete success. The stunning cinematography seen within the trailer is present by the bucket-load throughout the film, with numerous set-pieces that may lead to The slight dropping of a few impressed jaws. Shots which display the gorgeous cityscape of New York and fluid point-of-view sequences while Spidey soars through the city are present in abundance and repeatedly impress. The films CGI is flawless, with the Lizard joining the ranks of Mark Ruffalo's Hulk as one of the best looking creations seen on screens yet, and Spidermans costume itself is beautifully realised, dispelling any doubts over the success of its revamp.
It would seem that despite the countless naysayers and Raimi-enthusiasts, it was not too early for a reboot of this well loved franchise. By losing the ridiculousness present within much of Raimi's version and playing up the emotional depth of this character Marc Webb has created a film which can proudly stand next to, if not slightly ahead of, the earlier trilogy. In spite of a desperately paraphrased version of 'with great power comes great responsibility', we have here an incredibly Spider-Man origin story which is fresh, extremely stylish and highly enjoyable.