“The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012) A brief summary of the latest summer superhero spectacle!
**Note, this is a spoiler free review, there will also be no comparisons drawn between this version and the Sam Raimi trilogy of “Spider-Man” films (2002-2007) as I would like to review the film for what it is and as a separate entity.**
The title of this film alone sums up how good it is! This brand new re-imagining of one of the world’s most well-loved superheroes delivers on so many levels and brings something fresh to the second Hollywood re-boot of “Spider-man”. Taking a leaf out of Christopher Nolan’s book, Director Marc Webb and his team of screenwriters add a new depth to the characters and the plots as well as a grittier tone but at the same time still keeps the fun and adventure that goes hand in hand with Spidey! “The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012) has the right balance of emotional depth with a focus on the characters and relationships while delivering an infectious sense of humour and comedy.
The cast carry the film well. Andrew Garfield is perfectly cast as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, it is evident he has fun with the role and gets invested into the character. Peter’s arc is developed exceedingly well throughout the film from clumsy, shy high school photographer to web spinning, ass kicking superhero. Emma Stone is very likeable as the feisty Gwen Stacy. The chemistry between the two is electrifying and their connection comes across clearly to the audience. Rhys Ifans is just phenomenal playing the unhinged scientist Dr. Curt Connors who’s desperation for “a world without weakness” causes him to experiment with Lizard DNA transforming him into a monster in a loose spin on the “Jekyll and Hyde” tale. Rhys brings a great deal of empathy to the character which creates a more complex meaning between what’s unfolding on screen and the audience, he’s not an out and out villain, there is understanding and vulnerability behind the madness. The supporting cast are wonderful, Martin Sheen is brilliantly funny and there’s a lot of tense moments between Peter and Captain Stacy, Gwen’s father played by Denis Leary which makes the film entertaining.
There are some storylines included in the film that have been seen before and will be familiar to the audience, however this is to be expected due to the story taking place from the beginning of Peter’s decadence into superhero-dom! The discovery of his powers isn’t emphasised on as much as the catalyst event needs to play out so that the film can take the audience into its spectacular action sequences. The level of depth given to the relationships in the film makes the action sequences even more intense and they balance each other out well. The high school is focused on a lot more which was unexpected especially an action-packed, nail-biting sequence between Spidey and the Lizard in the school. If there was one nit-pick with this film it would be the 3D, if studios want to make more money by shooting in this format then they should at least deliver eye-popping moments that leave the audience in wonder as “The Amazing Spider-Man” just looks like a regular 2D film apart from maybe one or two brief moments. The point of view shots of Spidey swinging off buildings are a welcome treat.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” is just that, AMAZING! It has its own style of story-telling and made some interesting choices by including different characters that perhaps the film audiences won’t be as familiar with e.g. Gwen Stacy and Curt Connors/Lizard. The darker tone fits the film well while not losing sight of the essence of Spider-Man. Marc Webb was daring enough to take a chance on re-booting the film and bringing in a different vision, no doubt he has done a fantastic job. The performances are electrifying, the action sequences and special effects are out of this world, and it has some great one-liners! Its certainly a summer flick to get into a spin for!
The only question left now is, when’s the sequel?
Hayley Alice Roberts