Summer 2012 has roared the Superhero genre back to prominence with the hugely successful Avengers, the eagerly anticipated third chapter in the Nolan Batman series The Dark Knight Rises, and now the equally awaited reboot The Amazing Spiderman.
After previous plans for a Sam Raimi-produced Spiderman 4 were scrapped following the disappointing third installment in the franchise, news that a reboot following the webslinger’s adventures weathered mixed emotions from fans. However, once The Amazing Spiderman launched a viral campaign earlier this year, the blockbuster soon became just as promising as it’s predecessor films and had a whole new range of talent on offer.
The first talent to shine is Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) who dons the spandex mask as the titular hero Spiderman. His top-notch performance makes him a worthy component to the previous Spiderman actor Tobey Maguire, adding a modern, edgy twist to the Peter Parker character that verges somewhere between typically nerdy and undoubtedly cool. Garfield manages to completely isolate the Peter Parker character from his alter-ego, but succeeds in making the audience believe he is juggling both personas, both from complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
Garfield also gives Parker more depth in regards to his upbringing, with scenes that deal with abandonment issues, bereavement angst and a child-like confusion that becomes a deadly quest to unearth the truth about his parents’ disappearance. The addition of Parker’s parents adds a nice touch to the reboot, as it was a plot device more or less abandoned in the Sam Raimi trilogy.
The second performance that unsurprisingly beams is that of Emma Stone from The Help and Zombieland fame, who adorns the trademark black hair band and high boots of fan-favourite blonde bombshell Gwen Stacy. Stone is believable as the beautiful science knack with an unfaltering sense of right and wrong, and a Daddy’s girl background that pushes her relationship with the protagonist into question.
Adding Stacy as Parker’s main love interest shows the reboot has truly gone back to the roots of the comics, and leaves a universe of possibilities open to any sequels that may follow. Denis Leary (Rescue Me) also greatly manipulates that character-you-love-to-hate ability to his full advantage with his performance as Captain George Stacy.
In the short time the film has been released, many critics agree The Amazing Spiderman bares all-too-familiar substance to that of the 2000s trilogy. However, the similarities are evidently a technique to draw in Raimi-devotees to the new films, and the movie itself adds too much of its own new depth and intrigue to ever be labelled a direct copy of the 2002 release.
While rising visually from the same world as the previous trilogy, the film adopts a video game-like choreography that adds both electric excitement and guiltily terrific special effects goodies in the second half. The design of the Lizard, the film’s antagonist, deserves applause for the special effects team for abandoning ‘The Incredible Hulk’ method, a phenomenon in the comic book world that conveniently keeps ‘necessary’ parts of clothing on the villain during the transformation process.
Less focus on the Uncle Ben and Aunt May characters makes it seem they are integral enough to the development of Parker’s journey into Spiderman, but that more screen-time could have been awarded to both, particularly for Sally Field and Martin Sheen’s ranking in Hollywood. Whenever Garfield is on-screen with either character we are set up for a touching moment, which continues right to the very end of the film and acts as the sole outlet for the themes of responsibility and devotion that were so important in the Raimi franchise.
Overall, The Amazing Spiderman has a lot to offer as the first chapter in what will hopefully become a sequence of films, adding more high-tech focus and scientific origins to the story rather than a simple accidental spider bite. When the ending credits roll, the audience is left with an overwhelming curiosity in regards to the direction of where these films will go, and the potential for several movies is drip-fed from the very moment the title card appears. While baring semblance to a superhero genre we have probably seen before, the latest Spiderman outing spins a web of innovation and entertainment to truly make you marvel.
Also, be sure to stay in your seat till after the credits to see a mysterious scene that hints at the possible villain for Spiderman’s next quest. A sequel, The Amazing Spiderman 2, is slated for a May 2014 release, and it couldn’t come soon enough.
Pic Credit: Wikimedia Commons