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Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

9th July 2012

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It’s certainly no easy feat putting your own spin on a well known film. However, director Mark Webb (whose last name never fails to make us chuckle with ironic hilarity) has managed to spin a tale filled with originality and humour. Don’t think of this as a remake (it isn't); instead, look at it as you did with Sam Rami’s Spider-Man or Joss Whedon’s Avengers and give the new and in some ways improved Peter Parker a chance.

The special effects didn’t exceed expectations - they were as you’d expect of a film in 2012 and an improvement on the less sleek 2002 Spider-Man, yet they were nothing revolutionary. We can’t really compare the two films in this aspect as there are ten years between them; Rami had access to worse technology than Webb did.

The main focus of this film is the re-shaping of the franchise: some will love it and others will not. I don’t think you could hate Webb’s version as it’s still very close to the Comic Books. Andrew Garfield plays the loveable nerd known as Peter Parker; he experiences his fair share of bullies, lacks friends and is awesome at science. So he meets the pre-requisites of what the fans would deem a ‘good’ nerd. Emma Stone plays a strong and independent Gwen Stacey, who is un-afraid of danger unlike Bryce Dallas Howard’s Gwen Stacey from Spider-Man 3, who was an insufferably ‘wet’ character. The new Gwen is also more appealing than Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane; she’s smarter, sexier and doesn’t bitch and moan in every other scene. Plus, this is Emma Stone we’re talking about. Who wouldn’t prefer to see her on the screen?

The addition of Peter’s parents at the start of the film was a refreshing origin story. Without this, Webb was dangerously close to repeating the original as the structure is almost identical, however, this is inevitable and unavoidable. There has to be some aspects similar to Rami’s version as the reboot needs to be true to the comic books.

Rhys Ifans’ Dr. Curt Connors was played with suitable amounts of madness and scientific zeal; it’s another mad scientist story which could’ve caused the film to fail but after seeing it, the Lizard seemed like an obvious choice for a re-boot, especially with the mysterious links to Peter’s father. At times, Ifans feels similar to Alfred Molina’s ‘Doc Ock’ from Spider-Man 2 but there are only so many ways to play a mad scientist who is controlled by an alter ego. We can give him a break on that one.

Aunt May and Uncle Ben are played well by Sally Field and Martin Sheen - we see plenty of focus on their own lives, which makes the film more personal than the original. Whether this is a good thing is debatable as I think the time focused on Peter’s life at home detracts slightly from the amount of screen time our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man gets. Unlike the original, there are fewer action sequences of him kicking the asses of helpless petty criminals. However, Webb manages to incorporate what little of this there is into a well thought out plot line rather than an ‘easy to do’ montage.

Good plots and 3D aren’t usually synonymous but Seeing Spider-Man in what is often a tiresome and stressful form of cinematography was brilliant. Many a time I’ve sat in the cinema watching a 3D film with what feels like sunglasses rather than 3D lenses, however, this time round the screen wasn’t shrouded in darkness and the action sequences were dynamic enough to have things flying out towards you. Not literally of course.

With a wealth of great performances and a well spun story line, The Amazing Spider-Man will be sure to impress. A few of the hardcore fans will prefer Tobey Maguire’s Parker as he is probably closer to the way Spider-Man is portrayed in the Comics, however, Garfield has done a perfect job of re-inventing the awkward teenager and the film sure as hell traps us in a web full of action, suspense and emotion.

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