‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ spins web of success
Published: Saturday, July 21, 2012
Updated: Saturday, July 21, 2012 23:07
It has only been 10 years since Marvel released the first Spider-Man movie, which opened to huge box office grosses and generally favorable fan reaction. Now, after the release of two successful sequels, comes a reboot to the series with a completely different cast and crew. This decision has left many fans asking if it’s too soon for a new Spider-Man and whether or not a reboot is necessary.
Along with these concerns, “The Amazing Spider-Man” has the misfortune of being released in between two of the most anticipated super hero films of all time, “The Avengers” and the highly-anticipated “The Dark Knight Rises.” Despite these factors, the new Spider-Man surprisingly delivers on almost every level.
This time around, the red and blue spandex suit is donned by Andrew Garfield, who stars as student Peter Parker and superhero alter-ego Spider-Man. After being left by his parents with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), Peter grows up questioning his abandonment.
The rest of the story feels very familiar. Peter gets bitten by a certain eight-legged creature, which grants him special super-human abilitites. After the tragic death of someone close to him, Peter sets out to use his powers to protect those in need as their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
The storyline itself is very similar to Sam Raimi’s first Spidey flick in that it sets up the hero’s origins while introducing a surrounding cast of characters. However, the tone in this film is almost entirely different. Director Marc Webb attempts to make his version of Spider-Man as realistic as possible.
Everything that happens is incredible, but the emotions involved feel genuine and are never forced upon the audience. Webb’s focus is on the story rather than the film’s action sequences, which allows viewers more time to become invested in the characters.
This film’s major improvement upon the previous trilogy is its solid character development. Though Sheen and Field may have been given less screen time than their characters had in the other films, their scenes are important and meaningful rather than simply further developing the story.
Emma Stone is terrific as love interest Gwen Stacey, who is vastly superior to Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson. Gwen is never a damsel in distress, and the chemistry between Garfield and Stone is refreshingly convincing.
There are also some great moments between Garfield and Denis Leary, who is incredibly entertaining as Gwen’s father, NYPD Captain Stacey. Rhys Ifans makes a fine villain playing Dr. Curt Connors, who finds himself transforming into the Lizard, who may or may not know something about the Parkers’ past.
Viewers wanting to see cool special effects and impressive action sequences won’t be disappointed with the installment. Instead of completely relying on CGI effects, Webb used as much practical effects as possible, taking full advantage of his stunt crew.
However, despite the thrilling special effects work, the highlight of the entire movie is Garfield’s performance. He is exhilarating to watch both in and out of costume, revealing an unknown depth to the role that seemed non-existent until now. There are certain times when he is onscreen he gets across so many thoughts and emotions solely through his reactions to what else is going on without any dialogue.
Though some aspects of this reboot may feel redundant, its inspired new direction on the franchise is more than enough to keep fans interested and yearning for more.