Friday, 6 July 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man - Review

It does seem like a such a short time since even the first of the last series of Spider-Man movies was released and so, naturally, this reboot has had doubters doubting. Well, they need worry no more because this incarnation of the iconic superhero is a success despite the fact that nothing drastically new is attempted.

That being said, let's start with the flaws. In terms of story it retreads a lot of old Tobey Maguire ground, boy is bitten by a spider and then suddenly has superpowers. This time, he has to learn to live with his new abilities, all the while trying to investigate creepy scientist Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). All the old Spider-Man origin touchstones are there; the speech-wielding uncle, geeky Peter Parker getting beaten up, he even gets his costume ideas from a boxing ring.

There is also a villain problem here; an issue, it must be said, that's nothing new and so is even more troublesome. The third Raimi movie struggled because Spidey had three under-developed nemesis's . This time, he struggles because there isn't even one of them. Sure, the Lizard's passable, scary in one or two places and their high-school located brawl is both exciting and funny courtesy of an elderly librarian. But Rhys Ifans' mad scientist has been done to death and nothing new is attempted here. Lizard feels wildly underdeveloped, although there is an effort to weave him into Peter Parker's father-gone-missing storyline but it never really goes anywhere and is dropped by the final third.

Lizard is, however, immaculately recreated special-effects wise. An achievement that runs through the whole movie with nary a blip. Watching Spider-Man swoop through Manhattan is one of the reasons cinema was invented, I'm certain of it, and this time they've nailed it. The POV web slinging scenes are stunning and bring an interesting way of filming a superhero. Who knows, maybe they'll include POV shots when The Hulk gets his inevitable Avengers' spin-off.

Emma Stone features as Peter's love interest and it's really this that holds the movie together. Like so many of Stone's choices, The Amazing Spider-Man is rooted in relationships: watching herself and Andrew Garfield stand awkwardly and chat is perfectly played, while Webb makes a couple of cracking decisions when Parker's identity is finally revealed. Indeed, Webb recently said he was inspired by the touching romances of movies like Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin.

Of course, this brings us to Garfield. He's a revelation. The responsibility and pressure that an enormous role like this presents is enough to ruin any actor's output, let alone a 28 year old from Surrey, but he owns that costume and the role. No one will ever match him.

So, although it may be going over the same stuff, The Amazing Spider-Man is superior to the previous movies because the performances are better, the special effects are better and, amazingly, its romantically engaging.
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