Having grown up with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, I was quite annoyed when it was announced the almost ready Spider-Man 4 was cancelled in favour of a reboot, putting Peter Parker back in high school. A series of films could have easily continued with different actors without the need to a reboot only ten years after the original. The first trailer was very underwhelming, resembling a marriage of The Dark Knight and Twilight. The suit looked terrible in the set photos and a low-budget further contributed to a feeling of an unnecessary cash in for Sony to keep the rights from Marvel Studios. Thankfully, director Marc Webb and the cast and crew delivered a thrilling alternate version of Marvel’s most popular superhero.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) sees British actor Andrew Garfield portray the title character and he is excellent. Whereas Toby McGuire played Parker as nerdy and a social outcast, Garfield ensures Parker is more relatable and has a rebellious streak. Spidey does make more wisecracks in this film which is a welcome change. Emma Stone is perfect as Gwen Stacy and her onscreen relationship with Garfield resonates strongly. The chemistry between the two leads really is a blessing. Rhys Ifans fills the role of Dr Curt Connors, also known as The Lizard. Unfortunately the sympathetic villain has been relied on in the two previous films so it feels like a retread. Sally Field and Martin Sheen are also good as Aunt May and Uncle Ben respectively. Stan Lee’s cameo is as usual, excellent. The only performance that was unconvincing was Irrfan Khan as Dr Rathea, he seemed a bit unnecessary although his role here potentially sets up a future villain.
The film was shot with 3D cameras and it turned out quite well – ala Avatar and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Spider-Man swinging through the city, particular just prior to the final battle, is absolutely stunning and majestic. Webb’s first venture into action sequences is admirable, Spider-Man possess agility and strength. However, they are not up to the height of Spider-Man 2 and have little variety from one another. Another gripe is most of Spidey’s appearances take place in the night which makes sense as Parker is at school, but more daylight action would have been appreciated. Unfortunately it takes a good hour for Parker to suit up and whilst this allows a great deal of establishment, the later half seems a little rushed. The film often rehashes scenes from the original which is a shame, although some are presented quite differently. James Horner turns in a memorable main theme, which returns in heroic renditions when Spider-Man is in action. A secondary suspense theme is used for Conners. Horner also relies heavily on the piano for drama scenes, perhaps a little clichéd.
The film really feels like it sets up future installments as Spidey is quite underused in this adventure. However, The Amazing Spider-Man is a solid film and my girlfriend preferred it to the Raimi trilogy. I am still on the fence; it is great entertainment – but not amazing.
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