Release Date: 29 June 2012
Director: Marc Webb
Running Time: 136 min
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
After a disappointing third installment and a doomed fourth project, Sony decided that drastic measures were needed to keep the Spider-Man legend going. When a complete remake of the franchise was declared in 2010, a mere 3 years after Sam Raimi’s Spider-man 3, fanboys were understandably skeptical. Give Webb’s Amazing Spider-man a chance though, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Desperate scientist Dr Curt Connors is obsessed with a controversial “cross-species genetic engineering” theory he believes has the potential to change the world. He ropes in Richard Parker, a fellow lab dweller who ends up biting off more he can chew. When the project goes awry, it’s up to Parker’s son Peter (Andrew Garfield) to solve the mystery of his parents’ sudden disappearance. Both their pursuits eventually intersect, and as Connors’ experiments grow more dangerous, Parker has to find a way to halt it before it destroys the city.
Taking over the reins from Tobey Maguire, Garfield is as much of an uncoordinated geek as Maguire’s Parker. However, he is snarkier and more eager to show off his abilities – both intellectual and supernatural. Even with his good looks and skateboarding skills, he fumbles through school and navigates a painfully awkward romance with feisty classmate Gwen Stacy.
The romance between the two overachievers is a highlight of the film. Emma Stone proves to be a more independent and self-assured love-interest than Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane Watson and Bryce Dallas Howard’s forgettable former portrayal of the role.
The Lizard seems a formidable enough antagonist with his size and intellect, but in these post-Heath Ledger Joker days, it takes a lot more than an unnatural physical appearance to make a comic book villain memorable and terrifying.
Despite doing its best to avoid any similarities to its predecessor (engaging a never-before seen villain, new back story, new love interest), the Amazing Spider-Man does suffer somewhat from being the second child. As certain milestones in the character’s timeline have already played out in Sam Raimi’s well-known trilogy, this movie becomes a little predictable. Still, Webb keeps the audience interested by extracting every ounce of gawky teenage humour and suspense from fight scenes with the Lizard.
Unfortunately, while that may make Amazing Spider-man a fun-filled romp, it fails to have any significant standout moments. and instead merely keeps the film pleasantly entertaining. Still it has the potential to expand, and with hints of the Green Goblin waiting in the wings, the updated franchise is definitely very much alive.