Rebecca Jackaman review
The last time this superhero thwipped his way onto our screens, it didn’t go so well. Spiderman 3 had too many villains (and then there was that haircut) and was met with a lot of critical disappointment, and furthermore, plans for a fourth sequel were scrapped. Which was a shame really, because the first two films were actually quite good.
But with the film industry still chugging healthily along with plenty of other blockbuster sequels and reboots to keep us amused (Nolan’s Batman franchise immediately swoops into mind), it was only a matter of time before Spiderman got another chance at success.
The Amazing Spiderman finally gives us an insight into why Peter Parker lives with his Aunt and Uncle. His parents were scientists who mysteriously disappeared when he was very young, and when Peter discovers a briefcase in his uncle’s basement, it leads him to Oscorp laboratories. Here, he meets Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who happened to be his father’s partner before he vanished. Connors studies reptiles, and hopes to use their cells to rebuild himself a new arm, after losing it in a war…with terrifying consequences.
Andrew Garfield slips on the infamous mask, and this time, that cheeky alter-ego really shines through.
“You’ve found my weakness,” he whimpers, while an armed car-thief steps menacingly towards him, before blasting him against a wall with his web-slinger. “It’s small knives!”
The other difference with Garfield’s Peter Parker is that he can cry without looking pathetic. I know that sounds a bit harsh, and though I liked Maguire’s interpretation, Garfield brings him well out of just being a total geeky wet blanket. He designs his weapons himself, as well as a switch-powered lock on his bedroom door, yet his awkwardness around girls shows he is just like any other kid in school, complete with (yes!) a skateboard – and he certainly knows how to use it. He’s also a nice kid who works hard in school, and has to put up with the bullies; I think that’s why we like him so much, because he’s just an ordinary guy, trying to get through life…just with some extra abilities! Unfortunately, we are subjected to seeing his beloved Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) being shot (again), though the back story behind it is quite different to the other one (good).
Marc Webber has clearly done his homework with this film, though. There are many scenes that seemed to have come straight out of the comics. One example is in the sewers: Parker is sat on a web, strung up to each of the walls when suddenly, something plucks at one of the strings, then another, then another…and he realises there are lizards crawling towards him.
Emma Stone (The Help, Easy A) plays his love-interest, Gwen Stacey (not Mary-Jane!). Garfield and Stone are actually a couple in real-life, which may explain why their banter was so natural, albeit while being incredibly, adorably awkward at times.
Watching Spiderman swing through the streets of New York blew my eight year old mind in 2002, but watching it now, you can blatantly see the use of CGI (and don’t get me started on the part where he climbs a wall for the first time). The same can not be said for The Amazing Spiderman. It looks real, in fact, most of it is real, from what I have seen from a special feature about it on Channel 4, and the clever use of light and shadow make for a very authentic wall-climbing scene, though it is rather brief, because Peter is too busy fighting some thugs to stick around (hee hee) for long.
This film is a new (almost) fresh look to the Spiderman story, with a villain who is not all bad and gets most of the CGI, which is a relief.
Bring on the sequel!