Cinema Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

man in spandex

DIR:Marc Webb • WRI: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves • PRO: Avi Arad, Matthew Tolmach, Laura Ziskin • DOP: John Schwartzman • ED: Alan Edward Bell, Michael McCusker, Pietro Scalia • DES: J. Michael Riva • Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans

And sure why not do this?! It’s not like a billion dollars worth of people are already well aware of Peter Parker’s humble beginnings!! Despite an armada of promotional material suggesting otherwise, The Amazing Spider-Man remains an origin tale. And one excruciatingly similar to Sam Raimi’s efforts of ten years ago!

That was sarcasm.

A lot of sarcasm.

Yes, some novel angles and fresh slants compliment the wry humour and often joyous special effects. Cast and characters enjoy similar redecoration. Titular web-slinger Andrew Garfield accounts for himself very well indeed, though undisputed Best-of-her-Generation Emma Stone does even better.

Yet the opening hour treads such familiar territory, stumbling over more than a few wider Superhero clichés, you’ll find yourself impatiently wishing him into the impossible-for-any-teenage-boy-to-ever-weave-anything-so-intricate spandex and just bloody well get on with it.

The emotional ‘toil’ of this charming, quick-witted, handsome, athletic, intelligent adolescent wore a bit thin a decade ago. Retracing these steps (at the expense of anything resembling an action sequence) seems a dependable way to piss an audience off.

It’s not until Dr Curt Connors’ (Rhys Ifans) ill-fated bid to restore his right arm with reptilian genes that The Amazing Spider-Man kicks into gear, finally standing apart as its own chronicle rather than a trendy revamp.

But by then the damage is done.

And for every fresh innovation, every frightened boy encouraged to rescue himself from a flaming vehicle, every secret revealed to a wonderfully mature, competent girlfriend there is the obligatory scene of a newly augmented Parker turning the tables on his bullies or New Yorkers aiding their friendly neighbourhood vigilante.

Rather than doing the sensible thing and running for their lives!

And don’t get me started on how often the R word is bandied about.

FYI Sony Pictures – Synonyms for Responsibility: Accountability, duty, obligation…

On its own merits, The Amazing Spider-Man is a heartfelt blockbuster and an impressive accomplishment for director Marc Webb.

It illuminates how comic book films, because of not in spite of their origins, boast nuanced character and emotional turmoil to compliment well crafted gags and spectacular fights involving a high school, a red and blue spandexed acrobat and a nine-foot-lizard-man-dinosaur-thing!

But one cannot entitle a work ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ without inviting certain comparisons.

Chances are, if you are in any way excited for Spidey’s latest outing, you’ve seen at least some of the previous trilogy.

Should you fall into this category take heed: You’ll be impressed by Garfield, you’ll fall in love with Stone and the Lizard’s wall crunching, truck flipping set pieces (albeit unpardonably brief) entertain on a level paralleling Spiderman 2’s now legendary Doc Ock/Spidey slugfests.

But nonetheless, that spidey sense will tingle.

You may not have seen nor heard ALL of this before. But there’ll be enough unshakable familiarity to mar what should have been a hip, sensitive, spectacular and above all unique Spider-Man film.

But hey! It could be much, MUCH worse.

It could be Spider-Man 3….

Jack McGlynn

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
136m 03s
The Amazing Spider-Man is released on 3rd July 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man – Official Website

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