Jul 10, 2012|
This reboot of the Spider-Man franchise may owe its existence more to strategic commercialism than genuine enthusiasm, but thanks to a good cast led by Andrew Garfield and the distinctive approach of director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), The Amazing Spider-Man is an action-driven blockbuster with a tasteful blend of coming-of-age and romance.
The new film delves further back into our hero’s early childhood, when a four-year-old Peter Parker is entrusted to Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) by his parents, who then mysteriously disappear forever. Fast-forward to the present, Peter (Garfield) is a skateboarding high-schooler with a passion for science and photography, and a crush on his brainy beauty of a classmate, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). The discovery of his father’s old genetics research papers leads Peter to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his dad’s former partner and the head scientist at Oscorp. It’s here, during a tour of the corp’s state-of-the-art lab, that a bite from a genetically-altered spider gives Peter life-changing powers.
Thankfully, our protagonist is not quite the same insecure shy guy portrayed by Tobey Maguire. Instead, we see a darker and deeper side of Peter, who’s struggling with school bullying, adolescent angst, romance and family mysteries, but isn’t afraid of standing up for himself. He’s even something of a loose cannon before his rebelliousness is chained by a sense of responsibility. British actor Garfield dazzles in bringing both the socially awkward outsider and the web-slinging crusader to life while providing most of the film’s gags.
The scribes also made a wise decision in taking their time to depict Peter’s transformation. Though the superhuman abilities come instantly, to explore and adapt them—both physically and psychologically—isn’t an easy task. The action sequences featuring Connors’ gigantic and destructive reptilian alter-ego, The Lizard, are exhilarating, though left a little late, while the 3D effects are pretty unnecessary and James Horner’s score uneven. But that’s probably because Webb was more interested in crafting an emotionally involving film than a bombastic piece of eye-candy.