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The Amazing Spider-Man - Review

04 JUL 2012 | Posted By: SineadStubbins

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The Amazing Spider-Man - Review

The Amazing Spider-Man
 
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The Amazing Spider-Man
Dessert is a concept that isn’t really essential to the existence of humans.

Why is it that we eat until we’re full, wait an hour, then decide we need a little something sweet to cap off an already satisfying meal? Because dessert is fun, sweet and frankly it’s human nature to lust for more than what we need. I would argue that it was under this same logic that Marvel decided to reboot the Spider-Man franchise.

Or maybe I  just had low blood sugar at the time.

Director Sam Raimi has passed the torch to Marc Webb of (500) Days of Summer, who was charged with re-booting the franchise ten years after the first Spider-Man gave everyone motion sickness. The reboot was Marvel’s reaction to all the scripts for Spider-Man 4 turning out fairly shit, and rather than admit they had no more juice in the tank they decided to revisit Spidey in a different way.

The Amazing Spider-Man begins with a small Peter Parker being hastily given to his aunt and uncle (Sally Fields and Martin Sheen) as his parents race off into the stormy night for an unknown reason, never to be seen again. Fast forward to Peter’s (Andrew Garfield) teenage years, and he is an awkward skater dude who is ignored by girls and often gets a basketball to the face by friendly jocks. The only girl that gives him the time of day is Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). She likes science! He likes science! A Coldplay song comes on when they talk to each other!

Through Gwen, Peter meets his father’s old work colleague Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who introduces him to the concept of cross species genetics. Peter eventually helps Connors to successfully develop a reptile inspired limb regeneration formula, but before that he accidently wanders into The Spider Room, aaaannnd you know the rest kids!

There are a couple of differences between 2002’s Spider-Man and the current version. Sheen and Fields are a better fit for aunt and uncle with their easy banter, and genuinely make your feel for them when Peter goes through his “YOU’RE NOT MY REAL PARENTS!” tantrums. And when Peter’s uncle meets his maker, it's a lot more affecting this time around.

Secondly, Peter Parker is a different type of nerd (whether you like it or not). He’s not the simpering Peter we saw from Toby Maguire, but is slightly cooler (maybe not by high school standards) and is just a shy guy who doesn’t communicate particularly well. He’s not the same dweeb as in the comics, but as Webb has explained in interviews, this is 2012 and nerds pretty much rule the world now. Oh, and they've discovered contact lenses!

Thirdly, the mechanics of the Spider-Man suit including the construction of the web, is fully explained, which is incredibly satisfying. However, it's in the action where The Amazing Spider-Man disappoints.

Maybe nothing will be as impressive as that first leap off a building in Spider-Man, but the stomach dropping swings, people dangling on threads and dropping like flies aren’t as thrilling this time around. Even though the characters are likable and have excellent chemistry, it isn’t that radical a departure from the original series.

Webb has explained in interviews that he hopes his film will be judged as just one in a canon of Spider-Man films, just another isolated instalment in a franchise like James Bond. This is all well and good, but unlike Bond Spider-Man relies heavily on back story, and unless each movie is going to be like isolated weekly instalments of a cartoon, it’s hard to see how this will be sustained. Not comparing the 2002 and 2012 versions is almost impossible.

The Amazing Spider-Man is sweet, but maybe we should have waited a little longer between dinner and dessert.

Two and a half stars.
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