Movie review: The Amazing Spider-Man
I'LL admit I was quite prepared to hate this film.
When it was announced that rather than moving forward with the fourth installment of Tobey Maguire/Sam Raimi's Spider-Man they were rebooting the franchise and heading back to where it all began, I was firmly in the camp of the naysayers.
With only ten years difference between the Maquire donned the spandex suit, it's too soon we cried.
It's just another blatant ploy to capitalize on the Twilight generation, we lamented.
But you can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
The Amazing Spider-Man holds up on its own and in some ways even betters Maquire's turn as the nimble hero.
It makes sense to take the action back to where it began with a new, youthful Peter Parker in the suit as in it's essence Spider-Man is a story of adolescence of discovering a new body and it's capabilities, of first loves and being thrust into new roles and responsibilities with fresh expectations and new wonders.
The pillars of the film remain the same, Parker is bitten by radioactive spider, Uncle Ben dies, his crime-fighting begins and first love is realised but here they are explored in slightly differently and Webb finds some fresh and exciting ways to play out the familiar plot points.
Andrew Garfield was born to play this role and is simply sublime as the nerdy but heroic Parker.
He is a beautiful combination of vulnerability and intensity and just the right amount of nerdy and brooding hero.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is perfect candidate for a love interest and she brings a sense of strength and smarts to the role; a refreshing take on the love interest role which is usually reserved for swooning and needing to be rescued.
But what lets The Amazing Spider-Man is its muddy plot which feels like it is never quite complete.
There are some beautiful tangents that are hinted at but never probably explored which is a little disappointing.
There are some great effects and solid action set pieces but these are not the movie's strong point.
What this reboot does best is craft and capture Parker's backstory and his central relationship.
Directed by Marc Webb of (500) Days of Summer fame, his name is not normally associated with action blockbusters which explains why the film's strong point is in the first half of the story and most captivating during the scenes when Parker is himself and interacting with Stone.
The two have a beautiful chemistry and their slightly awkward, but touching relationship is the true beauty of the film.
Brilliant performances give life to a tale more skewed to the man and his life under the mask rather than his acts of superheroism giving way to an origin story that is very deserving of this reboot.
The Amazing Spider-Man
- Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field
- Director: Marc Webb
- Rated: M
- Verdict: Three out of four stars