Thanks to Sony Pictures Australia, we had the chance to Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-man before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say; we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!
The Amazing Spider-man is the “untold story” (at least in cinemas) of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) who lives with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) since he was a kid after the mysterious death of his parents. While at school, Parker finds a clue about his parents’ past, taking him to meet Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) who was his dad’s previous work partner.
As Parker looks for answers, he is not only exposed to experimental spiders (which as we know will give him amazing super powers), he also finds his first love in former classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) who works for Connors as an intern.
This Spider-man reboot is a fresh start by director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) who did a clever and risky job which took the franchise to a brand new level with a new cast and making the marvel super hero more realistic, in the likes of what Christopher Nolan did with the Batman franchise. In this film, the hero suffers real pain, gets injured, bleeds and is far from being invincible, contrarily seem to be very vulnerable physically and emotionally.
Andrew Garfield probes why he was the chosen one to fill Spider-man’s shoes, delivering a different performance than Tobey Maguire, giving us a non-nerd Peter Parker who wears contact lenses instead of the classic glasses in the comic books. Overall, Garfield`s Parker is more of a normal student with a great mind and skills in science, rides his skate board to school and enjoys taking photos when he is not a vigilante.
Perhaps the highlight in this film is the relationship between Emma Stone‘s character Gwen Stacy and Peter Parker as the couple shows a fantastic chemistry on-screen. Their story is so well thought out that you forget that you are watching a spider-man film sometimes, especially assisted by an all-star cast such as Martin Sheen and Sally Field, playing Peter`s family (Uncle Ben’s death genuinely moves you being one of the most emotional scenes in the film). Furthermore, Denis Leary is also in the film as the chief police Captain Stacy (Gwen’s dad), a serious replacement for the absent J.J. Jameson (we really miss him but he will surely be in the sequel) as he believes Spider-man is a masked criminal to be captured.
The villain in the film played by Rhys Ifans nailed the role of Curt Connors/The Lizard, reminding us of the great performance by Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi`s Spiderman (2002). Ifans‘ digital character The Lizard is technically immaculate but the design doesn`t look very convincing, even though it still works well especially in terms of textures and motion capture of a reptile.
Action is obviously everywhere as all the scenes with Spider-man is simply flawless in stunning aerial sequences of the arachnid super hero jumping between buildings testing his brand new “web-shooters” (an enormous realistic element in the film) putting his new skills to the test. He also fights villains from the classic car thief to the Lizard, in an epic battle at Peter’s school where some of the best stunts are shown by the Spider-man in the film.
Perhaps the flaw is the movie’s marketing campaign before release as it was advertised as ‘The Untold Story’ which seemingly the main focus is to explain the hero’s origin. But from what we’ve seen, the plot is not really that different from Raimi’s version in 2000 (Webb’s version only adds Parker’s parents and shows more of Peter’s school days)
Another factor that might be a let down is the 3D which the film was originally presented in but once again, it seems very unnecessary, except for some scenes with cars hanging and Spiderman leaping across the city made to show the power of this technology.
The Amazing Spider-man is a clever re-imagination of the characters with a realistic point of view. It is a lot of fun (and no doubt a box office money maker) and makes us forget the disappointing Spiderman 3 in the old trilogy (but still a bit far from the fantastic Spiderman 2 in 2004 which we think is the best Spider-man film to date)
And by the way…remember this is a Marvel film so after the movie finish, DO NOT LEAVE THE CINEMA as there is “something” in the middle of the ending credits.
The Amazing Spider-man opens July 4