Our Spidey senses were tingling when we heard there was going to be a new Spider-Man film, but we weren’t sure that the story needed to be told again. However, after watching The Amazing Spider-Man, we can confirm that while the story is rather predictable, it is definitely worth watching the geek-turned-superhero sling his rebooted web around the city.
The story was always going to be pretty standard the second-time around, especially since it has only been five years since the last instalment of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. However, director Marc Webb has managed to bring in many new elements that make a good case for calling this the best Spider-Man film yet.
We join the gangly Peter Parker as is tries to make his way through high school amidst bullies, science lessons and one pretty girl in particular. Once events transpire to give him those infamous spider-like qualities, he finds himself in the middle of a whole new level of drama.
Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) plays the web-slinging hero and he gives an entrancing performance. From the first time we see him we can sense the superhero potential, however he enlists the right amount of audience sympathy as the geeky Peter Parker. What makes this film easier to watch than the previous ones is that he is never quite as cringingly geek-worthy as Tobey Maguire was. When Parker gets a helping hand from the spiders in the intricate web of scientific research his father pioneered, his true potential becomes realised and Garfield gets to show off his talents. He gets the spider-like movements spot on, from crawling up the sides of buildings to focussing in on a tasty-looking fly with lightening-fast reflexes. He is a great choice to play Spider-Man and even though others have gone before him, he manages to bring something fresh and modern to the character.
Rhys Ifans (The Five-Year Engagement, Notting Hill) makes a great crazy scientist-turned bad-guy. His lizard alter-ego appears to be a cross between Lord Voldemort’s green older brother on steroids, and a dinosaur. A scene from the first Jurassic Park in particular is evoked, when Parker’s love interest Gwen is hiding in a cupboard while he paces the room looking for her. It’s rather like that memorable scene in the dinosaur film where the two children are hiding in the kitchen. Like any truly great baddie, The Lizard has his own demons to fight and we waver between sympathy and horror.
Spidey’s love interest, Gwen Stacy is played by Emma Stone (Crazy, Stupid, Love). The great thing about her character is that she does not just stand back and wait for Spider-Man to save her, she shows that she can muster up her own courage and get things done at the crucial moment. Gwen is a good match for Peter in this film and it is nice to see her story coming to life once again. Her character has previously appeared in many comic-books over the years, although it is as yet unclear how much this current story will reflect those plotlines.
There is also a good smattering of comedy in The Amazing Spider-Man. Garfield provides us with some dead-pan yet hilarious moments, including when he tries to resist the urge to chow down on a fly. Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee also makes a cameo appearance, so look out for a particularly funny scene involving a fight between Spider-Man and Lizard, with an oblivious Stan Lee in the foreground.
The wide city scenes are particularly spectacular in 3D and it is this that really sets the film apart from previous ones. When Spidey is swinging from building to building, we can really see the difference in crispness and quality between this film and the last and when he leans over buildings, those with a touch of vertigo should look away.
The Amazing Spider-Man is the first in a planned trilogy, with an epilogue at the end of the film leaving audiences wanting more. It is out in cinemas now, so go out and catch the action while you can.