The current zeitgeist of the film industry seems to be able to be split into two things: Superheroes and reboots. So our film for today has the fortunate privilege of fitting into both these categories by being possibly the fastest rebooted franchise of a superhero related basis. As in most of these cases, it is, of course, an origin story and, like many other superhero reboots, takes a completely different tone to its predecessor. It is The Amazing Spider-Man
Several years after being left in the care of his Uncle Ben (Michael Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) by his parents, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) lives a very plain and uninteresting life. He is an awkward high school dwelling student who is ignored by the ladies but not by the bullies. He has trouble talking to the girls, particularly the beautiful blonde Gwen (Emma Stone), and he is constantly trying to come to terms with his parents’ abandonment. Then he finds some of his father’s old and secret work. This sparks an investigation into the works at Oscorp and their experiments which lead to him getting bitten by a radioactive spider. (But you knew that bit, right?) After this incident he develops some superhuman qualities and, after his Uncle Ben is murdered, he sets about stopping crime in the hope he can avenge his uncle. Elsewhere, his father’s algorithm on cross species work is put into development by Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) which causes some disastrous results. Feeling the burden, the newly named Spider-Man jumps into action.
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It is suffice to say that the casting director for the film should be given an award. Andrew Garfield is almost the perfect Spider-Man. At first he seems a little too attractive to be the typical nerd type character, but the second he opens his mouth to speak, all becomes obvious. His speech represents the idea of a geek fantastically. Stuttering, shy looking away, misunderstandings, ramblings, it’s perfect. And he is great with the more confident, sassy side of Spider-Man as well. Full respect for doing a lot of the stunt work too. Emma Stone is brilliant as Gwen Stacey and, like Garfield, is great with the awkward conversation and they are an excellent pair. The supporting roles are all superb too. Michael Sheen as Uncle Ben and Rhys Ifans as Dr Connors are the two that particularly stand out. Sheen for his subtle performance that shows his love and complete frustration with Peter and Ifans for his psychotic nature and his internal struggle with what is best for himself and science.
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The biggest flaw with The Amazing Spider-Man is its length. Admittedly, it has few flaws, but they are big ones, the length being the most prominent. A film should never seem to drag and, if it does, cut out a few of those slow motion shots of Spider-Man doing something we have seen him do a hundred times before. Not to say these shots weren’t visually stunning, but they were superfluous; they served no benefit to the movie. The other biggest flaw was the lack of development spent on certain moments and decisions. While the audience’s imagination should be led by a director in a particular direction, they should not be left to guess which direction that is. Apart from these two issues, Spider-Man is technically fantastic. The score is spot on and the camera work is incredible (though the first person is a bit disorienting.)
Overall, it is a good movie. It is a solid reboot and is one of the rare occasions where it outdoes the previous attempt. The film also includes Stan Lee’s funniest cameo to date and some fantastic fight scenes. While it could do with a bit more flesh and a bit less fat, metaphorically speaking, it is an enjoyable ride through Spider-Man’s origins with some touching and uplifting moments along with the action.
Best Bit? The most outstanding part of the film is when we see Parker go from vigilante after revenge to actual hero after saving several cars and a child from plummeting to their doom.