I was lucky enough to attend a UK premiere screening of everyone’s favourite web-slinging super hero: The Amazing Spider-Man. Hit the jump to read my almost spoiler free thoughts.
Title: The Amazing Spider-Man
Dir: Marc Webb
Top Billing: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans.
Release date: 3rd July
Synopsis: Like most teenagers his age, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. In his journey to put the pieces of his past together he uncovers a secret that his father held…a secret that will ultimately shape his destiny as Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man only just made my list of anticipated movies for 2012, and the biggest contributing factor to it making that list was the talent attached to it.
Andrew Garfield shined in the Social Network as Eduardo Saverin and even more so in Never Let me go. However for me his real triumphs are in the Red Riding trilogy, here he shows what he’s truly capable of – and the biggest reason I was excited to see him don the Spider-Man suit. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey is an inspired casting choice beating the likes of Anna Kendrick, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Mia Wasikowska. 2011 saw Emma Stone really shine in The Help. We also have Welshman Rhys Ifans as Dr. Connor / The Lizard.
Behind the camera we have Marc Webb, previously a music video director, although he’s only made one feature film (500 Days of Summer), It’s exciting to see what he can do with a big budget action movie.
We’re all fairly familiar with the Spidey-verse, with three recent movies already under the characters’ belt, he’s one of the least likely superheroes to have needed a reboot. The Amazing Spider-Man is (sadly) still produced by Sony Entertainment, so it remains completely separate to the recent events in the Marvel universe.
But I’m glad they rebooted it.
Andrew Garfield (a long time Spider-Man fan) really takes to both Peter and Spidey’s character with ease. He portrays Peter with just the right amount of intelligence, anger, emotion, and love. And gives Spider-Man his unique wit, and foresight. There are some really nice moments where you see Spider-esque movements and behaviours from both Spidey and Peter Parker – it just helps the characters to be seen as one and the same. Andrew Garfield just comes across as being much more relatable than previous incarnations.
Emma Stone captured Gwen’s strong minded and intelligent nature, she comes across as a real force to be reckoned with, but still fun. The story touches on how the fact that her father is a police officer, affects her relationship with Peter, but it never comes across as strong enough – although that’s not necessarily Emma’s fault.
Oh and both Emma and Andrew are REALLY good at crying.
Rhys Ifans is excellent and suitably chilling as Curt Connors and the Lizard. Giving us a brilliantly clever Curtis Connors, and a menacing Lizard. The use of motion capture for the CGI’d Lizard definitely helps to give it Ifans chilling trait.
I found the origin story had some great parallels to that of Batman Begins, but it’s just not as epic – everything feels too easy for Spider-Man with no real threat or hardship. It’s as if Peter was going through the motions with no desire or need to find out more. If you’ve seen the previous Spider-Man movies you’ll be quite familiar with the origin story, which is pretty much replicated in this version. The inclusion of Peters parents adds a great mystery, it’s tugged at a lot during the course of the film and is certainly set to crop up in the sequel (make sure you stay for the end credit scene). There are some really clever spider related scenes which I adore. Spider-Man has been called the most relatable superhero in Marvel’s universe, and I think keeping Peter in high school definitely echoed this sentiment, we’ve all had similar school related experiences – love, bullying, loss, and -um- giant lizard attack.
Marc Webb and the cinematographer (John Schwartzman) did a great job coming up with some excellent shots showing off spidey’s web slinging antics, the 3D definitely helped with giving the scenes a new dimension (somewhat literally), but mostly it felt like nothing new. I do have a complaint to make about the lighting of the movie, it was really dark; This made it particularly difficult to keep track of some action sequences.
If you’re looking to compare old Spider-Man with new Spider-Man: I can say that after re-watching, the gap between Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man is very similar to that of Tim Burton’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. The gap isn’t quite as wide but it’s the easiest comparator. 2002 Spider-Man simply felt very comic book like and almost cheesy in comparison to the grittier, darker reboot.
In some ways it’s a real shame this movie has been wedged between two of the most anticipated movies this year, both of which are superhero movies: The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. It certainly does not reach the heights of The Avengers and I’ll bet it’ll struggle to compete with TDKR. As much as I’d love to see Marvel as a studio take on Spider-Man, it is a refreshing change for the character so far and I welcome our darker, grittier, friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
How do you feel about the reboot? Are you looking forward to watching The Amazing Spider-Man?