It would have made more sense to me for Spiderman to join in on the Avengers initiative as opposed to giving him his own overblown, so called reboot. The plot tweaks are significant and there is enough adventure to stay alert for fans of the superhero genre, but did this really need to be made?
Touted as an untold origin story, the opening hour at least is merely a darker combination of the 2002 version introducing the soon to be web-slinger Peter Parker. Looking a little too old for high school, British rising star Andrew Garfield (Social Network, Never Let Me Go) takes over from Tobey Maguire to play Parker, dropping the dorky qualities for a more haunted persona. Unfortunately at a very young age, his parents literally abandoned the boy who is thankfully taken in with open arms from his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Jumping ahead a few years, Parker is investigating the unofficial disappearance of his parents and becomes associated with his father’s old partner in secret experiments, Dr. Conners. Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) hams up the weirdness as this obsessive mad scientist type with one arm who attempts to regenerate himself by injecting elements lizard genes enabling instant limb growth, however an overdose of the juice proves fatal. A growling villain is born, the Lizard.
Revenge is the order of the day and a long history of madness is at boiling point with only one red-suited man able to save the city from this reckless monster. With Peter Parker slowly turning into Spiderman after being bitten by the inevitable radioactive arachnid, this gets moving on all fronts. In-between heroics, romantic interludes prove fun with Gwen Stacy (an irrepressible Emma Stone) who needs some gentle persuading at first to find time to spend with Parker.
The action set pieces are mostly intense, but Spiderman’s scenes are predominantly at night which does very little to enhance the 3D effects. His swinging from building to building is OK at first, it seems too much like a video game, the longer he jumps, momentum is actually lost along with the audiences interest.
A scintillating cast save the film, especially veterans Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now) as Ben and Sally Field (Smokey & the Bandit) as May. Receptive to the care of Peter, they offer advice and warmth in equal doses giving the film some extremely tender moments. Emma Stone can do no wrong, acting with those big green eyes and husky voice, she gives what could have been a simple girlfriend is distress role an extra dimension. Her frank chemistry with Garfield is obvious on screen. Look out for 1980′s ‘Soul Man’ and star of ‘The Outsiders’, C. Thomas Howell, in a small but effective role. Of course, keep you eyes peeled for Marvel comics creator king Stan Lee, in yet another designated cameo, always brings a smile to my face.
The Amazing Spider-Man is worth a look but doesn’t break any new ground, making matters a little more irritating is a lame baddie but at least an improvement on the dismal Sandman in 3. A minor distraction until Dark Knight Rises finally arrives to cinemas.
The Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters Tuesday, May 3rd.