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Published on December 8th, 2012 | by Yellow Magpie

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The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review: Out-swinging Its Predecessor

The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review

Director: Marc Webb.
Cast: Andrew Garfield , Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans and Denis O’Leary.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a film that will delight the senses and provide a solid and engaging storyline to a compelling retelling of the origins of the Arachnid hero.

The appropriately named Marc Webb has done a stunning job in recasting the famous comic-book figure in a new and interesting light. Perhaps emboldened by the success of the Batman reboot, Webb’s new Spiderman places drama and storytelling firmly at its core.

The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) Columbia Pictures Industries

Peter Parker is a teenager meandering through the formative years of his life. Curious about the mysterious disappearance of his parents he accidentally gets bitten by a genetically-altered spider while investigating the company where his father previously worked. After being invaded by the modified DNA he transforms into the titular Spiderman. Not wanting to deny his coming of age, he also has his eyes firmly set on the smart and attractive Gwen Stacy.

‘Fizzling with good chemistry and clean, crisp dialogue, the film captures perfectly the awkwardness of teenage sexual relations.’

A formidable foe soon emerges that threatens the existence of both the city and Spiderman. Along the way the tragic death of his uncle forces Parker to confront adulthood sooner than expected.

The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) Columbia Pictures

At the core of the film is a love story between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Fizzling with good chemistry and clean, crisp dialogue, the film captures perfectly the awkwardness of teenage sexual relations.

Andrew Garfield delivers a solid performance as Peter Parker and Spiderman. Garfield’s Parker is thankfully devoid of the social anxiety that plagued other portrayals. Instead we have a likeable, socially competent, prototypical teenager. Gone also are the dry, unfunny jokes which are replaced with lines that may raise a chuckle or two.

Imbibed with Spiderman’s superhuman abilities and already ultra-intelligent, Garfield’s Spiderman is also somewhat arrogant befittingly the cockiness of early years.

‘Pleasant, funny and savvy, Stone brings a slightly rebellious, individualistic streak to a well-written role.’

Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy provides ballast and feminine charm to an otherwise masculine, testosterone-filled film. Pleasant, funny and savvy, Stone brings a slightly rebellious, individualistic streak to a well-written role. What’s more is the fact that she operates on the same intellectual level as Parker providing an ideal equal.

The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) And Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) Columbia Pictures

Captain George Stacy, played by Denis Leary, operates as a foil to both Peter Parker and Spiderman. Highly suspicious of the vigilante web-slinger, Stacy is also the overprotective father of Parker’s love interest, Gwen. A no-nonsense figure and a man of conviction Leary’s Stacy is the city’s enforcer.

‘Transforming into the angry, human-hating Lizard, Ifans animalism is mesmerising.’

Rhys Ifans delivers a measured and considered performance as the obsessed genetic engineer, Dr. Curt Connors, desperately trying to regrow a lost limb. After being given a finished formula in an ill-conceived move by Peter Parker, Connors, under duress after losing his access to his research, undertakes to prematurely trial the genetically-altering serum on himself.

Ifans’s portrayal of a tortured and tormented soul, grappling with his fervent desire to become whole again while being self-aware of both his selfishness and irresponsibility, is the stand-out role of the film. Transforming into the angry, human-hating Lizard, Ifans animalism is mesmerising.

Martin Sheen is highly likeable as the gentile and wise Uncle Ben. A considerate avuncular figure his premature loss provides a focused driving force in Parker’s life.

The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), Aunt May (Sally Field) And Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) Columbia Pictures

Sally Field also produces a fine performance as the deeply stressed and depressed Aunt May. Stripped away of her long-time husband and seeing her nephew struggle to deal with his grief she tries her best to give emotional support. In doing so, Field gives the film realism.

The direction and visual effects deserve special mention. The scenes where the protagonist and antagonist tousle are raw with physicality and puncture through the cinema screen giving the audience a stunning visceral experience. This is emphasised by the manner in which there seems to be a very real danger to Spiderman in nearly all of the scenes.

‘One of the biggest gripes of the film is the crude cameo appearance of Stan Lee.’

The uber-intelligence and knowledge of Peter Parker strain credibility and it may have been more prudent to make him a college student. As it is, his young years just add to the improbability of knowing so much at such a formative age.

The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) Columbia Pictures-Optimized

One of the biggest gripes of the film is the crude cameo appearance of Stan Lee. What makes Lee’s appearance all the more distracting is that it occurs right in the middle of a highly tense scene between the Lizard and the main protagonist. Lee’s constant cameos in Marvel films may have been funny the first time, and mildly amusing on the second occasion however at this stage it is bordering on trying obtain milk from a fossilised bovine.

In future, if Stan Lee has to make an appearance in a Marvel film it might be best to hide him in a scene that requires a magnifying lens to identify him with.

Lee’s unwarranted appearance aside, The Amazing Spider-Man is a film that delivers with a smart, likeable and down-to-earth protagonist; a worthy antagonist, good co-stars and a well-conceived plot that is delivered with pizazz.

Recommended Reading/Viewing

You can obtain The Amazing Spider-Man here from Amazon.

Amazon.co.uk
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access: The Amazing Spider-Man film from here.

Amazon.ca
For Canada: The Amazing Spider-Man film.

Amazon.de
For Germany: The Amazing Spider-Man film.

Amazon.fr
For France: The Amazing Spider-Man film.


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