EVEN BETTER THAN THE REAL THING
When I arrived at Lido 5 ten minutes late due to some unnecessary administrative hassle, the film had just begun and whilst I was struggling to find my seat, I missed a scene between a very young Peter Parker and his father Richard. Great start! BUT once I settled down in my seat, the story of awkward, geeky teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) began to unfold before my eyes. Very soon, his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) were introduced, in addition to the gorgeous Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and I bought it lock stock and barrel!!!
Yes, it’s the reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise a mere ten years after Tobey Maguire first wore the red and blue suit and all the key origin plot points are retained with some modifications and surprises along the way. Any concerns I had about whether it was too soon to reboot the franchise was quickly set aside by Garfield’s convincing performance as Peter Parker – definitely an improvement on Tobey Maguire – younger, leaner and goofier! I was sold!
The plot itself is fairly straightforward – Peter discovers an old suitcase belonging to his father which leads him to Richard Parker’s former colleague Dr Curt Connors. Dr Connors is a scientist working at Oscorp in the field of cross-specie genetics and is hoping to rid the human race of all its inherent flaws and weaknesses but is unsuccessful due to an incomplete algorithm. In the process, Peter gets bitten by a genetically-altered spider and gains super-powers, ultimately assuming the alter-ego of Spider-Man. Peter helps Dr Connors to complete the algorithm and Dr Connors – under pressure from Oscorp – uses the serum on himself thereby transforming himself into the villainous Lizard! Dr Connors-Lizard hatches a diabolical plan which endangers New York and Spider-Man has to stop him.
Sure, there is more to the film that this basic storyline but that’s for you to discover. Director Marc Webb makes all the right choices with regards to the Peter-Gwen relationship, the evolution of Spider-Man from vigilante to hero and the deepening of the mystery behind Peter’s parents’ disappearance and apparent death. Certainly, the movie has been set up definitely as a trilogy with a ending credits sequence that mystifies more than it reveals.
The characterization of the main players are well developed as well. Gwen Stacy is presented not only as a stunning blonde but also as an intelligent, brave and saucy young woman. At no time is she ever portrayed as the shrieking victim as Mary-Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) was in the previous series. This aspect of the movie will definitely appeal to the female demographic I am certain.
The supporting cast is brilliant as well, from Rhys Ifan’s sympathetic Dr Connors-Lizard to Denis Leary’s solid portrayal of Captain Stacy to Sally Field’s stoic Aunt May. All told, a spectacular endeavor with numerous personal highlights – Web shooters! Stan Lee’s cameo! Gwen’s smarts! Spider-Man graffiti! The inspiration for the mask! Trust me, The Amazing Spider-Man is definitely in the top 5 best ever superhero movies and in my humble opinion stands up to The Avengers anytime! It is a good time to be a geek!
The Amazing Spider-Man opens in cinemas on 29th June 2012. Much appreciation to Leon Pereira/SONY Singapore for making this review possible.