The Amazing Spider-Man

8 Jul

Disclaimer: I am a Tobey McGuire fan. I liked the first two spider man films and found the third installment atrociously bad (i.e. story wise). A reboot five years later did not make sense especially since the whole idea behind it seemed inclined towards making it a 3D extravaganza. Also, isn’t the Lizard a second class villain?

Peter Parker (Max Charles) aged four is playing a game of hide n seek with his father Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) when he discovers his dad’s study room in a mess. Realizing that there was a break-in, Richard Parker and his wife Mary Parker (Embeth Davidtz) leave Peter at his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben’s (Martin Sheen) house while trying to flee an unknown (to us) enemy. Fast forward and Peter (Andrew Garfield) is all grown up into a nerdy college student who’s got a passion for photography, science and his crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Stumbling on his father’s old briefcase, he finds a photo of him with a colleague named Dr. Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans) along with some secret documents. Sneaking his way into pharmaceutical company named Oscorp; Peter impresses Connors, eludes his crush and gets bitten by a genetically modified spider. And, we all know what happens next.

Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

As evident, ‘The Amazing Spider Man’ is an origin story where we revisit the college years of Peter and his transformation into your friendly neighborhood hero Spider Man. It was the year 2002 when Sam Raimi introduced us to the Web slinging franchise. With Marc Webb at the helm this time, he had some pretty big shoes to fill just a decade later.

With a story more inclined towards the comic book, Webb managed to bring something different in comparison. More time is spent showing the teenage angst of Peter as he stumbles through his new found abilities such that you tend to prefer Peter over Spider Man. This favorability dually also lies with Andrew Garfield’s brilliant act. He embodies the role of Peter with natural, genuine charm ranging from being a typical teenager to a tentative lover, a volatile nephew or a faltering hero. As Spider Man, he fails to blow you away as he lacks the screen presence you expect from a superhero.

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was a huge improvement as a love interest. There was no screaming ‘damsel in distress’ moments that had become such an integral part of the previous trilogy. You instead get some smartness and humor with bucket loads of chemistry between her and Andrew which does become one high key of the film.

Emma Stone and& Andrew Garfield

The Jekyll and Hyde combo of Dr. Connors and The Lizard is a mixed bag of good human presence and bad reptile representation. Rhys Ifans is good as Dr. Connors and his transformation to the dark side seemed promising. Unfortunately apart from some in your face ‘jumpy’ scenes, the design of the Lizard was disappointing especially that humanoid face.

Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curtis Connors

Denis Leary as Gwen’s father Captain Stacy was good as the authoritative police figure without any over the top attics. Veteran actors Martin Sheen and Sally Field were well cast and were good in their lovable warm interpretation of the characters. Irrfan Khan as Norman Osborn’s minion Rajit Ratha was wasted.

Denis Leary as Captain Stacy

With lots of web slinging action, it’s hard to go wrong with 3D. Fortunately 3D was not overly used with it being limited to the action scenes only. Cinematography and camera work was brilliant and the soundtrack went along perfectly. Screenplay and those witty dialogues were spot on. I really like the comic book touch of inane wisecracks during action scenes from Spiderman. Talking about the action scenes, they might not be ‘The Avengers’ level of awesome, but are fun to watch nonetheless.

Andrew Garfield

CGI was substandard to say the least; something you don’t expect from a big budget summer film. A little investigation leads us to the culprits, i.e. Sony Pictures Imageworks who were behind the eye-sore ‘The Green Lantern’. Some of the plots (spider suit for example) seemed rushed and unexplained while some of them were just unnecessary placed into the script to lead to something more dramatic. And, even though the story is well paced, a running time of 136mins does push it a little far.

It clearly helped cast good actors when the idea of rebooting this franchise popped up. The Amazing Spider Man is an enjoyable and a somewhat refreshing take on the story already told a decade ago. It won’t blow you away, but it’ll keep you entertained for those two hours.

7/10

Martin Sheen, Sally Field and Andrew Garfiled

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