Five years after Sam Raimi’s trilogy came to a whimpering conclusion, Marc Webb is given the directorial reins on Sony’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. Chosen on the strength of his 2009 romantic-comedy (500) Days of Summer, Webb may be an unlikely selection to direct a movie about Marvel’s greatest hero, but in a era where studios tend to make obscure and risky chooses to direct superhero movies, this is the norm.
The Amazing Spider-Man started life as the fourth film in Raimi’s series until the directors’ departure from the project. The film opens with Peter Parker as a child siting on a staircase playing hide and seek, after a brief introduction to Peters parents, (something which did not feature in Raimi’s films) they abandoned him with his Aunt May & Uncle Ben.
Skip along a few years and the film brings us us back to a familiar story. Grouchy teenager Peter Parker acquires arachnid-esque superpowers after his curiosity leads him to get bitten by a radioactive Spider in Oscorp’s scientific research lab. Initially using his powers to search for his uncle’s Killer, Parker transforms into the spandex wearing, crime-fighting anti-hero of New York City.
In many ways this film is better than its predecessor, apart from righting the wrongs of the past, Never Let Me Go star Andrew Garfeild provides the only real comic relief and proves himself to be a better Spidey, and a better Peter than Tobey Maguire with a charming performance that carries the film through a lengthy runtime.
Zombieland star Emma Stone plays Peter’s love interest, Gwen Stacey, who isn’t exactly the girl next door (As Mary Jane was) but rather a classroom crush that blossoms in to a romance, which the film focuses on more than the Peter/Mary storyline of the original.
Also on the cast list: Anonymous star Rhys Ifans as the maimed Dr. Connors who’s beastly alter ego The Lizard provides a single nemesis for Spider-Man, Denis Leary as the stern police chief Captain Stacey and Apocalypse Now star Martin Sheen as the stupidly heroic Uncle Ben.
I feel as hard as this film tries to be different from the original it will always be compared too it. This origin story focusing on Peter’s high-school days and romances that may leave you feeling shortchanged. But never-the-less I don’t think this film will find it hard to get an audience, as 2012 delivers another chocolate in the box of treats for Marvel film fans.
Director: March Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field
Runtime: 136 mins