It hasn’t been too long since the Sam Raimi Spidey-Flick and as a result when the announcement came everyone was right to be uncertain about the Marc Webb reboot. Granted we have had reboots and retelling in movies (Batman Begins) and comic books (Daredevil: Yellow & Man Without Fear). However, these have had the benefits of years in between installments and a valid reason for updating. Therefore, if you’re going to re-web instead of swinging to the next instalment, you’d better pull it out the bag.
The problem Amazing Spider-Man has post credits, is it’s ham-strung by being another origin movie that feels too soon after the last. In order to stay faithful you can only interpret a high-schooler being bitten by a radioactive spider so many ways. So you add in some clandestine parental conspiracy and, well, not much else. After all, you take your re-imagining too far afield and you just may face the Thwip of Spider-Fans everywhere!
Whether your Spidey-Bible is that of Raimi’s films or the Marvel comic book, the feeling of treading old ground is all too apparent and you are waiting for the web-slinging to start. This is something the makers seem aware of so, crawling over the origin with enough depth to anchor later themes, we skip ahead to the fun. A justifiably brief montage of suit making and web shooters (which make perfect sense) and we get to the fun. In all honesty, spidey just feels more spidey than the last incarnation. The actual web-swinging is spot on and whether it be real or CG infused, the poses are straight from the book whether it be Amazing or Spectacular. The fights too are arachnicity (real word check!) and survival instincts in equal measure. You’ll be crawling and ducking along with our gangly hero. Some superb nods are added for those looking. Although he doesn’t earn his spurs in the wrestling ring, he manages to crash land in one and a ring side poster gives the inspiration for the spidey suit. Plus; Sidekick award for the best Stan Lee cameo goes to Amazing Spider-Man, where in the middle of fight-for-your-life bombast in a library, Lee continues to check-in books while his life is saved.
Where this film really succeeds is the casting. Garfield imbues Peter perfectly with vulnerability and trepid confidence. Making the quipping and sassing of street scum believable once he’s masked (rather than the whimpering Maguire). Similarly, Emma Stone hits all the right notes to have you see what Peter does - more than just girl-next-door and sad banality of Kirsten Dunst - Stone earns the affections rather than it being assumed. This is ultimately where the movie finds it’s heart. We all remember the those cripplingly awkward moments talking to the opposite sex in high school and rarely have we relived it so vividly. The result is a more believable and likable Spidey, and this particular sidekick would venture a more successful one.
3* – Positive Adjective Spider-Man