Usually, I’d avoid reboots of any kind like they were the next Call of Duty game because, to me, they feel like the continual milking of a franchise that has already had its financially successful, but perhaps unsatisfyingly ended, day. Once you realise that Andrew Garfield’s adolescent Spider-man is somewhat more believable than Tobey Maguire’s rather light-hearted, fantasy-like portrayal of the character, though, it’s hard not to forget what’s come before and buy into this new version of the superhero myth.
There’s a certain realistic grittiness about director Marc Webb’s personal take on the more interesting aspects of the Amazing Spider-man comic book series, which is not so reliant on green suits and webbing that springs magically from Spidey’s arm. Here you’re more likely to see actors who know how to pull off hair styles and ACTUAL SEVEN FOOT TALL LIZARDS (nice to see Rhys Ifans is still finding work then), brought to life thanks to the customary bit of CGI vital to every Marvel Studios movie (…the lizard, that is, not the hair styles). Oh, and the stylish (and slightly pretty) Emma Stone, who you may remember from horror comedy – well, more comedy – Zombieland in 2009.
Stone plays Gwen Stacey, Peter Parker’s original love interest, who just so happens to be the daughter of police captain George Stacey. He, along with the rest of the NYPD, sees Spider-man for exactly what he is in the first half of this film: a vigilante. An arrogant boy in his late teens/ early twenties who thinks he has the right answers for stopping crime in the city. In fact, Parker’s entire motivation for becoming Spider-man and accepting the use of his powers is a simple desire for revenge rather than one for justice. He also plays with victims (sorry, criminals) upon catching them, while only going after the ones that suit him, acting in a way that many of us would if we had suddenly became very powerful and witnessed someone very close to us being shot dead in the street.
You see, very rarely do real people accept big responsibilities with such ease as we’ve seen in superhero movies of the past, not least Tobey Maguire’s own version of Spider-man ten years ago. Maguire’s character was arguably a more likable one (certainly from a parents point of view), but Garfield’s portrayal will hit you to the bone, resonating in a way that means when he finally does mature around the mid-way point of the film, you’ll feel it, and believe it, in an instant.
Not only have Marvel showed wisdom in their selection of actors and story elements, but there is also a clear mixture of style and substance in the special effects department. CGI is used relatively sparingly and never feels dangerously over-relied upon, Ifans’ character The Lizard being the main recipient of it.
The 3-D element of the film works well, partly because it doesn’t intrude on the action (and therefore our eyeballs), but mainly because the movie was actually shot in 3-D – meaning the producers didn’t rush to add it in post-production for a last minute profit boost.
Marvel has given us another summer spectacle to remember. I’m not saying I like the idea of reboots all of a sudden; they’re still going to be morally wrong in my eyes. Maybe I’m ready to admit, though, they’re simply a sign of moving with the times. Just don’t expect me to stay on this bandwagon for long if they decide to start over again with, say, Ultimate Spider-Man, or Jolly Green Spider-Man, or whatever other type of Spider-Man they can come up with.
8 / 10.