The Amazing Spider Man: Review
At first it seems extremely odd to have a reboot of the Spider Man franchise.
After all, it’s barely five years since the third in Sam Raimi’s series, featuring Tobey Maguire. And now, a completely new retelling of the Spider Man story with a new actor?
None of it makes sense – until you watch The Amazing Spider Man.
The first reaction is a sense of distraction: Don’t we know this story? What details are different? Is Martin Sheen really a good casting decision for Uncle Ben? Does Peter Parker look geeky enough?
However, this film is looking to present something different, and this quickly becomes apparent: it opens with the mysterious disappearance of Peter Parker’s parents.
The cinematography feels more ambitious; the colours are muted browns, blues, and greys, reminding more of Batman Begins.
And that explains the purpose of the film.
Just as Christopher Nolan’s reboot of Batman made the previous franchise releases look comical by comparison, so does Mark Webb’s Amazing Spider Man attempt the same comparison to the Raimi films.
Spider Man suddenly feels more grown-up, more real, without losing the flavour of the original comic character.
In fact, there are plenty of tributes to the comics in here, not least an insistence on a range of classic Spider Man postures.
And he’s back to his wise-cracking self as well – something that never really came across so strong in the previous films.
All that said, this is not so tightly scripted as recent releases such as Avengers Assemble and Iron Man – instead of relying on a single strong writer such as J Michael Straczynski (Thor) or Joss Whedon (Avengers Assemble), we have an ensemble – James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves.
And sometimes the gaps between the writers show – there’s a detail here, a detail there, that doesn’t look right, feels a little forced, seems like something’s missing.
Sometimes the film doesn’t seem entirely sure what it wants to be, how much it wants to avoid reference to the original Raimi film, or how much distance to create.
But these really are minor niggles – the overall production works well, and Andrew Garfield manages to portray a wholly convincing Spider Man.
Even Martin Sheen carries off Uncle Ben with understated competence …
Overall, the initial cynicism that Spider Man maybe a cash cow milked too quickly would be missing the point – this is a reinvention of the story that follows in the method of Nolan’s Batman. More than that, there’s a greater attempt to touch on the roots of Spider Man in a way the previous films were not able to do.
And this can only be a good thing.
The hope is that the film continues on the path that it has already taken. While the Raimi Spider Man films were enjoyable and fun and exciting, Webb attempts to take it all to another level, and mostly succeeds.
How well this can all be sustained remains to be seen in the sequel – which I’m very much looking forward to seeing.
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