Yesterday I finally saw the new Spider-Man reboot, featuring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey. What follows are my thoughts on it.
I love Spider-Man and ever since I got into comics a couple of years ago I have been avidly reading “The Amazing Spider-Man” series. The recent “Ends of the Earth” story was awesome, as was last year’s “Spider Island”. There’s a reason why Spider-Man got the privileged position of being on this blog’s banner! Now there’s various debate about whether this Spider-Man reboot was really necessary (as a recent guest poster here discussed). Now I only saw the third of Sam Raimi’s film trilogy and that was around when it came out so I don’t really remember it very well. But seeing the trailers and having got really into Spider-Man I decided to see the new one. Though it’s intentions were largely financial I’m sure, perhaps this new film does bring a different audience to the previous trilogy.
In terms of plot, it’s not particularly original. (Some spoilers maybe but comics fans know all this stuff anyway). Nerdy high-school student Peter Parker visits Oscorp industries in an attempt to find out what happened to his Mother and father and is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains all sorts of powers. When his inaction leads to the death of his Uncle Ben, Peter learns he has a responsibility and starts fighting crime in a hand-made suit and with web slingers he made himself (top marks for that rather than them being natural!). It all ends in a big battle between Spider-Man and the Lizard, with Peter’s new girlfriend Gwen Stacy getting caught up in it all along the way.
For me, Andrew Garfield is the perfect Peter Parker. His mixture of nerd, teenage angst and sarcastic superhero are just right. After all this film is more about Peter Parker then it is about Spider-Man and Garfield really delivers. I’ve nearly forgotten Tobey Maguire ever played the role already! Emma Stone is equally great as Gwen Stacy. As much as I already loved Emma Stone, I never rated her acting particularly highly but compare her role her to that of say Zombieland and it is clear she does have a talent, which is perhaps less noticeable as she tends to play “normal” characters.
Marc Webb is the director here (he has the perfect name for it) and you can tell he directed (500) Days of Summer. For many this film will be a bit too much of a rom-com for a superhero film. Peter and Gwen have awkward conversations all over the place and at times you almost forget what film you’re watching. It’s just fortunate Garfield and Stone do it so well as otherwise it could have greatly detremented the film. Still, there is lots of great action towards the end including several battles with the Lizard and a great scene rescuing a child from a falling car.
Yes, this film’s big baddie is the Lizard who came about as an accident after a reputable scientist is forced to experiment on himself. The Lizard is strong and a worthy nemesis, with some pretty good motion capture from Rhys Ifans. However there are a couple of dodgy CGI moments and I’m not entirely sure why this version of the Lizard has such a human-like head.
This version does lots of things right. A great Peter Parker, web slingers and suit made by Peter, Gwen Stacy as the romantic interest and a fantastic cameo from Stan Lee. However there’s lots of little niggles too: it’s a bit overly romantic yet has quite a lot of deaths, the CGI isn’t really very spectacular, how are we expected to believe the cast are in high school (they are blatantly far too old), Peter does a pretty rubbish job at hiding his identity and Oscorp seem to have no security whatsoever.
There are going to be at least two sequels to this film so expect plenty more in the coming years. It seems likely that the Green Goblin will be the next villain, seeing as though Norman Osborn was name-checked so many times. And with that in mind, does it mean Gwen’s fate will be the same as the comics? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Overall this is a great film which has all the elements that a Spider-Man film should have: action, romance and some humour, even if perhaps it gets the balance of those a little wrong. The various niggles mean I can’t possibly give it a perfect score but it’s a pretty good film so it gets four stars! ★★★★☆
And here’s the thoughts of some proper critics to end on:
SFX: …as the film to kickstart the franchise afresh, The Amazing Spider-Man more than succeeds. It may not have the non-stop action and spectacle of Avengers Assemble, but it does have characters you can fall in love with, and bags of charm. You feel the series is in safe hands with Webb, Garfield and Stone. 4 stars
Total Film: It isn’t perfect but this reboot’s wins outweigh its wobbles. The leads charm, the action crackles and the grooves are well-laid for part two. Untold story? Next time, then. 4 stars
The Guardian: Andrew Garfield feels like the definitive Spider-Man, and Rhys Ifans a striking adversary, as the series gets off the ground again in an emotionally literate new version 4 stars
The Daily Mail: It’s an efficient piece of corporate film-making, but nothing more. 3 stars
I very much hope you liked my review and please share your thoughts on the film as a comment!