The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Director: Marc Webb
Writers: James Vanderbilt (screenplay and story), and Alvin Sargent (screenplay), and Steve Kloves (screenplay), Stan Lee (Marvel comic book) and Steve Ditko (Marvel comic book)
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans
I was fairly excited about a new Spider-Man film. Emma Stone is one of my favourite actresses, she is my female crush and I was super excited to see her take on Gwen. After loving The Social Network and the amount of depth Andrew Garfield brought to his character in it, I anticipated a new depth to Peter Parker as well and was excited to see what he would bring to the picture. The previews made it look amazing and blockbuster beautiful. And so I took myself off to the cinema, got my popcorn, and sat waiting in anticipation for the film to begin.
I have to say, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield lived up to my expectations. They were brilliant! As was Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Peter Parker’s aunt and uncle. Their performances brought a humour and emotional depth to the film which made it genuine and real. However, the narrative failed to capture my imagination to the extent that I was hoping for. I suppose after The Avengers I was expecting something as great, but it just didn’t do anything new. And I suppose there isn’t much new you can do with a comic adaptation because fans expect certain aspects of the original to be included. But apart from the monster being a different person from the 2002 adaptation, there wasn’t much new. Oh and Gwen is a much more likable character than Mary-Jane in my opinion, but that’s a secondary point.
I really wanted there to be more back story about Parker’s father and mother to be revealed. It was introduced as a main influencing factor into Peter’s reasoning for why he was the way he was but then was just used as a plot device to introduce him to Dr Curt Connors/The Lizard (Rhys Ifans, Notting Hill). It was disappointing to say the least. There was so much you could have done with that back story to influence Peter’s motives and the narrative could’ve been much more interesting. However, this was not the case. And maybe it is my naivety about Spider-Man the comics that means they couldn’t have explored that particular storyline anymore without outrage from fans but I thought it was underdone.
The film as a whole was entertaining and Garfield and Stone have a great, awkward chemistry on screen. There is a great scene in the halls of the school which is so endearing that from that point on you just love both the characters to bits. I really just wanted to giggle and jump up and down with Gwen after that scene and was on board with her character from that point on. Garfield’s Parker is likable, genuine, and understatedly hilarious at points. The graphics are brilliant and seeing it in 3D is kind of worth the extra dollars. The action scenes of Spider-Man flying around the city are possibly the best thing about this film, next to Stone and Garfield, which is also kind of sad when there was so much potential for more.
All in all the film was good but disappointing. I really hope the next one has a more interesting narrative to carry it along, and better character development. For a franchise that has done so well in the past it is surprising they didn’t put a more unique twist on this new adaptation. I suppose copyright pressures are what drove it to be made in the first place and so we can’t expect much but with all the talent in the world surely the next one will be better. Right?