The Amazing Spider-Man

2012

Directed by Marc Webb – Written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans

Film economy. Routine clean up, film economy is completely different than trying to cram too much in to a film; cramming is bad and can ruin a film, film economy is using time to it’s fullest potential to tell the story. An extreme example is Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959), at the end of the film a woman goes from hanging off a cliff to being married and on her way to her hunnymoon in around 20 seconds. Film economy is something this series opener has, time is utilised well to establish and move on the story.

Another thing worth mentioning is the anger people seem to be exhibiting over Gwen Stacey being in the film rather than Mary Jane Watson. Gwen was actually Peter’s first love, Mary only came about after Norman Osborn as the Green Goblin killed Gwen (may be a clue as to where this trilogy is going). Although there is a slight problem, in the last trilogy, Osborn throws Mary off a bridge and is then impaled by his glider, this, in the comics, is actually how Gwen is killed, Mary as a character was not even created then.

Obviously this series is going to be compared to the last Spider-Man series, to put it bluntly, the first instalment from this smashes the whole previous trilogy out of the park.

This time the writers allow us an insight in to the parents of Spider-Man, only very little though and right at the start. These little bits allow for the whole story to unfold as well as setting up a mystery to run through the entire series. We find out what his dad was working on, but what else? What did he do with it? Why did the parents disappear?

Peter Parker, this time around he’s played with a more cocky demeanor, the kind you would expect from a teenager who has just discovered he has super powers. Andrew Garfield has outdone, in his performance, Tobey Maguire by a long way. Performance has moved from, let’s be fair, rather boring to one that produces a lot of laughs and has you really siding with Garfield’s Spider-Man in a way I never did with Maguire’s. The process of discovering his own powers has been written, directed and performed in a much better and more interesting way as well. We start in a subway train where reactions begin the discovery in a funny action sequence, exploration starts whilst he’s skating around, then the inevitable first leap off a building, I saw this in 3D and you’re almost as nervous as he is as he teases the edge of the building, waiting and then going for that very brief first experience.

The visuals are quite delectable. My favourite being the boy Jack, climbing through a flaming car wearing Spider-Man’s mask as our hero strains to hold the car up whilst dangling from a bridge via his web – goosebumps. Nowhere do they let down with what they’re showing, the spider room, the sewer, all of it is stunning.

Another plus in favour of the film is the lean toward a more animalistic Parker. He casts his web out around the sewer and sits in the centre, waiting to feel the vibrations of his prey in the same way a real spider does. Look for the nod toward Alien (1979) in this scene by the way.

The use of 3D and Point of view shots are two things that grate on me a bit. Though, the 3D works brilliantly as we fly through the skyline and the P.O.V. is never better than in a Spider-Man movie.

“If you want the truth about your parents Peter, come and get it” – “Do you think what happened to you Peter, is an accident? Do you have any idea what you really are?” These have to be the most mouth watering parts to the trailer, however, no shows in the film. A snippet from the second maybe? Cut from the film? Just added to the trailer to entice the audience? I do hope it’s the first option, Dr. Connors / The Lizard is sure to appear again after all.

I also can’t help but compare this to Nolan’s Batman series which is set to reach it’s finale at the end of this month, keep an eye out for our review. Nolan’s trilogy has to be the best of the super heroes so far, but I feel it may be in a position to be bested. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) is definitely better than the first, Batman Begins (2005), and is on a par with / would be better than The Dark Knight (2008) if not for Heath Ledger’s Joker performance.

Of course remember the extra diddy at the end which has become customary with Marvel films.

And that finishing shot… Very nice touch.

8/10

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