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The Amazing Spiderman Weaves a Full-bodied Adventure Flick
Superhero tales have amazing regenerative abilities. They are even harder to kill or quell than the villains who populate them. No sooner is one trilogy finished than a prequel, sequel or re-telling raises its sometimes amazing, sometimes horrendous head. So only five years after the Spiderman trilogy ended The Amazing Spiderman, based on the Marvel Comic characters created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, has arrived and yes, he does manage to make our spider senses tingle.
The Amazing Spiderman is directed by Marc Webb and based on a screenplay by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Rundown), Alvin Sargent (Unfaithful) and Steve Kloves (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) takes on the role of Peter Parker/ Spiderman. Garfield is every bit the gawky, lanky teenager whom we’ll gladly cheer for, especially once he’s been bitten by a radio-active spider.
To ensure that the story remains fresh, some of the details vary from the Spiderman trilogy. This time around, we meet Spiderman as a teenager rather than as a struggling photo-journalist, his love interest has also changed. However, most importantly The Amazing Spiderman remains true to the core elements of Spiderman/Peter Parker’s personality.
A huge part of the reason that we love and root for Spiderman is his fallibility. Peter Parker is a tormented teenager wrestling with his own demons. However, in the midst of his struggles with pain and loss, he must learn to go beyond his own needs. So at its core Spiderman is always a morality tale without the soapbox. It teaches about love and sacrifice and learning to deal with loneliness and rejection, but it's cool.
Spiderman speaks to our inner geek, or rather he speaks to the inner super-hero inside your average person. Indeed, as this is the age of the geek when brilliance is re-taking its rightful place as a sexy attribute, it’s not surprising that this Spiderman re-boot returns Peter Parker to being a science geeky who is brilliant enough to develop his own webbing. It will be interesting to see how the other films in this series works with this, as it adds to his limitations, which will make his triumphs even that much more rewarding.
The Amazing Spiderman provides more back story and we get an even more intimate portrayal of his family life than the Spiderman series. This helps to further deepen the character. Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy ) makes an interesting love-interest while Sally Field (Aunt May), Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben) and Dennis Leary (Captain Stacy) further round out the cast and provide solid performances.
Of course, without a villain, our friendly neighbourhood hero is just a guy with a latex fetish. Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows) plays Spiderman’s nemesis, The Lizard/ Dr. Curt Connors. Dr. Connors is a scientist who follows the dangerous path of the pursuit to perfection, blissfully unaware that life’s true beauty comes from imperfections. The lizard, though a natural enemy of the spider, is not the most daunting of villains but he is adequate, and the special effects to create the character are commendable.
Overall, The Amazing Spiderman weaves a full-bodied adventure. The movie is entertaining with several light-hearted moments and the action balances well against the emotional depth. However, like far too many movies these days that ask us to shell out extra cash for 3D effects, for the most part the 3D glasses are an irrelevant annoyance.