wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)
Director Marc Webb wasn’t the conventional option for big-budget The Amazing Spider-Man, with his indie-film and music video background. However, he brings to the film an emotional and comic sentimentality that allows one to walk with Andrew Garfield, as Peter Parker, through his journey. You laugh with him, have a lump in your throat as he cries and sit on the edge during his action sequences. This makes The Amazing Spider-Man a novel and stirring viewing experience inspite of the storyline being more or less the same.Read more
For those of you who still remember Sam Raini’s Spiderman trilogy vividly, (considering the last film was out barely 5 years ago) Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man (director of well-acclaimed indie film 500 Days of Summer) might not have anything new to offer in the larger picture. But don’t we all love superhero films for its portrayal of the underdog-nerd who turns into a crime-fighter? While The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t toy with the basic graph of the film, it has enough to grab your attention and ensure a thrilling, enjoyable viewing experience.
The story is more or less the same: Of a gawky-lanky Peter Parker as he discovers that he is meant for greater things. After many years of questioning his parent’s mysterious disappearance, we are shown his warm surroundings with Uncle Ben and Aunt May (played by the charming Martin Sheen and Sally Field). He then encounters his father’s former partner Dr Curt Connor’s (Rhys Ifans) genius genetic research and lends a missing algorithm to complete the research.
By then he’s already been bitten by the spider, and is trying to grapple with his superpowers. He’s also going through a teenage puppy infatuation with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Their chemistry is much more developed and crackling, which is a vast difference from the sense of achievement that you feel with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst’s (from previous Spiderman films) heart-warming union. It works, regardless of the differences, because of their performances.
Emma Stone is sparkling and plays the kind of girl that young boys write sonnets about (or at least the poetically inclined ones). It makes their coming together that much more magical because their chemistry has a solid build up, devoid of any meant-to-be-together undertones. Rhys Ifans as the Lizard is menacing; although you recognize the need for a more sinister villain. The scenes between Spiderman and the lizard are visually gripping though, mostly due to John Schwatrzman’s swift cinematography and James Horner’s grand-crescendo type background score.
Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker is a more nervy, nerdy teenager which works extremely well in this re-telling because the film becomes a coming of age story more than anything. While he’s not a spectacled, dorky nerd, he plays the part of an outsider (the kind that prefers his skateboard to actual human company) with precision. It’s the kind of performance where you’re nearly expecting him to collapse with the pressure he attains after successfully transforming into Spiderman, but you know his sense of responsibility is large (You don’t miss the iconic line, “With great power comes great responsibility”, and that is a big win for writers James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves)
The Amazing Spider-Man works, mostly because of the minor nuances that have been paid attention to, to make for a fresh viewing. Be it in Parker and Gwen Stacy’s smile-inducing chemistry, a brief viewing of Parker’s parents, the homemade costume and the fact that the spider-web in this film is web-made as opposed to the organic web from Raini’s Spiderman - all only add to the charm of the film. You’re able to watch the film without making compulsive comparisons to the earlier films and you’re able to love it all the same. For that reason, The Amazing Spider-Man is a must watch.
This article is by guest author Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
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