Cert: 12 A Runtime: 136 mins Director: Marc Webb Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field and Rhys Ifans
We all have secrets: the ones we keep… and the ones that are kept from us
Well Spider-Man is back, after a massive gamble by Marvel to re-start the franchise we now have a new leading man/lady and director. So what does the brand new Spider-Man have in store for the world. I was very concerned about this re-boot I did love the first two Spider-Man’s but the third is in a dark corner of my brain. So lets re-start the plot then Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
I would never have thought Garfield as the right person for the job. But I’m glad that he had proved me wrong, just as how Marc Webb had unequivocally stated that we haven’t seen nothing yet with what Garfield can do with the role. He morphed into Peter Parker the shy lad, like hand in glove, and then transformed into the heroic Spider-Man sans mask, straddling and struggling with his dual identities just as how any scrawny teenager would if to be blessed (or cursed) with new found abilities, highlighting awkwardness and the building of confidence to perfection. Webb knew exactly what he was looking for in a leading man and allowed plenty of emotional engagement and attachment to Garfield’s Peter, with Garfield proving him right, and now carries the superhero mantle with aplomb, nailing it as an unlikely hero.Then there’s Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, equally important as the romantic fodder for Peter Parker, and this update had given us a leading lady character who has beauty and brains combined, together with a degree of spunk that Mary Jane Watson in the previous three films had lacked, with the latter falling prey in each and every installment that it was getting pretty tired. Stone has proved to carry an entire film on her own, and here shares incredible chemistry opposite Garfield to make them that cute couple in school who have to battle the pangs of first love, and not only having to deal with that strong emotion, but loss as well. While that Maguire-Dunst upside down tongue gymnastics is something hard to beat, Garfield-Stone do have their little romantic stunt that adds a degree of fun that each of Raimi’s version lacked. Which is a good thing especially when trying to sway over the nay- sayers.
I suppose almost everyone out there will know what to expect already from an origin movie, and James Vanderbilt’s story kicks off into high gear from the get go, weaving and setting a new stage and universe in which this version of Spider-Man will thrive under, with Oscorp being that scientific conglomerate headed by an unseen, but constantly mentioned Norman Osborn, and having the mythos deeply involving the corporation, opening doors to possibilities that any subsequent film can cover, especially with that end credits scene. It also picked up from the Batman Begins template in a number of areas, but I’m not complaining because it’s all good to successfully reboot the franchise, adapting elements from its comic book source which serve as canon, but giving it a different angle that maintains the spirit of things and events, even key ones like Uncle Ben’s demise that truly shaped the destiny of the wall-crawler.As always with the Spider-Man mythos, Peter Parker deals more with loss, and loses more than he’s won, and having that retained in the film made it venture down a darker road, and being more vulnerable. And going back to basics never hurt, with one single villain in Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) as the Lizard, even if an army of Lizards were hinted at from merchandise, and keeping/hinting at others who may appear in subsequent movies. The villain-hero set up was reminiscent of the second Raimi film with Peter Parker and Dr Octopus sharing a connection before the latter went bonkers, and provided yet again another battle on the emotional front. The Lizard may be lesser known, but is a powerful foe that audiences may have already been primed for from Raimi’s films if they were to do a little research on the recurring Connors character then.
Action wise, Webb had gotten excellent material from the comics and clearly dipped into them for inspiration, with Spidey’s iconic poses and movement all making it into the film, coming off as poetry in motion. This was something that the earlier Spider-Man films had paled in comparison, with action sequences all being more kinetic in treatment, utilizing a whole slew of Spider-abilities. And the mechanical web shooters weren’t all that bad, since again it went back to basics to showcase Parker’s intellect, if only for a short while during a montage as does showing off his sewing skills. Webbing plays a big role in being the arsenal of choice, and the variation shown in this film is staggering, with the previous films never even coming close to how this Spider-Man excelled in fighting with them. And with those webshooters, you’ll be itching for moments when the web fluid would run out, or to have something happen to them like how the Stan Lee probably the best cameo appearances of all Marvel films here devised in his stories, just to provide additional challenge.Marc Webb had shown not only Sam Raimi can make a good Spider-Man summer blockbuster, and I’m pretty sure Webb’s version can stand up to and probably excel from the predecessors.