The amazing reboot
THE calendar does not lie. It has only been 10 years since Spider- Man burst on to the big screen as a fully formed superhero franchise.
Now, with The Amazing Spider- Man, Marvel Enterprises has cleared the decks – thanks for everything Tobey Maguire – and started all over again.
Contrary to the suspicions of many, this is not a cynical reboot of the famous origin story of Spidey- to- be Peter Parker.
No, The Amazing Spider- Man is more a cleverly respectful renovation of a heritage- listed comic- book property.
The most significant upgrade is a better balance between storytelling and action. The characters are much more clearly, and credibly, defined than before.
Peter Parker’s metamorphosis from school- corridor geek to mean- street vigilante resonates with the viewer in a whole new way.
Not a bad effort, considering we are being asked to connect yet again with a well- worn tale: the one where a kid gets bitten by a spider, gets some superpowers and a slinky costume, and then gets himself into a whole web of trouble.
Parker is played by British actor Andrew Garfield, best known until now for playing Mark Zuckerberg’s ex- best friend in The Social Network.
The sudden surges of adolescent angst, misplaced strength and ever- evolving selfawareness passing through Parker are conducted with precision by Garfield.
His twitchy, live- wire understanding of the role will take the Spidey franchise far in the years to come.
So too will the tremendous screen chemistry Garfield shares with Emma Stone, who plays Parker’s first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Some may argue this character is shoehorned a little too conveniently into proceedings. After all, her dad is Captain George Stacy ( Denis Leary), the main cop on the Spider- Man beat. She also happens to intern part- time at the sinister corporation that will give rise to a villain only Spidey can stop from levelling all of New York City.
Nevertheless, Stone makes the part work by injecting a vibrancy and comic spark that complements Garfield’s efforts perfectly.
The aforementioned baddie battling it out with Spider- Man in the thrilling closingact smackdown is The Lizard.
He is a grotesque CGI concoction that could have easily ended the film on a bum note, had Rhys Ifans not done such an excellent job of portraying The Lizard’s alter ego, Dr Curt Connors.
Full- on action sequences are few in The Amazing Spider- Man but those that do make the cut are of the highest quality.
Parker’s first application of his new powers on a subway train is a standout, as is an old- fashioned rescue cliffhanger staged on a suspension bridge.
So welcome back, Spider- Man. If you can keep this up, then long may you continue to amaze.