The amaz­ing re­boot

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

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.

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