Lina Lamont

"What do you think I am, dumb or something?"

The Amazing Spider-Man

This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 1st July 2012

Perhaps it was the 3D Imax experience, maybe it’s the wonderful Andrew Garfield (known for The Social Network, and a Brit who does a flawless American accent) – but having bemoaned the “need” for another Spider-Man film, I left the cinema a convert.

Banish all thoughts of the first three – apparently a “reimagining” can be a good idea after all.

Five years after the last film, we’re taken back to the very beginning, with a hint of backstory that sees Peter Parker left with his doting Uncle Ben and Aunt May (Martin Sheen and Sally Field, putting some weight behind it). Fast-forward to teenage years, and awkward Peter is being pushed around by the school jock, while ducking eye contact with the beguiling Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

The observant will have noticed that this is a recasting as well as a reboot, but the key role of Parker is what matters most, and Garfield has just the right doe-eyed countenance to carry us through this familiar story as if it’s all new. In fact, the super-hero’s origin story is different and still plausible (well, as much as anything in a Spider-Man movie can be – suspend that disbelief) and treats the love-interest more as an integral part than a mere damsel in distress.

Director Marc Webb did 500 Days of Summer which, without wanting to detract from Garfield and Stone’s natural chemistry, may account for how charming their budding romance is portrayed. But the kissy-kissy doesn’t get in the way of some fantastic flying-through-the-city moments and some curiously exciting fight scenes between Spidey and miscellaneous ne’er-do-wells before he encounters The Lizard. Initial misgivings at the sight of Rhys Ifans were swiftly quashed and though I couldn’t tell you if the science holds water, it’s sufficiently flashy to distract.

With an exhilarating soundtrack and all the usual Marvel tropes (including an inevitable cameo from Stan Lee), this Spider-Man‘s amazingness is more than an idle boast.

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