Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field, Martin Sheen
Spider-Man swings back onto our screens in this mostly amazing (yet slightly tangled) reboot.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is an awkward outcast trying to figure out high school, his crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and what happened to his parents. The discovery of his father’s briefcase, and the secrets hidden inside, lead’s him to Oscorp and the lab of his father’s former partner, Dr Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans). One accident later and Parker’s life begins to unravel and change forever.
A big fan of the first two Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire Spidey films, I honestly thought a reboot was too soon. Especially as it was really just a Sony cash grab before the rights fell through. The early emo teaser posters and trailers didn’t bode well either: A dark and brooding, skateboard-carrying Spidey? Did they not even read the comic books?
Luckily, the man born to direct a Spider-man film, Marc Webb, eases any fears. Even with only one film under his belt (the brilliant 500 Days of Summer) he covers the high school romance adeptly, retells an origin story we’ve all heard before freshly, and surprisingly knocks the action out of the park. The POV of Spidey swinging around, especially in IMAX 3D, is spectacular. Webb went with real stunts as much as he could (even building a 300ft long rig in Harlem), but this sadly highlights the CG fight scenes with the Lizard.
It’s just a shame the story felt a little disjointed. Even for Spidey there’s some great leaps, like the usually fun ‘learning my powers’ montage is over too quickly (when will we ever see a believable hand made costume?). And things like Peter’s photography (a big part in the comics), and the damn skateboard, amongst other things are set up and promptly forgotten. Plus the obligatory Stan Lee cameo really felt forced this time.
Brit Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) puts in a commendable performance filling in the red and blue tights of Mr. Maguire, though at 28 he may be a fraction old to start a franchise where he plays a teen. Emma Stone is on a major career explosion (Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love, The Help) and just can’t put a foot wrong here either. You can see the chemistry that has made them a real life couple.
Forget about the earlier wallcrawler movies, and the fact it’s a little bit twi-hard, and enjoy a new spin on the Spider-man mythos.