"I still have no idea why they decided to make it, yet now they have, I'm rather pleased they bothered..."
As The Avengers stormed box offices across the world and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises is predicted to do much the same, caught somewhere in between the two is the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, as Marc Webb brings the much loved superhero back to the big screen in The Amazing Spider-Man, in what is proving to be a really triumphant year for the superhero genre.
Restarting the Spider-Man story, we follow a fresh faced Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), living with Aunt (Sally Field) and Uncle (Martin Sheen) following the untimely death of his parents. Somewhat of an individualist, Peter takes a keen interest in his father's mysterious past, and after much detective work, finds himself at Oscorp, and the laboratory of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who had worked alongside Peter's father in attempting to genetically cross different species, for the greater good of mankind. On a trip to meet the doctor, Peter is accidentally bitten by a spider that is being researched, and soon finds himself feeling some rather unusual side effects as a result.
Peter discovers that he has become part-spider, with an ability that sees an increase in his strength, agility and awareness, gaining supernatural powers as a result. At first he is unsure what to do with such powers, but this soon changes following the murder of his uncle, as Peter then decides to try and catch the perpetrator, realising he can use his unique abilities to save lives across New York. Meanwhile, Dr. Connors soon discovers that he too can become a hybrid between species, as he becomes part-lizard, hoping he can take genetics from reptiles and redevelop an arm he once lost. However, the sense of power becomes too much for the Lizard and Spider-Man soon finds he has himself a nemesis, as he attempts to keep the streets safe from the terrifying villain and find his uncle’s killer, whilst also trying to win over the heart of his high-school crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
Of course the biggest concern surrounding this latest Spider-Man feature is its very existence. The story itself is well told and the narrative as intriguing as ever, yet given the success of the previous trilogy and how recently it took place, this reboot does seem somewhat unnecessary as you can't help but question its right to have been made. However when viewing it as a separate picture, it is certainly enjoyable as it presents arguably the most fascinating aspects to the Spider-Man tale, which is the very beginning when he first gains his superpowers. The transition from being a geek to becoming a superhero is brilliantly captivating, and most of the comedic aspects to the story come within this period of his life.
In that respect this picture does feel loyal and faithful to the Spider-Man story, keeping the jovial spirit that the previous films revelled in, while managing to still feel fresh rather than being a mere replica of what has come before. It has a brilliant light-hearted nature to it, with a variety of laugh out loud moments. Which, following Joss Whedon's fantastic script in The Avengers, does now feel like somewhat of a requirement in such a genre. However one of the only original and new aspects to this picture that was lacking in the previous films is that this is presented in 3D, although rarely have I seen the effect implemented so minimally, making its deployment seem highly redundant.
Garfield puts in a good shift as Spider-Man, certainly coming across well in the first half of the feature, mastering the more geeky aspect to the character. He also portrays a volatility and courage which are essential to succeed in the role, especially following the high standards set by Tobey Maguire. As for Ifans, he is a fantastic baddie as he has a creepy, malicious side to his demeanour. However the Lizard itself could be more threatening, as it fails in feeling entirely indestructible which should really be a requirement of the leading antagonist. We also don't see enough of the character as its rise to dominance happens too late on within the film, following the drawn-out setting of the story.
However, Webb has certainly done a good job, as The Amazing Spider-Man keeps you engrossed throughout, bringing the much loved and much told tale back to our screens to great effect. It is definitely on a par with the previous franchise in terms of quality, although I still have no idea why they decided to make it, yet now they have, I'm rather pleased they bothered. The 'Amazing' Spider-Man does still seem like rather an overstatement mind, I'd opt for 'Quite Good' myself.