The Amazing Spider-Man
Available until February 9, 2013 on Rogers On Demand and RogersAnyplaceTV.com
If you’re going to reboot a franchise, this is definitely the way to do it.
During one memorable scene, Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) does a handstand on a high-rise building, just for the sheer joy of being alive. It’s that unapologetic mixture of youthful exuberance, bravado and yearning that sets this film apart from its predecessors.
It turns out that all Spidey really needed was a skateboard, utilizing the contemporary urban athletics of parkour as he slings his way through the metropolis.
The Amazing Spider-Man has an emotional urgency and kinetic energy that director Sam Raimi’s trilogy (which concluded only five years ago) somehow lacked, as the series became increasingly contrived. It was a brave risk, not only to revitalize the tale and make it relevant, but to start all over again with an ‘origins’ tale already familiar to most fans.
In this latest incarnation, our masked hero is much more the author of his own destiny. Adding to the dramatic strength of the script is the moral ambivalence of the villain, Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a brilliant scientist who, while attempting to regenerate his lost arm, inadvertently transforms himself into a ferociously loathsome lizard, yet struggles to retain his humanity.
And with all due respect to predecessors Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst (both very fine actors), British-American actor Andrew Garfield’s gangly awkwardness and Emma Stone’s forthright and spirited heroine, Gwen Stacy, imbue this film with a captivating, endearing intimacy that aptly contrasts with the spectacularly staged action sequences. Full credit to director Marc Webb, who previously honed his skills depicting personal relationships in the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer.
Marvel legend Stan Lee (who, along with Steve Ditko, created the character 50 years ago) has a brief, witty cameo towards the end when he appears in the foreground, blithely oblivious of his creation battling for his life just behind him. Spider-Man wins. So does the audience!