Published Thursday, 05 July 2012
I waited my whole childhood for a Spider-Man movie and now we have had four in the last ten years. What weird web is this?
At first, I was perplexed by The Amazing Spider-Man. Didn't Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson not already kiss and tell us the whole Spidy story in three very successful summer blockbusters?
So why is this new Spider-Man rewinding the action back to the beginning again? Well, the bold decision was taken not to make Spider-Man 4 but reboot the original, ten years later.
This remarkably pays off as the aptly named director Marc Webb weaves a more thoughtful and entertaining film.
The Amazing Spider-Man begins with the greatest theme in American cinema, a young boy's search for his father (see everything from To Kill A Mockingbird to The Godfather to Star Wars).
The first word spoken in this story is "Dad" in a playful game of hide and seek which sees Dad Richard Parker (played by Campbell Scott) disappear for good.
The arachnid adventure continues as a game of hide and seek as young Peter Parker searches for the truth about his father with danger hiding at every turn. "Secrets have a cost" Peter is warned by his Aunt May "They are not free, not now, not ever."
Young Peter, blinded by science and bitten by a radioactive spider, eventually finds what his big heart is looking for; a shiny webbed suit for his crime fighting antics and a gutsy new girlfriend Gwen Stacy (played by Emma Stone).
What is amazing about this Spider-Man is the central performance of young Brit actor Andrew Garfield. His Spider-Man is a high school skater boy with a twisted vulnerability. Garfield has the simmering screen presence of the moody young method actors of the 1950's. He's a rebel with a cause and webs.
Garfield first caught my attention four years ago with a BAFTA winning performance in the powerful Channel 4 drama Boy A. He was then cast by Robert Redford in his next film Lions For Lambs alongside Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep. Since then he has continued to excel, most notably as internet entrepreneur Eduardo Saverin in the Oscar winning The Social Network.
The amazing casting continues with two of America's finest actors Martin Sheen and Sally Field in the crucial roles of the ill-fated but good-hearted Uncle Ben and Aunt May. The villain of the piece is not hard to spot.
Once the one-armed crackpot scientist Dr Curt Connors (played by Rhys Ifans) turns up, we all know where this is heading. His passion for lizard genetics inevitably leads to a Godzilla style showdown in lower Manhattan.
The 3D action is spectacular. In one scene Spider-Man swings from crane to crane down Fifth Avenue and the audience swayed with every shooting web. This is one summer blockbuster that is sure to stick.
The Amazing Spider-Man (Cert 12a) is now general release