(500) Day’s of Spidey – The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man is back, with a fresh new cast, and some new takes on the characters. Although the film was eagerly and almost boastfully advertised as Spider-Man’s “untold” story, there ain’t much new to the lore. If you’re familiar with the Spider-Man mythos (and nerd or not, I can’t imagine you aren’t) then you’ll know the story; Peter’s a dork, Peter is bit by a radioactive spider ( genetically enhanced this time around) Peter develops spider sense, wall crawlin’ capabilities, and the girl…after his Uncle Ben is offed and inspires him to do some good.
New to the Director’s chair is Marc Webb, fresh off the success of his romantic indie film 500 Days of Summer. New to the red and blue leotard is Andrew Garfield, fresh off the success of his not so romantic film The Social Network. While the puzzle’s picture is the same overall, the pieces are indelibly different, and so satisfying. Marc Webb spends time with Peter Parker in high school, as he deals with jerks, getting home in time to see his Aunt May and Uncle Ben (lovely portrayals from Sally Field and Martin Sheen respectively) and quietly crushing on his blonde sweetie Gwen Stacy played by Emma Stone. Despite Garfield being “so pretty you couldn’t possibly imagine this guy having social difficulty”, he pulls it off nicely. It’s Emma Stone, and Andrew Garfield, yucking it up and getting to know one another that really make this movie charming.
Webb has a knack for creating these intimate moments, and he works with that strength. It’s in those moments that The Amazing Spider-Man becomes wonderfully unfamiliar. Moments when you look around and see that the audience is smiling and laughing with the dorks swooning over each other on screen. Or when tragedy occurs in the film, and it TRULY strikes an emotional chord. Don’t get me wrong, when Parker becomes the Spider-Man, it’s good to see him again, and certainly fun to watch him swing, and crack wise. The Lizard is the new rogue to the Spider Pictures, and while he’s fun to watch, and a cool looking CGI villain, he lacks the heart that the film possesses in it’s not so comic book moments, and the heart previous Spidey villains were characterised and portrayed with much more efficiently. Everyone remember Dock Ock, from Spiderman 2?
The truth is, the movie’s strength isn’t the super hero, it’s the young man’s story. It’s his search for identity, not the one he’s concealing. It’s his receiving great power, and using it irresponsibly, and his heartache when he realizes the hard way how much that effects the people around him. The movie is carried by grounded normalcy, and heart. Spider-Man can swing as high as skyscrapers, but no amount of super power elevates the film more than the story about a boy who met a girl.