Movie Review: The Amazing Spiderman (English) 159

A decade after the last ‘Spider-Man’ movie series starring Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi came up; Sony Pictures have churned up a franchise reboot. With fresh faces and a new director, Marc Webb, Spiderman has become more realistic as it gets closer to its comic book roots and hits the screens with far more exciting stunts.

The story traces the character’s origins, his transition from a shy, nerdy and aloof schoolboy, Peter Parker to a superhero, Spiderman. One day in the boring life of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), he stumbles upon a lost research piece on cross-species genetics his dead father was working on. In an effort to find out what happened to his father, he reaches his former collaborator Dr Curt Connors at Oscorp.

Connors (Rhys Ifans) is working on a cure for his lost arm based on repties’ ability to grow new limbs and is under pressure from the corporate honcho Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) to deliver results. Things go terribly wrong when Connors tests the new genetic concoction on himself and turns into the ‘Lizard’. Meanwhile, Parker has been bitten by a genetically altered spider and gains superhuman strength and spider skills.

The bulk of the 132 minute runtime is spent on how Parker comes into terms with his new powers, how losing Uncle Ben prompts him to turn superhero, his runs-in with the law and having some fun handling school bullies; all this when he is not busy with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Towards the end, when the challenge of saving the city from the Lizard emerges, Spiderman is ready for the challenge.

After watching reboots, it is impossible to resist the temptation to compare the film with the previous versions, especially since they were successful in the past. Per se, it would be unfair to compare special effects since technology improves with the passing of time. Even otherwise, the latest edition is better than its predecessor.

One, better cast: Andrew Garfield (from ‘Facebook’ fame) gives a more realistic Peter Parker without making him look like a wimp as Maguire did. And it’s great that the series bid goodbye to Kirsten Dunst who didn’t look one bit like a superhero’s girlfriend. Emma stone who was seen recently in ‘The Help’ is an apt choice as Parker’s girl and confidante. The lead pair share some great on-screen chemistry.

The lead pair is effectively complemented by the villain in Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen playing the father-figure Uncle Ben, Sally Field as Aunt May and Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy. Irrfan Khan’s role is best described as understated but effective. Surely, it’s way better than Anil Kapoor’s unfunny gig in Mission Impossible 4.

The second key improvement is the emphasis on Parker’s intellect as he uses technology to spin webs like in the comic books where he gets his natural web much later. Thridly, the transition from a regular kid to Spiderman is handled well. The subway train scene and the one in the abandoned shipyard are very well done.

A notable absence in the new film is Parker’s employer ‘The Daily Bugle’ and its editor who portrays spiderman negatively in the media. Here, he has a disbeliever in the local police chief Captain Stacy who also happens to be Gwen’s father. The famous line by Uncle Ben ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ is missing too.

The film is not without shortcomings. The weirdest thing is that the high-security Oscorp building seems to allow unfettered access to interns who seem to know everything that happens there; pretty amazing huh? In the climax scene, he may have lost his webbing machine, but why does he find it difficult to cling to surfaces?

Every relaunch attracts a new segment of the audience and so would this latest edition of Spiderman. What’s best is that the film-makers have ensured that the usual Hollywood superhero movie fans are kept happy too. For all the exciting action it has to offer with minimal drama sans sentimental garbage, ‘The Amazing Spiderman’ is a go!

Rating 7/10: Refreshing reboot with great lead-pair chemistry!