The Amazing Spiderman

Released: 2012
Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans

The merely fairly decent Spiderman

2012 is undoubtedly the summer of the superhero blockbuster.  Avengers Assemble set the bar very, very high and set the box office alight. The Dark Knight Rises is building anticipation with trailers and featurettes released on a regular basis and it looks like it could be one of the best films in the genre. And in the middle of these two is the reboot of the Spiderman franchise with the Marc Webb (yes really) directed release The Amazing Spiderman.

Most people already know the story – orphaned, geeky high school student Peter Parker lives with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. His life is changed irrevocably one day when he is bitten by a genetically modified spider. He develops incredible new skills including lightning fast reflexes, super strength and the ability to stick to buildings. Following the murder of Uncle Ben (no – it’s not a plot spoiler, we all know it has to happen) Peter starts to search the streets for the killer, catching petty criminals along the way. Along the way he falls in love with pretty, intelligent Gwen Stacey whose father just happens to be a Police Captain hunting the vigilante targeting New York’s street robbers. Peter is forced to face up to both his power and responsibility when a giant lizard begins to terrorise the city.

With Marvel’s recent adaptations doing so well both critically and financially The Amazing Spiderman has a lot to live up to. And for the most part it manages quite well. Andrew Garfield is an engaging hero, particularly impressive in the nerdy role, although for anyone who saw his performances in The Social Network and Never Let Me Go this doesn’t come as a surprise. I was disturbed by how much Garfield appeared to resemble tennis star Andy Murray at times. Had all gone a little differently on Sunday then he would have been a shoo-in for the inevitable biopic.

Emma Stone is also good as love interest Gwen Stacey, although it is amazing how many movie high schoolers are clearly in their mid to late twenties but are still portrayed as geniuses. There’s a nice chemistry between Garfield and Stone which makes their on-screen relationship convincing and their off-screen one perfectly believable.

Rhys Ifans manages to bring some humanity to his role as Dr Carl Connors/The Lizard – he isn’t the pantomime baddie that we often see in superhero movies, in fact I felt quite sorry for him at times. Denis Leary also impressed as Gwen’s father.

The action sequences are fine and some are breath-taking although being terribly CGI heavy a good number flash past in a whizz of lights without much definition or clarity. The big fight scenes are decent but again, nothing that left me on the edge of my chair.

For all of its many good points The Amazing Spiderman doesn’t, well, amaze. It entertains but there’s nothing spectacular about it. I didn’t come out of the cinema feeling overwhelmed or desperate to turn round and head back in. I came out having enjoyed a slightly overlong movie. The film ended with the door wide open for a sequel – I’m not averse to that idea or the idea of a three-part story but if the team working on Spiderman aim to meet the expectations of fans who have been wowed by The Avengers then they will have to up their game – a lot.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.


  1. Michael Mooney says:

    I thought much the same as you, though I’d add on a star for purely geek reasons (he builds his own web-shooters, the Stacies were handled very well, Curt Connors got fair treatment, loved the Norman Osborn build up). Do you realise that the film wasn’t made by Marvel Studios (like the Avengers, Thor, Iron Men and Captain America movies) but by another studio, who hold the rights? Universal have done a good job with this (arguably better than the X-Men, and a vast improvement on the Fantastic Four movies) but they don’t have the shared universe thing, or the Marvel style unifying there movies with the Avengers family. Which is a pity, because you miss out on some of the things you could do in the comics – Peter Parker hangs out with Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four, since they are about the same age and have the same sense of humour. Latterly, Spidey has joined the Avengers (he turned down an offer from the FF, since they didn’t pay). Matt Murdoch (Daredevil) is Spidey’s lawyer – and so on and on, through the big, soap opera Marvel Universe.

    • I’m not a geek so it doesn’t get geek points from me. Harsh but my rules. I did know about the different studios – there were talks in place to have the Oscorp building in the climatic fight scene in Avengers Assemble. It might have been good to see how Spiderman could fit into The Avengers. And you get paid to be an Avenger? Whatever happened to Truth, Justice and the American Way? (I know….)

      • Michael Mooney says:

        Tony Stark bankrolls them – there was some lovely by play with Luke Cage being too proud to take the money, and his wife asking him if he knew how much child-care cost :)

        Lately EVERYONE has been in the Avengers, and Spidey fits in well to the banter-heavy style (which I love).

Speak Your Mind