Spiderman gets sassy
Film: The Amazing Spider-Man
Direction: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone
It’s the fourth swing shift for the iconic comic-book superhero. Taking the reins from Sam Raimi, who shepherded the first three Spidey blockbusters, incoming director Marc Webb succeeds in delivering escapist entertainment where the emotional element is every bit as important as the visual razzmatazz. In other words, The Amazing Spider-Man guarantees fun time for audiences across generations.
The streamlined makeover, credited to three scenarists — including Alvin Sargent, who collaborated on the 2004 and 2007 installments — provides an interesting spin on the familiar saga of geeky high-school student-turned-super-powered crime fighter.
For starters, the adolescent hero’s longtime girlfriend is jettisoned in favour of a sassy new love interest (Stone). Spidey’s parents too make it to the big screen, albeit briefly.
And let’s not forget the emergence of yet another maniacal nemesis, a well-meaning geneticist (Rhys Ifans) who mutates into a grotesque lizard through a cross-species experiment gone wrong. In an underwritten role, our own Irrfan Khan fetches up as a sinister scientist.
The little-known but aptly named Webb, whose only previous feature was the quirky romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer, devotes almost half an hour to the web-slinger’s origin story, putting off the moment when he dons his trademark red and blue costume.
Not to worry though, for the director does not skimp on action either, with vertiginous leaps between skyscrapers, pulse-pounding rescues and a dazzlingly orchestrated sewer skirmish between the wall-crawling crusader and his arch-foe.
What makes The Amazing Spider-Man most compelling is the impeccable casting. Andrew Garfield, who was so impressive in The Social Network, generates tremendous empathy for the soulful Spidey. Emma Stone is vivacious as his blonde bombshell classmate. The young leads share cracking chemistry. Veterans Sally Field and Martin Sheen lend warmth to their small but pivotal roles of the boy’s guardians.
Fasten your seatbelts and get set to soar on a techno-thrill ride with The Amazing Spider-Man.