The Amazing Spider-Man is exactly what it says on the tin – amazing. From the tight plot (the nearly two and a half hours fly by) to the chemistry of the two leads, this movie is almost a textbook example of how to do great blockbusters, so it’s not surprising it’s doing really well at the box office.
Peter Parker (very strong Andrew Garfield) loses his parents abruptly, left to live with his aunt (Sally Field, beautiful) and uncle (Martin Sheen, big-hearted), forever questioning his origins and why he was abandoned.
High school sucks for him because handsome hulky types beat him up and scoop up the most brainy and beautiful chicks like Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) from under his nose. Because he is curious about the papers discovered in his late father’s suitcase, he ends up at the office of disturbed one-armed Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner, who is trying to overcome his disability by endangering the rest of humanity.
The outcome of his experiments is a cross between Godzilla and Hulk running around NYC. The police are typically useless and blame some of the mayhem on Spider-Man, with Gwen’s Daddy Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) being the lead critic of the spandex-donning vigilante as seen in the trailer. But that’s as much as I will spoil it for you.
The Amazing Spider-Man is an origin story, a reboot of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002), and like all origin stories it is intriguing and fun to watch. Some critics have argued that it may be a cop-out, as the beginnings of stories are always easier to write and film (it’s the continuous interest of the public that is difficult to sustain in a film franchise, unlike TV for which successful examples abound, The Walking Dead among them). But I don’t think it’s only the ‘birth of the hero’ shebang that makes The Amazing Spider-Man so watchable and so fulfilling.
Just like many other superhero flicks, The Amazing Spider-Man is a perfect lesson is self improvement, but this time without boring moralizations. Peter Parker is the perfect example of powerful thinking. Of course he gets his strength from the radioactive spider but it’s his transition into his alter ego self, his belief that he can be someone bigger than a bullied teen, that makes him do the beautiful leaps and jumps that we get to see here via his point of view.
The mask and the costume are skin-deep (but of course they are indispensable like the brave leotard on Sacha Fierce as opposed to a demure dress on Beyonce); 90 percent of his strength is in his will to make a change. In a climactic scene Peter teaches this power of thought (also can be compared to the placebo effect) to a little boy in a very dangerous situation. It’s an old lesson, but it’s so good that no matter how many times it is repeated, it doesn’t lose its potency – and that’s the true power of The Amazing Spider-Man. The score by James Horner adds to the marvellous spectacle of expertly paced CGI tricks. And of course it’s impossible to take your eyes off Emma Stone.
Movie going is not always a walk in the park. The two young men next to me did not stop laughing and talking for a second during the first two thirds of The Amazing Spider-Man. They were so arrogant and cocky, so unapologetic and loud it was difficult to concentrate. Every plot twist, scene and emotional close-up was just hilariously stupid to them. But by the climax something happened: they fell silent, faces frozen with tension, forgetting their haughtiness and losing themselves completely – the best compliment to the makers of this movie who managed to turn bitter sceptics into wonder-struck spectators. Because yes, in the words of Albert Einstein, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’, and sometimes the best things happen when you ditch reason and let magic engulf you.
Verdict: The Amazing Spider-Man is a must-see movie of summer 2012.