With this great reboot comes great responsibility…
Has it really been ten years since the first Spider-Man movie?
Released in 2002 to worldwide blockbuster acclaim, Sam Raimi’s trilogy later went on to make more than S$3 billion at the global box-office. The series even spawned mega-successful theme park rides both in Florida and Japan, the Marvel superhero becoming the pop icon for a new generation of kids.
But after 2007’s ‘Spider-Man 3’ received flak from both critics and fans alike for being too messy – there were three villains in one movie – Sony Pictures swiftly canceled production of a fourth installment.
Instead, the studio opted for a revisit to Peter Parker’s teenage years and a new story to explain the creation of the hero. Thankfully, the decision was right, and this refreshed Spider-Man is nothing short of amazing!
Brit actor Andrew Garfield replaces Tobey Maguire in the title role of Peter Parker, his earnest demeanour definitely benefiting the back to basics screenplay.
The film starts off with an impactful yet mysterious introduction on how Parker’s parents left him with Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), before continuing into a welcome characterisation of Parker’s high school life. There, his dorky but kind-hearted and intelligent persona finds connection with the equally smart yet beautiful Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
The movie then takes its time to establish a credible chemistry between the leads, before telling its story of how Parker gets bitten and transforms into the titular superhero. Meanwhile, Parker’s encounter with his father’s ex-colleague, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), turns into a horrible, desperate experiment that gives rise to the villain of the movie, The Lizard.
Although the lengthy first half does bog down the film a bit, the groundwork laid here is extremely important to keep the franchise going strong.
That said, judging from the audience’s reaction, no one in the theater seems to be complaining. From the playful treatment of Parker realising his new found powers in an abandoned warehouse, to the simple yet heartbreaking sequence of Uncle Ben’s inevitable circumstance, there was nary a boring moment.
Forums have also been abuzz of director Marc Webb’s decision to stick to spidey’s original web-generating mechanism, as well as filming point-of-view shots while he swings around in New York City – all these little things that add a sense of realism that makes this film so much more special than its predecessors.
But the best praises have to be left for the magnetic cast.
Garfield’s acting talents – already proven powerfully in ‘Boy A’ and most prominently in his Oscar-nominated role as Facebook’s co-founder in ‘The Social Network’ – adds great depth and humanity to the young man under the spandex suit.
Although the effervescent Stone does complement him well (duh, they are dating in real life!), it is surprisingly his interaction with Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary) and Field’s Aunt May that turns out the most watchable and affecting.
It is thus easily concluded that the strength of Garfield’s performance makes this movie, correctly kick-starting a potentially gritty and worthy follow-up to our beloved web-slinger.
However with this great reboot comes great responsibility, and we just have to wait for 2014 to see how this new Spidey continues.
As featured on Breathe.sg.