Stomach-churning 3D Spider-Man
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (12A)
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IT HAS only been ten years since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire, hit the big screen, and only five years since the last installment of that trilogy, so it seems early days to be releasing a reboot of a film which is still relatively fresh in everyone's memory.
But the Marvel franchises are on a roll at the moment, and this offering is no exception to the recent success stories that have jumped off the comic book page and on to the cinema screen with credible ease.
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So what would be the advantages of starting again instead of embarking upon Spider-Man Four?
Well, basically it costs a lot less to make.
A director, cast and crew that have produced three huge hits in a row, can demand much higher salaries than a team that has no track record, so the studio can make the film at a much lower cost, but ride the success of the previous three to bring in a big income.
But in order for this film to succeed, it was obvious that it had to differ in some way from what had gone before, and a new approach would have to be employed for any retelling of a story that is so well known and so predictable.
And director Marc Webb (appropriate name for this product) has done just that, by concentrating on the characters, the story telling, the romance and the man behind the suit, as well as thrilling us with the inevitable special effects and 3D 'wow' shots.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is a high school nerd, beaten up by bullies and hopeless when it comes to girls.
Abandoned by his parents while still a young child, he is raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field).
One day, Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, which contains clues to the disappearance of his parents.
Thus begins the quest to discover the truth and a journey of self -discovery, which stays at the heart of the film and gives the work a depth and understanding that we have not seen before.
Along the way, Spidey does battle with Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), otherwise known as The Lizard, and wins the heart of his true love Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
Although we may not need to be told the origin story again, the first hour of the film is spent doing just that, and I really appreciated the effort that went into telling the story, paying attention to things that had been skipped over in previous films in order to get to the action that bit quicker.
This film is more thoughtful and has far more depth than its predecessors and the time that is spent on building the relationship between Stone and Garfield is well spent, creating a chemistry that binds the film together, the two giving far better performances than this genre of film usually allows for.
In fact, it's quite touching to watch and smacks of a reality that lifts the film out of comic book fantasy and into the realms of a romantic comedy. It does mean you have to wait a while before Spider-man gets his suit on, but it's not always the destination that's important.
Andrew Garfield is a fine Peter Parker, funny, nerdy, handsome and, probably most importantly, a good actor.
Emma Stone creates a far more complex love interest than Kirsten Dunst managed to do, and brings light and shade to the character that was Peters first love.
There are a couple of 3D moments that will have your stomach churning as Spidey flies over the rooftops and lurches towards the ground with alarming speed but other than that, the battle scenes and CGI are average and won't have your jaw on the floor.
But it doesn't matter because the strength of this film lies in its attempt at reality, its building of relationships, its attention to story telling detail and its ability to make you invest emotionally in the outcome.
No doubt there are many tangled webs to be woven in future sequels, but this is a great place to start a journey of rediscovery that makes the familiar unfamiliar, in a very positive way.