Plot: A young boy Peter Parker realizes his life would never be the same after his parent’s sudden departure; he is raised by his uncle and aunt who are fully supportive and caring but never mention about Parker’s past. When Peter learns about his father’s research, he seeks Dr. Curt Connors, his father’s research partner who is now experimenting with genetics to find a cure to many fatal ailments. The inquisitive nature of Parker leads to his transformation as Spiderman, after being bitten by a rare spider. His newly acquired powers overwhelm him at first but he somehow brings it under control and gains a formidable reputation in college. After his uncle’s death, Parker sets out to find the killer and in the process captures many wanted criminals well before the police does. This irks Police Chief Stacy who labels him a public menace and doesn’t hold a good opinion about Peter Parker (who’s now Chief Stacy’s daughter Gwen’s boyfriend) as well. On the other side, a disastrous self-experiment turns Dr Curt Connors into a monstrous reptile that unleashes terror in the city and only Spiderman can bring an end to this unwanted menace.
After some memorable moments and some not very appetizing ones, could we ride once again with Toby McGuire donning the red suit or would Spiderman have to call it off forever? Mark Webb has an answer for us, a reboot that has certain benefits but also raises many questions: Did this truer comic book interpretation of Spiderman really transcend to the silver screen? By giving Spidey and the other characters edgier but more caricatural personas, will the franchise really continue? Why does Peter Parker’s hidden identity have to be so blatantly obvious? What’s the difference between this Peter Parker who does astonishing feats at college and yet gets away, and Miley Stewart who dons a golden wig and no one recognizes her even though her father is Billy Ray Cyrus?
In Amazing Spiderman, a major difference in the cast is the absence of Mary Jane, who had become one of Spiderman’s most recognizable faces. We instead have Gwen Stacy, the blonde whom we got a peek of in Spiderman 3, as Peter Parker’s love interest. However, Gwen does not sit cozily in the background while Spidey is battling and neither does she sulk much unlike MJ. She throws in some punches and kicks, urges Spiderman to beat them all up and is more thoughtful. It can be hard to accept this spunky, courageous Gwen because we are so used to the lady in distress act. But she may grow on us just like the fearless Elena or Chloe from Uncharted series. Spiderman is played by Andrew Garfield, who isn’t a typical geek that Toby managed to be; he is a cool geek, or just a normal college guy with great scientific knowledge but poor physique. Therefore he didn’t really take time to win over us with his charisma as Spiderman even though I didn’t root for him as much as I did for Toby when he halted the derailed train. Toby’s shy and quiet Spidey had a charm of his own in a way we take his character’s well-being seriously; Garfield’s Spidey meanwhile entertains us more but we find it harder to sympathize with him though I must say Garfield did nail that scene where he confronted his uncle about his father. By the way, all those who have seen the Indian film Three Idiots may notice a similarity between Andrew Garfield and Indian actor Sharman Joshi’s style of acting.
What also played a major role in deciding the previous Spiderman movies’ success or failure was the potential of the nemesis; while Green goblin didn’t wield much excitement because of the sketchy latter part of the first film, Doc Oc made us tremble at his stature as well as pity his tragic story in Spiderman 2, while Green Goblin’s son, Sandman and Venom were potent enough in the third installment but the film itself was enfeebled by the dull love triangle. Rhys Ifans acts well, however his character isn’t exactly memorable in any way; in Batman the most feared villains are Joker, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Two Face but who really cares for Bane though his strength is equally formidable? Maybe Ifans couldn’t play his character better, but what really made his character weak was the character itself. My mind went “A reptile as the main villain – are you kidding me?” and sadly it felt the same way throughout.
Spiderman feels like a filmed comic book, which is generally flipped through casually without getting involved with the emotional aspect of the story to a greater extent. If you look the movie this way, you’ll say it’s the best of the series. People buy dozens of Archie comics and read it in the same perfunctory manner. But many people who love movies find that the factor that etches a film in our minds for a long time is a moment of tension. This tension happens only when we are deeply involved in a film and for that to happen, the movie has to make the audience realize the protagonist’s dilemma and want him/her to overcome it. And this cannot and does not happen in such a breezy, comic book-like adaptation.
Amazing Spiderman will surely get support from Beyblade-crazy children and teenagers who love saying the word ‘awesome!’ – It will be one of the top grossing films of 2012. But I personally think 230 million dollars are unnecessary for a movie that looks no different from the Spiderman and Beyblade cartoons that come on the television. The most suitable word that strikes me for the film after writing this review is ‘filler’.
My Rating: The sole number that came in my mind after leaving the theater was 5.5 out of 10.