Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father's former partner.
Twilight in spandex? Well, perhaps, although it’s this radically different approach to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s crimefighter, who celebrates his 50th birthday this year, that makes Sony Pictures' reboot worthwhile.
Marc Webb's successful synthesis of action and emotion, together with a terrific performance by Andrew Garfield, means that this Spider-Man is as enjoyable as it is impressive.
It isn’t perfect but this reboot’s wins outweigh its wobbles. The leads charm, the action crackles and the grooves are well-laid for part two. Untold story? Next time, then.
Deja vu all over again.
Affection for the characters carries the day, however, and with its high caliber cast the prospect of a sequel is not unwelcome.
Garfield and Stone are sweet together, but once Ifans turns reptilian and the CGI starts to bully the screen you feel this film has already shot its bolt. "With great power comes great responsibility" is how Peter's Uncle Ben warned him of trials to come. The studio sees it differently: with great power comes the chance to relaunch a superhero franchise, audience memory go hang.
The 3D ought to lighten the tedium of the final, CGI-heavy act, but it doesn't. Most of the fun of the Spider-Man story has always been in the set up, and so it proves here.
Overall, Spidey satisfies but never soars.
Webb compensates by maintaining a brisk pace, dropping in some suitably spectacular set pieces and making the most of the film's biggest asset, Garfield himself, who justifies the faith placed in him by immediately making the character his own.
I’m all for superheroes with rich emotional lives, but when the synthesis of action and emotion is lopsided, you can’t help feeling the picture has lost some of the iconic qualities of the comic book.
It's darker and less kitsch than Raimi's trilogy, but Spider-Man himself (Andrew Garfield) has got his sense of humour back, quipping mid-fight just as he does in the comics.
For all its action sequences and swoops and swings, I found it hard to get remotely excited by The Amazing Spider-Man. It exists in a vacuum of familiarity and although Garfield's twitchy, spiky playing of Peter Parker brings new shades, this is hardly a re-reading of Hamlet.
Graced with great performances from Garfield and Stone, The Amazing Spider-Man is a rare comic-book flick that is better at examining relationships than superheroism. If it doesn’t approach the current benchmark of Avengers Assemble, it still delivers a different enough, enjoyable origin story to live comfortably alongside the Raimi era.
It is amazing how potent and entertaining the Spider-Man myth continues to be.
The Bond films (at least until recently) never felt the need to tediously explain the character’s origins every time a new face was brought in, so why does The Amazing Spider-Man? Just because the superhero template remains the same, doesn’t mean the adventures have to follow suit.
There’s a new Webb-slinger in town – and he’s here to stay.
The strength of this film is in its pacing, investing real time in developing a personality, however far fetched it is. It's one you care for and that’s something special effects can't quite replace yet.
With a fine, enthusiastic cast, a chance to take a slightly different approach to the material, and millions of dollars at his disposal, Webb had everything going for him yet was at the same time being set up for a fall by many critics and fans. His Spider-Man film is a competent effort that ensures the franchise - and his reputation - are safe. It's just a shame it doesn't soar.
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General release. Check local listings for show times.