Rebooting a record setting franchise only 10 years on from its original release is inevitably a highly risky move and will always invite comparisons between the two. In that respect, Marc Webb’s latest offering of the Spiderman mythology fails to hit the heights of Rami’s in terms of action and spectacle although, it presents more of an emotional offering.
Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker takes much more of a centre stage than Toby McGuire’s and this is where this film is an utter success. Garfield plays Parker as utterly realistic and his intelligence – alongside his strength and power – are never under question.
However the film ultimately falls down on the strength of its narrative. A lot of the ground covered in Webb’s version has been covered previously – bitten by a radioactive spider, masked vigilante, loss of a family member etc. This is the inherent issue with rebooting such a well known franchise so soon after its original. The villain presented in The Amazing Spiderman – The Lizard – gives both Parker and Spiderman a battle. However, he seems more of King Kong and Godzilla crossed with a scientist than a legitimate threat to Spiderman.
Taking this as a singular piece of work, Webb has attempted to foreground the relationship between Parker and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey with Spiderman taking more of a back seat. This gives its audience a greater sense of connection with the characters than before – but less is invested in the Spiderman character so it feels like a different film when Garfield dons the mask.
Martin Sheen and Sally Field provide their undoubted screen talent as Uncle Ben and Aunt May respectively, the main support of Peter Parker with great ease and provide a break from the teen-drama of Gwen and Peter. Sheen gets many moments to shine, and shine he does. Falling just short of saying the resonant words with Uncle Ben (“With great power, comes great responsibility’), Sheen gives a great performance and carries off the emotional scenes with great ease.
Overall, The Amazing Spiderman is an admirable effort of rebooting a film still in recent memory, corrects some of the issues within the original whilst creating some new issues of its own. With two more films of this franchise already announced, the only hope is that with this solid effort as foundation, the sequels can flourish.