Caught in a web of cliches: The new Spider-Man film doesn't leave CHRIS TOOKEY climbing the walls, but it does feel like he's seen it all before
12:00 GMT, 22 June 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man (12A)
Verdict: Deja vu all over again
After the horrific behemoth that was Spider-Man 3, here’s an attempt by Sony Pictures to relaunch their most profitable franchise. It’s an efficient piece of corporate film-making, but nothing more.
Like Batman Begins and X-Men: First Class, The Amazing Spider-Man is an ‘origins’ story, going all the way back to Peter Parker’s early childhood and showing the trauma he suffered when his parents were killed, and he was adopted by his kindly uncle and saintly aunt (Martin Sheen and Sally Field).
The publicity promises us ‘the untold story’, but most of the tale has been told before, quite adequately, in Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie, and that was only ten years ago.
Scroll down for the trailer
New man in the spider suit: Andrew Garfield
At this rate, Warner Brothers will be remaking the Harry Potter movies — after all, the first was released even longer ago than Spider-Man, in 2001.
For those of us cursed with a memory, there’s an awful lot of deja vu, as yet again Peter is bitten by a spider, discovers he has superpowers and becomes an urban vigilante in fancy dress.
Instead of Tobey Maguire’s burning angst, we get Andrew Garfield’s gangly charm. Kirsten Dunst is too old, so now it’s perky Emma Stone being taken on a tour of Manhattan’s skyscrapers.
And instead of the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), we get a less entertaining mad scientist villain — that’s lugubrious Rhys Ifans turning into a gigantic, bad- tempered lizard.
There isn’t a lot that hasn’t been seen before, and although the special effects are impressive, they’re no improvement on Spider-Man 2, which remains by far the best of the franchise.
Director Marc Webb, hired on the strength of his indie romcom 500 Days Of Summer, does a competent job, helped by his two talented leading actors, but doesn’t bring anything fresh to the party.
The writers don’t make Parker’s abandonment issues interesting or original (they come across as a trivialised versions of Batman’s), and the screenplay could have done with more humour.
A particular disappointment is former comedian Denis Leary as the police chief who’s the leading lady’s dad; he’s nowhere near as entertaining a human opponent to Parker as J. K. Simmons’s irascible newspaper editor was in the original.
As for the 3D, it is effective in the flying sequences, but annoying in the fights — it’s even harder than usual to see what’s happening.