Spidey swings between awkward, stuttering teenager and suave superhero

Featuring

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spiderman
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Rhys Irfans as Dr Curt Connors/Lizard
Denis Leary as Cpt. George Stacy
Chris Zylka as Flash Gordon
Sally Field and Martin Sheen as Aunt May and Uncle Ben
and Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz as Richard Parker and Mary Parker

I swear that there are two Peter Parkers in this movie. There’s the stuttering, awkward teenager with goofy hair and then, there’s the smooth, smartarse vigilante crime fighter that is Spiderman. I have no idea why Gwen Stacy even likes him in his teenager form, but she does. That’s the most illogical thing in this reboot.

In the beginning, there were three Spiderman movies with Tobey Maguire as Spidey and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. Trouble is, they weren’t very good and all the bad guys died. The worst of the lot was Spiderman 3, when Venom turned Peter Parker into the most unconvincing goth since Barbie donned black.

Meet Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker. He has wild hair, he is supposed to be smart, but goofy and possesses the biggest grin since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight and he’s monumentally socially awkward. The perfect teenager. Except his face does not look like a corner shop margherita pizza. Meet his high school’s most beautiful girl, Gwen Stacy, who is for some unknown reason attracted to said goofy, awkward and stuttering boy, never able to complete sentences in her presence.

Aside from that though, there is a well crafted origin story for Spiderman with some detail differences, along the same themes as the other Spidermen out there. Uncle Ben is shot by a criminal that Peter could have stopped with his superpowers. Oscorp still looms large of course and is a constant feature in any Spiderman story. In this case, the movie’s archvillain transforms between Lizard which, is a powerful reptilian creature capable of regenerating limbs and Dr Curt Connors, a brilliant genetic specialist with only one arm who is also a mentor to both Peter and Gwen.

You may think that I’m criticizing Andrew Garfield’s performance, but I’m not. I thought he made a great Peter Parker and really brought out the awkward teenager far better than Maguire. It was also a welcome return for the canister based web shooters that were removed in favour of arm holes in the first movies. The only thing is, that for Peter to have made the arm web shooters, which, by the way are far too small to make the amount of goo they spit out, he must have been pretty smart. Except that up until that point, he’s not depicted as especially intellectually talented. He was however, very good on his skateboard. Slight logic leap there.

So, in summary, The Amazing Spiderman is a decent superhero movie and far better than its forebears. The central characters and their motivations are certainly better fleshed out thanks to a longer run time and the fact that Spiderman seems to be a lot more vulnerable and easily exposed is a plus for the movie. Here’s to the sequel coming out later this year!

Rating

This is the Spidey we all wanted to see. Apart from the awkward stuttering.

Should I watch it?

It’s a good action movie with a tinge of “with power comes responsiblity” lecturing. Take your kids to watch it. Hopefully they’ll learn something.

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