No, you aren’t having Déjà vu, your favorite web casting superhero has returned. After three mega-hits under director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire, the Spidey torch has been passed to a new production team and actors to fill this legendary high flyer’s boots. It’s “The Amazing Spider-Man”- a reboot yes, but an epic display of storytelling, solid acting, and visual imagery nonetheless.
The film’s stacked cast is headed by Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) as Peter Parker, the young man who would become the masked vigilante. Garfield is joined by the highly talented and beautiful, Emma Stone (The Help, Superbad) playing Gwen Stacy. Stacy is a smart, strong young woman and Parker’s friend and eventual love interest. The premise (spoiler free) is similar to the previous franchise entries. We are provided with the original story that everyone and their mother knows about. However unlike previous tellings of this tale, Director Marc Webb shows the audience a darker side of Parker’s coming to being. Parker is both stubborn and resourceful throughout the film- never cast aside as a pushover. Sure, the radioactive spider who bit him provides the teen with out of this world super powers but it is the man himself who displays the courage to fight, which Garfield exploits with expert precision.
Even though Garfield and Stone provide plenty of onscreen heat, it is the supporting cast who truly rounds out this picture- starting off with Peter’s aunt and uncle who are played by Sally Field (Forest Gump, Mrs. Doubtfire) and Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The Departed) respectively. It was a real coo to get these two Hollywood legends to play roles that would appear minor on paper and their performances make the characters feel more important. Next up, Denis Leary (The Ref, The Sandlot) plays Stacy’s father, a hard-nosed NYPD officer. Leary is flawless at playing a strict, brutish dad and effortlessly pairs these traits with humor, making him a joy to watch in most every scene. Lastly, Rhys Ifans (Human Nature) plays the film’s villain, ‘Dr. Curt Connors’ who later becomes the horrifying “Lizard.” Ifans handles this often one sided role as a good man and a brilliant scientist who simply makes the wrong choices which lead to his demonic transformation.
The visual artistry throughout the film is unparallelled, making “The Amazing Spider-Man” a must for viewing in IMAX 3D. I can’t stress this enough how beautiful each action filled sequence was. The audience’s eyeballs are treated to the perfect combination of comic book meets reality. Spider-Man’s battles with common henchmen and his fight sequence with The Lizard are shot at a real-time distance and speed for us to soak in every punch and web throw. Yet nothing compares to the key moments of flying pervasive throughout the movie. Webb and his team provide viewers with first person perspective shots of swinging and building scaling. It is as if you’re Spider-Man himself- traversing the city and fighting crime. Because of the 3D nature of the film, the audience is treated to full 360 degree flips and turns as our hero flies from building to building, literally blowing us away and leaving us speechless.
Although you will be treated to several retreads from past films, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is not to be missed. The piece stands on its own against past efforts, being more similar to the tone of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and not a bubblegum fest. I look forward to watching Garfield don the suit and iconic mask in the sequel sure to be made right after this film hits theaters. This reason I am so confident about this is because, “My Spidey Senses are Tingling!”
“The Amazing Spider-Man” is rated PG-13, starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans, has a runtime of 136 minutes, and is in theaters everywhere Tuesday, July 3rd.
- Jay Rubin