Market research says: True stories, sequels, and remakes/reboots. Why else would an origin story be retold only ten years after it’s original? The performances are great. Andrew Garfield is very comfortable as the new brooding Peter Parker, digging up some very authentic angst, whilst shifting effortlessly to his witty, jocular alias, taunting his prey. There is definitely a writing problem though. No spoilers, but certain plot developments seem to just get left alone after a while leaving unanswered questions. There’s quite a lot of dialogue and when the action does begin, it’s brief. Up until the end that is, where the action definitely takes center stage.
For a summer blockbuster aimed largely at kids, I guess one has to forgive the corny workmen banding together providing Spidey with a passage of cranes. But not the ‘cute teenagers’ scene between Garfield and Stone, where he asks her out on a date. This is the stuff of bile. Also, and more importantly, there is no sense of amazement or excitement or disbelief in Peter Parker, that this amazing thing is happening to him. He just seems to be taking it all in his stride.
Character wise Emma Stone is not particularly stretched as Gwen Stacey. Rhys Ifans does an adequate job in this his first summer blockbuster, but again, under used by vague characterisations in the writing. Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, and Sally Field all do well, but the latter seems to be/look younger than the conventional image of Aunt May (hinting at age progression in future instalments?) and Stan Lee’s cameo, is his best work so far!
As with all Marvel associated movies, the effects are of course top notch, and Ifans’ Lizard is truly frightening. 3D fans may want to think twice, only certain scenes use the technique, and the use of it in those scenes is pretty pointless. A 3D movie can sometimes be £10 more expensive than good ol’ faithful 2D, so have a serious think.
To summarise, Marc Webb has had a trial by fire with this only his second feature but somehow, he pulls it off getting a surprising [rating:3.5]. It’s just too close in style and time to Raimi’s Spiderman trilogy to avoid comparison, and Spiderman (2001) is superior. Though until Hollywood resigns and accepts the new landscape, as have done the music industry to a degree, it will continue to make films that fall short, because sometimes, those films need not be made.