“The Amazing Spider-Man” – new and improved
Just because the story isn’t new doesn’t mean that The Amazing Spider-Man, which premiered to US audiences on July 3, isn’t improved. In this reboot of the web-slinger’s origin story, budding superhero Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) tries to find out what happened to his parents while simultaneously trying to stop Dr. Curtis Connors, a genetic-experiment-gone-wrong who is later deemed simply ‘the Lizard’ (Rhys Ifans), from wrecking the entire city of New York. Peter seeks out Dr. Connors in attempts to find out what happened to his father, Richard Parker, a fellow scientist in the world of cross-species genetics. Like Peter’s father, Dr. Connors is trying to find cures for degenerative diseases by looking to animal DNA. He hopes that if the two sets of DNA are properly fused, a human being would be able to, say, regrow an arm, which is one of Dr. Connors’ personal goals. However, his research turns him into an aggressive lizard-human hybrid who tries to give his genetic ‘gift’ to the rest of New York. The only one left to stop him is Spider-Man, who is under scrutiny by both the NYPD and the citizens of his own city and is still developing his skills as a superhero.
For those trying to line up this film with the trilogy of ten years ago (directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as Spidey), TASM expands on a section of Peter’s life that only got about thirty minutes of screen time in the first Spider-Man movie: high school. The movie is also pre-Mary Jane Watson, as TASM showcases Peter’s high school science whiz girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), as his main pillar of support. The movie also stays truer to the comic books, as it points to the fact that he built machines to shoot webs from his wrists (he couldn’t actually make his own), and amped up Spider-Man’s comic persona.
Even in a summer that saw The Avengers and is soon to see The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-Man proved to be a very well-made superhero flick with highly improved visuals, excellent acting, and a familiar yet compelling story. Andrew Garfield truly immersed himself in his vision of Peter Parker; compared to the bumbling, awkward, and nerdy Peter with the more serious Spidey of the first Raimi trilogy, Garfield’s Parker is still a smart kid with a troubled past regarding his Uncle Ben’s murder, but has a bit of a running arrogance streak, and his Spidey is more of the sarcastic and wise-cracking hero of the comics than before. Throughout the film, we see him making witticisms about car thieves and the nature of his suit and taking awkward cell phone calls while still on the job, all while going after his first nemesis. But, above all, TASM offers a charming insight into the life of a boy who is still coming to terms with his superpowers, his parents’ mysterious deaths, his murdered uncle, and his newfound responsibility.