The Amazing Spider-Man film: Twilight in Spandex?

Jun 22, 2012

Andrew Garfield plays the first superhero designed primarily for women

What you need to know
Superhero blockbuster The Amazing Spider-Man is based on the Marvel comics and directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer). Following the three movies directed by Sam Raimi over the past decade, the new film takes us back to the origins of Spider-Man.

The story revolves around Peter, a teenage social outcast trying to solve the mystery of his past and the parents who abandoned him. When he discovers a briefcase that once belonged to his father, the trail leads him to the lab of his dad's former partner Dr. Curt Connors, and his monstrous alter ego the Lizard.

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, Never Let Me Go) is Peter Parker. Emma Stone (The Help) plays Gwen Stacy, Peter's high school classmate and love interest. Rhys Ifans is Dr. Curt Connors. There are also appearances from Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Peter's aunt and uncle, and comedian Denis Leary as Gwen's father.

What the critics like
Webb has created the first superhero movie aimed primarily at women, says Robbie Collin in The Daily Telegraph. That's not to say the film is short on blockbuster testosterone. There's more than enough "bungee-swinging through Manhattan's concrete canyons to satisfy thrill-seekers of either sex". But the plot "rests almost entirely on the romance between his two leads". Twilight in spandex perhaps?

Webb and the film's writers have done a smart job of making a snappy blockbuster with few pretensions, says Dave Calhoun in Time Out. This Spider-Man is light on its feet and "delivers an enjoyable rush over a patchwork of genres – romance, action, sci-fi, horror and comedy". The action sequences are gripping and have "a bouncy, parkour-style giddiness to them".

This Spider-Man is as enjoyable as it is impressive, says Andrew Pulver in The Guardian. "Webb's control of mood and texture is near faultless as his film switches from teenage sulks to exhilarating airborne pyrotechnics."

What they don't like
Spider-Man lacks the adult irony of Avengers Assemble, says Kate Muir in The Times, but it is aimed at a younger audience: "Another generation will bear the Spider-Man emblem on their lunchboxes and pencil-cases." There's no harm in that. "With great power comes great responsibility - and an endless franchise."

It's only towards the end, when the film reverts to CGI in the Lizard scenes that things gets a little less amazing, says Pulver in The Guardian. "Cartoony reptilian carnage has just lost its power to enthral if it's rather obviously happening inside a computer."

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