Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Sally Field, Martin Sheen
Director: Marc Webb
Running Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Rating: PG-13

I was 14 when I saw Tobey Maguire portray Spider-Man. The movie didn’t have a large impact on me. (The Tobey Maguire movie that hit me like a ton of bricks was “Brothers” – seriously, if you haven’t seen it, get ready to be shaken to your core.) I admit I was skeptical about this Spider-Man remake – does this story really need to be retold every 10 years? And Andrew Garfield of all people, to star as this iconic character? Ten minutes into the film, I was totally blown away by the spot-on casting, modern storyline and special effects. It most definitely exceeded my expectations.

We’re introduced to Peter Parker as a child, whose parents leave him to be raised by his aunt and uncle (veteran favorites Sally Field and Martin Sheen.) As a teen, Peter is a brainy outcast, though not a total social reject. His flirtation with Gwen Stacy (the lovely Emma Stone) consumes him, though it’s one fateful afternoon in a science lab that brings about the real plot of the film.

Rhys Ifans is wonderful and sensitive as Dr. Curt Connors (a far cry from his memorable comedic role in “Notting Hill”), yet we sense that something about him is just a little bit off. His disgust and obsession with his crippled arm, and his interest in science becomes a dangerous combination. Meanwhile, Peter masters his spider-like qualities and woos Gwen, who happens to be the daughter of the police chief (Denis Leary.) When Dr. Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, makes his appearance to the world, Spider-Man and the police chief must join forces to save humanity. The graphics in the last twenty minutes are outrageous.

Andrew Garfield portrays both the superhero and normal teenager effortlessly. Seriously, where did this kid come from? Though he was a standout in “The Social Network,” I’ll admit that I doubted him for this role, but he kind of had that Leo in “Titanic” thing - it’s hard not to fall in love with him. The chemistry between Garfield and Emma Stone is obvious; the two are in fact a real-life item! (I happened to be in the audience of the Late Show with David Letterman when Emma was a guest last month, and she is very quick-witted. And thin.)

The romance and real-life teenage scenarios definitely make this movie worthwhile for girls, and the sick graphics should definitely suffice for guys. Hollywood, if you can continue to raise the bar like this, keep remaking whatever you want.

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