Just five years after the last installment of Sam Raimi’s “Spiderman” series, Sony has set out to re-establish the web slinger in theatres. ‘The Amazing Spiderman” opens May 3 and stars Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spiderman and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Sally Field and Martin Sheen play Aunt May and Uncle Ben and Rhys Ifans plays the conflicted villain Dr. Curt Connors and his counterpart, the Lizard.
When Peter, left with his aunt and uncle when he was a child, discovers a briefcase containing his father’s research, he sets off to meet Dr. Connors, who worked with his father at OSCORP. Dr. Connors and Richard Parker were researching cross species genetics, in the hopes of using useful animal traits to aid humans. Dr. Connors is researching lizards, which can regrow limbs, and he hopes to use it to regrow his own arm.
The usual encounter with a radioactive spider sets Peter off on his journey to learn about his powers. When Uncle Ben dies, he uses his powers to hunt down the man who killed him, and in the process learns the responsibility of his powers.
When Dr. Connors jumps testing phases and uses himself as a human test subject, he regrows his arm, and then turns into the 9 foot tall Lizard who begins terrorizing New York City. Spiderman incurs his interest in an encounter within the city’s sewers, and finds out the Lizards plan for NYC and its inhabitants.
Gwen Stacy, the love interest this time around, is an intern at OSCORP and works with Dr. Connors. With Captain George Stacy(Denis Leary) on both the Lizard and Spiderman’s tails, she must guard Peter’s secret and help him stop the Lizard in his quest for biological dominance of the city.
The Lizard, given a more humanoid look, seems to be the darker, more violent tendencies of Dr. Connors personality taking over, rather than a mindless beast. His wish to create a world without weakness becomes twisted to creating a race of non-humans, because in the Lizards eyes, and later Dr. Connors, humans are innately weak creatures. He even manages to construct a lab in the sewers, a la Doctor Octopus in the abandoned building.
Rhys Ifans did all the stop motion CGI work for The Lizard himself.
The movie utilizes the source material from the mainstream comics. Sam Raimi’s movies focused on Spiderman and his involvement with people based on his effect on their lives as the web slinger, and the series became darker as it progressed.
Marc Webb brings in the humor of the comics and puts Peter’s brilliance in the forefront in creating the suit and the artificial web shooters. Webb wanted to make Spiderman an acrobat, and created the suit to lengthen the look of the body and make it seem more flexible. The artificial web shooters use synthetic webbing, created by OSCORP, and unlike the comics, we never see him run out of web.
One of the best scenes of the movie was not a fight scene between Spidey and his villain, or a cute scene between Peter and Gwen. The scene that stood out the most was when Spiderman, injured and limping his way to OSCORP for the final showdown, is helped by the people of NYC on his way, in an extraordinary way.
Stan Lee is always the anticipated easter egg in Marvel films. Fans search the duration of the movie for the always game creator of the Marvel characters. Some are blink and you miss him, such as in “The Avengers” when he was being interviewed in the aftermath of the invasion or the more hysterical, when he was an ambitious truck driver trying to remove Thor’s hammer from the rock in “Thor.” “The Amazing Spiderman” gives us perhaps one of his best yet.
In the scope of superhero movies today, “The Amazing Spiderman” is good, but not standout. We get good actors playing their parts well, a witty, quick script that keeps the movie flowing with little to no plot holes and some really spectacular fight scenes. Had this movie come out pre-“Avengers” or pre- Christopher Nolan’s “Batman,” “Spiderman” would have been something to compete with.
That is not the case, however.
“The Amazing Spiderman” will sit at the top of the box office its opening weekend, and the following weekend as well. When “The Dark Knight Rises” hits theatres, expect the web crawler to bow out gracefully, with a decent haul to its name. Predictions have Spiderman taking in a $125 million during its six day “holiday weekend,” and will close out its run with a cumulative domestic box office of about $300 million.
The connection felt between Spiderman and the audience has always been there, and has been something other superhero movies have never accomplished. Spiderman, unlike the normally flawless characters of Batman and Superman, makes mistakes, like the rest of us. He is not perfect, and we see that still in this movie, and the relationship is again re-established.