Synopsis: A teenage social outcast Peter Parker spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past and win over his high school crush, Gwen Stacy. Peter discovers a briefcase that belonged to his father, who had abandoned him during his childhood.
The contents in the case lead him to his father’s former partner, Dr Curtis Connors. The film is about Peter’s discovery of his father’s secret, his encounter with a genetically modified spider and his struggle with Connors, who becomes the vicious, vengeful Lizard.
The Amazing Spider Man
The basics are the same: A high school kid gets bitten by a scientifically-modified spider, discovers he has newfound super powers, decides to use them as a vigilante crime fighter and takes to the streets of New York in an unforgivingly tight red-and-blue suit.
But in terms of tone, characters, performances and even visual effects, The Amazing Spider-Man feels like its own separate entity.
It may not be as transporting or genre-altering an experience as those earlier films, especially the first two, but it finds a distinct voice. And a great deal of that has to do with the central performance from Garfield as Parker.
In the hands of Tobey Maguire, who originated the role in Spider-Man a decade ago, Peter was nerdy, scrawny, insecure — that’s how his everyman relatability manifested itself.
Garfield plays Peter as more of a misunderstood outsider, a rebel with a chip on his shoulder, a guy who wasn’t afraid to stand up to the class bully even before he underwent his transformation. And that slightly arrogant attitude gives the whole movie a restless, reckless energy and a welcome sense of danger.
At the helm, Marc Webb is a very different sort of director. He conveys an emotional truth, a pervasive sense of humanity, which may be an even tougher feat in this kind of fantastical scenario.
The script from James Vanderbilt, Steve Kloves and veteran Alvin Sargent begins when Peter was a boy. As Peter grows into a teenager, he begins to ask questions about who they were — especially his mysterious scientist father (Campbell Scott).
Which brings us to the use of 3-D: The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t need it. Webb barely applies this de rigueur trick, maybe to make the background pop here and there, or in an aerial shot of the city. It feels like an attempt by the studio to sling more summer moviegoing dollars into its web.
Copyright 2008 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. . All rights reserved.