Film review: The Amazing Spider-Man (4 out of 5 stars)

The Amazing Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man.

(12A) 136mins

Director: Marc Webb

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans

Along with many no doubt, my first question when it was announced Spider-Man would be ‘re-booted’, was why?

It was only ten years ago that the last franchise set off and. to be fair, apart from the third movie, it wasn’t that bad.

So, what would this latest version, directed by a relative newcomer, bring to the table?

In fact, it serves up a sharper storyline, much more rounded characters and, of course, improved effects.

Rather than cherry-picking a plot, villains and girlfriend from the comic books, this film has gone back to the origins.

So no Mary-Jane as the love interest (instead we have Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy) and, thankfully, no J Jonah Jameson as the editor of the Daily Bugle (he always annoyed me in the comics).

This time we have Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Peter Parker’s uncle and aunt in what are effectively vital cameos.

And Garfield in the lead role is excellent as the teenager who has to come to terms with his newly-gained powers.

Add to the mix Emma Stone as the love interest (but bringing much more to the role) and Rhys Ifans as The Lizard and you have an impressive line-up.

The story starts with a very young Peter Parker left with his uncle and aunt as his parents mysteriously rush off, never to be seen again.

Years later he tries to discover what happened to them, a quest that leads to a bite from a radioactive spider and a whole heap of reptilean trouble with his father’s former associate Dr Curt Connors (Ifans).

At well over two hours, this may look like quite a long-drawn out affair, but the time flew by for me as the director kept up the pace superbly.

There are good moments of humour, especially when Parker first gets his powers, that lighten the dark mood and the action sequences are full-on.

All this was enhanced in the excellent IMAX screen.

Watch out for the inevitable appearance of Marvel comics very own Stan Lee and hang around at the end for a brief lead-on to the next Spider-Man offering.

Strap on those 3D glasses, make yourself comfortable and enjoy 136 minutes of adventure.

Steve Payne