Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary
Directed by Marc Webb
It’s the same old story. Of the guy for whom they wrote the song (and we sang along) “Spiderman Spiderman, does whatever a spider can; Spins a web, any size; Catches thieves just like flies.” The Amazing Spiderman, the fourth in the series, doesn’t take things forward. It takes us back: to Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), the high school geek and how he is bestowed with unforeseen powers and discovered himself and his larger purpose in life.
Yes, Peter is the same kid, raised by Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). As we learn of his parents’ deaths in a car accident, we also meet Dr Curt Connors, who is carrying on Peter’s father’s work. Connors mutates into a lizard while trying to regrow a lost limb. It’s on sneaking into Connors’s secret lab that Peter has his tryst with the spider, giving him the ability to shoot webs from his palms and swing from one skyscraper to another, and becomes the crime-busting superhero who saves the world.
Yes, it’s that same old spiel about great power and greater responsibility, but director Marc Webb also romanticises the action man. Love is as important as action and SFX. Not surprising, since Webb gave us the charming relationship movie 500 Days of Summer. Webb’s Spidey is a nervous geek, a recluse who is bullied and can’t ask his girl, Gwen Stacy, out. Their delightful romantic encounters (minus that upside down kiss) are as important as the deadly combats with the lizard or the amazing flights across the city.
The Amazing Spiderman may not be as amazing as it “preclaims” itself to be, but it entertains and is fun while it lasts. It’s a different matter that the film does not quite sustain for long in the mind’s eye once its over. Garfield makes for a hyper, twitchy, callow Spidey. It’s Stone who is self-assured and sexy as the girl who turns him into an emotional wreck. But the one who impresses the most is Rhys Ifans, the Lizard, at once evil and tragic. And yes, we also have our own Irrfan Khan as the Lizard’s boss Dr Rathi. And what about him? Well, he came, he went. Only we, the Indians, noticed. Another turn like Anil Kapoor’s in Mission Impossible 4? Or is there more chalked out for him in the sequel?
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