The Amazing Spider-Man


Perhaps the producers of the rebooted The Amazing Spiderman should have given some credence to the adage, ‘if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’. Nothing wrong with reboots (look no further than Batman Begins, more on that later), if it’s necessary and serves a purpose other than exploitation. But the reason studio bosses green lit this film was obvious, it’s a cash grab and its out to get your money.

To talk about the plot of the film is a moot point. It has obvious similarities to Sam Raimi’s first Spiderman film (released a decade ago) but some subtle changes are no doubt intended as improvements – such as the unnecessary scene where Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, less geeky, more emo) swings from chains in an abandoned warehouse to practice what will become future traits of his costumed alter-ego. Such micro adjustments (and there are plenty of others) will come across to some as being impressive or ingenious but add up to nothing more than unnecessary tweaks in a story that is both astoundingly familiar and really didn’t warrant these enhancements.

The cast, largely adept in the roles they portray with the exception of Irrfan Khan who embarrasses himself, give earnest performances. Garfield is charming and satirically witty in a way that Tobey McGuire never was he but doesn’t quite embody the nerdy mannerisms and the confused psyche of the Parker from either Raimi’s films or the original comic books. His scenes with Emma Stone, playing love interest Gwen Stacy, are flirtatious at first but become dull and stretched out, an indication that director Marc Webb finds drama (and some hokey manipulation) and not the requisite action scenes his real comfort zone. Not that the action, when it happens, is a letdown – it just lacks the idiosyncrasies of Raimi’s unique, zany visual style which combined macabre horror with slapstick when needed and seems mechanical in comparison. This Spiderman story also seems more brooding, set in alleys and almost entirely during nighttime, in an obvious attempt to aim at realism. I’m sorry, but I guess I must have missed the storyline in the comics where the character became darker and more gritty ala Frank Millers Dark Knight Returns.

Speaking of Batman, this film completely misses the point that called for a reboot of that character by DC and Warner Brothers when they hired Christopher Nolan. After the disaster that was Batman and Robin, that characters image in the movie world was in shambles and the franchise looked down upon as a pariah. An absolute change in direction was necessary because of what was deemed as a derailing of the fundamentals. Last time movie audiences checked into a Spiderman film was in 2007’s Spiderman 3, which admittedly was less than stellar but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a sequel a few years later – this year’s surprising good Men In Black 3 is proof positive that this could have been achieved with the same cast and crew and a little inspired storytelling. To go back in time and retell with a different team what is essentially a story we’ve seen work so very well before (2002’s Spiderman was no classic, but Spiderman 2 was pure superhero cinema gold) seems insulting to those who were cheering at the exploits of the character not too long ago. A better Spiderman film would have not only waited (reboots also serve to re-introduce a character to a different generation) but would have been daringly revisionist and experimental, like Nolan’s work on the Bat films. No such luck here. This Spiderman has a strong been there, done that vibe about it, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and