Every Saturday morning as a kid in the 90’s I’d watch Spiderman and Batman the animated series’ and loved them. Today, I still love them and my beloved superheroes have of course, been given the movie (and re-boot) treatment. I never loved the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman franchise. I liked Michael Keaton, but all in all it just didn’t feel right. But when Christopher Nolan came along seven years ago with Batman Begins, my mind was blown. It was like I was seeing the story again for the first time in the way I’d always imagined it.
It’s curious that something similar has happened with the Amazing Spiderman. I always loved Spiderman’s easy humour and sarcastic commentary in the animated series, which was something the previous franchise starring Tobey Maguire really lacked. Tobey Maguire was never my Spiderman -through no fault of his own, he just wasn’t what I pictured and much too old. Kirsten Dunst lacked the sassy pizzazz (and the natural red hair) of my Mary Jane Watson. Despite James Franco and Willem Dafoe being well cast, with each sequel the movies got worse and worse.
Now, only a handful of years later – comes Andrew Garfield to take on the role of Peter Parker/Spiderman. I loved it, I really did. It didn’t have the epic quality that can only be found in a Christopher Nolan Batman film, but it was a really great superhero movie. Andrew Garfield was what I always imagined Peter Parker to be. Cute, smart, flawed, sarcastic, funny – but also angry and conflicted, we saw it all on Garfield’s face and he laid it bare for the audience to see. His torment over the loss of his parents, his guilt over the loss of his uncle, he embodied the character of Peter Parker honestly and completely.
Not to mention the outstanding chemistry between Garfield and real life girlfriend Emma Stone – it was off the charts. Stone’s Gwen Stacy was smart, brave, strong willed and a typical teenager in love – but let’s be honest, those knee socks were ridiculous. Obviously the producers were going for the sexy scientist look here, it just seemed a tad unrealistic to me. Socks aside, I really enjoyed Gwen’s character and bravery, her willingness to save others over herself and be a confidant for Peter.
Rhys Ifans was a flawed but sympathetic villain, as a scientist who wanted his other arm back and went about it the wrong way. Who knew Hugh Grant’s roommate from Notting Hill could be so evil and dark? I love Martin Sheen in everything and this movie was no exception. The casting was all very well done.
My only major criticism would be the rallying of the cranes to help Spiderman reach Oscorp. It was reminiscent of the New York subway scene in Spiderman 2, (the Tobey Maguire franchise) and it just seemed unnecessary. It didn’t advance the plot and there was nothing to be gained from it. We already know some people love Spiderman and some people don’t – so what was the point?
Andrew Garfield carried this film on his shoulders and the success of it should be largely if not totally attributed to him. He was the perfect choice in casting, a fan playing the superhero they grew up loving. From the Social Network to Spiderman, I just can’t wait to see more movies (Spiderman, and otherwise) from him.