Original review featured on the Doha Film Institute website.

Film: The Amazing Spider-Man
Director: Marc Webb
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Genre: Action- Adventure – Fantasy
Running Time: 136 mins

Sam Raimi, director of the 2002 – 2007 Spider-Man trilogy, had been working on a fourth sequel due in 2011; it never took place. Instead, in January 2010 Sony announced it would reboot the franchise with a new director, 37 year old Marc Webb, and a different cast. “The Amazing Spider-Man” (with a budget of $215 million) broke an opening record on its 3 July release of $35 million in the US and Canada. By Sunday, it is not unlikely for that figure to reach between $110 and $120 million. Little shock then, that Sony announced a new trilogy this morning on its Facebook page. The new series reinvents the tone with a contemporary approach from script to special effects, in a similar fashion to Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins”. A modern chapter in the history of super heroes has been written. As Marvel celebrates Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary with such grandeur, audiences flocking to ticket offices in their hundreds of thousands have verified that they had expected “Amazing”.

In Pictures: Spider-Man characters through the years

The legend begins with high-school outcast Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) finding a his late father’s briefcase. He ends up in Oscorp, the laboratory of his father’s former partner Dr. Curt Connors’ (Rhys Ifans). There, he is accidentally bitten by a scientifically altered spider that will grant him uncontrollable super-powers.

Peter’s life is in turmoil; he is torn between school, a teenage crush and a clash with his uncle. He is getting acquainted with his enhanced strength – so far a fun pastime. As most teenagers absorbed by themselves, he disregards the loving family who raised him. He looks for answers about his parents’ past and future options. But a tragic family accident shuffles his priorities, pushing him to uncover what he’s meant to become: a superhero.

Details are peppered through the film’s first half to understand why Peter was granted heightened spider-like senses. The script develops slowly, allowing audiences to gauge the nerdy adolescent’s transformation. Even when restlessly climbing walls, he’s still a boy who doesn’t want to miss answering his aunt’s phone call. The character is not lost behind the mask. Marc Webb has meticulously worked to develop Spider-Man’s personality and skills.

For years, one-armed Dr. Connors has tried to develop a form of genetic manipulation to implant the DNA of a lizard in mammals, in the hope of reviving his missing limb. When Peter shows up with his father’s research, the puzzle is solved. The cost of knowledge, now in the hands of a selfish scientist, leads to a ferocious giant reptile destroying the city. Spider-Man feels the urgent need to clean up his mess.
The short five-year gap between “The Amazing Spider-Man” and Sam Raimi’s last installment, had fans wondering ‘is this too soon?’

Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker will sink Tobey Maguire into a distant memory. Notoriously nervous, fame-shy and a victim of bullying himself, he slips into the role of a caring student constantly harassed for his heroic acts remarkably.

This also applies to Emma Stone; she’s a charming Gwen Stacey and their chemistry – the pair started dating after they met on set – adds to the film’s honesty. Another notable performance came from Indian actor Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Salaam Bombay) playing scientist Dr. Rajit Ratha.

Less-obvious special effects add to the film’s credibility. The combination of technology with impeccable cinematography have created visually memorable scenes. Emotions merge with spontaneous humour. Unstoppable action picks up the pace. “Amazing” could be used to describe the film in one word; Marc Webb has produced one of the most crafted action choreographies in comparison to Spider-Man’s predecessors.

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