Number one. I am slightly terrified of dinosaurs. (Blame Jurassic Park.)
Number two. The bad guy in Amazing Spider-Man is a chap called The Lizard. Who essentially looks like a big, lab-coat wearing dinosaur.
I am also one of the jumpiest people ever to watch a film with. Even that “BOOOFF!!” when the adverts start gets me. Every time. So there was a lot of arm-flailing (I am not only jumpy but comedy-jumpy; I flail) and boyfriend-hand-squeezing while watching this one. I may have also made him check the flat for dinosaurs when we got in, but hey, love me as I am.
That aside, this film is awesome. My three brothers have safely ensured I grew up to be a big fan of superhero films, and this was one I was really looking forward to. If I could be a superhero I’d probably want to be Spiderman (a decision confirmed shortly after leaving the cinema when I was informed that “Hermione doesn’t count”). I’m not going to get into the whole “but they’ve already done Spiderman, how is this different?!” conundrum as I don’t think it’s relevant. If you’re confused by it all, and perhaps put off by the fact that “it’s been done before” – don’t be. Just go along with an open mind and prepare to enjoy yourself.
Aforementioned long-suffering (dinosaur-hunting) boyfriend was firmly in the “humph” camp and came out loving it – one of the best superhero films he’s ever seen, he said! High praise! In a piece of flawless casting, the fantastically gangly Andrew Garfield snaps on the iconic red and blue and reminds me why I always had a thing for lanky boys. It’s a different kind of film to the previous Spidermans (Spidermen? Spidermans?), and all the better for it. It’s less obviously “superhero” than the Tobey Maguire trilogy, which I always thought were just a tad melodramatic. There’s a bit in Spiderman 2 where Tobes thinks Mary Jane’s a gonner – a pretty poignant part – and lets out a proper comic book style “NOOOOO!”… which just made me crack up laughing. Probably not the reaction Sam Raimi was going for.
None of that on Garfield’s watch. Peter Parker may be highly intelligent, but he is also supposed to be “normal”. This gets the balance right. He’s geeky in the clever but awkward but likeable way that Tobey never quite got a handle on. I never really understood what Mary Jane saw in Tobey’s Peter as he just comes across as, well, a bit of a drip.
I love the strong sense of family created by Aunt May and Uncle Ben, who come across as truly loved and depended-upon parts of Peter’s life. This was so important, to create the emotion I felt when Uncle Ben dies. I’d been so caught up in the story that I’d forgotten it was about to happen. Not so in the previous series, where Aunt May and Uncle Ben are feeble, elderly and for Peter to look after – not the ones who look after Peter. The cocky, angry, revenge mission Peter embarks on after Ben’s death made sense, because you agreed with him. He’s a young guy. Ben’s death wasn’t fair. It’s what you’d want to do too.
Without preaching, the film subtly centres our obligation to be decent people. Rhys Ifans’ Curt Connors switches from wanting to eradicate human weakness to wanting to eradicate the weak humans, and when Gwen tells Peter that stopping The Lizard “isn’t his job”, he replies, “maybe it is”. A smart way to remind us all that no, it’s not our job to help each other… but maybe we should anyway.
Awesome film – the story of an “ordinary” superhero. Sorry, Tobey.