It was year 2007 when Marvel’s superhero Spider-Man had his last outing on the silver screen. Since then, many superheroes have come and gone, most becoming popular franchisees themselves and have earned an earth-shattering moolah at the Box Office.
In five years, the memories of Marvel comics’ most popular superhero have also faded from many of our minds. Which perhaps was the reason that Sony Pictures decided to re-boot the series with a new director (Marc Webb) and a new cast. A wise decision on their part, I would say, as the new Spider-man gets his own charms and has a cutesy girlfriend for company. And yes, he still has got IT.
The story more or less remains the same, with Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) living with his aunt May and uncle Ben (Sally Field and Martin Sheen). He is in high school and an awkward teenager who doesn’t have the courage to ask his cute classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) out. The discovery of his super powers happens after a visit to the research organisation Oscorp Industries where he is predictably bitten by one of those spiders kept there for tests. Oscorp is headed by one limbed Dr Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifan), who also happens to be Parker’s father’s friend and who, Peter feels, knows the secret behind his parent’s disappearance.
Meanhwile, Connor is in search of a solution that would enable humans to grow back their limbs, just like lizards do. While Peter discovers his superpowers and is just happy to be swinging his way to his girlfriend’s house, Connor transforms himself into a vicious lizard who now wants to multiply his own kind by transforming others. On discovering the mayhem that Connor has set out on, Peter takes up the responsibility to stop the menace, partly because he is guilty that he gave Connor the formula which set the ball rolling in the first place.
The plot is predictable – good vs. evil – with the underlying theme of ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ and the entire narrative is based on that one line. Instead of having any of characters speak it, Webb makes his superhero enact it in each frame.
Webb, whose last outing was a quirky romance tale called ‘500 days of Summer’, makes his superhero a bit brash, a bit quirky and definitely smarter than Sam Raimi’s version, which was played by Tobey Maguire. Andrew Garfield plays the superhero in his own style, sometimes making it an extension of his character Eduardo Saverin from ‘The Social Network’. He is brash sometimes, and defends his own deeds in front of the head cop (who happens to be Gwen’s father) in a way that comes across as a favour that he is doing to the police force. Unlike Tobey, this one isn’t a ‘loser’, and in fact enjoys his superhero powers. He doesn’t have too much trouble accepting his newfound talent and cracks a joke or two while fighting the bad guy.
Marc Webb manages to give a humane touch to the superhero and goes heavy on the romance part. Emma Stone, as Gwen Stacy, makes for a delightful watch and the two share an adorable chemistry. The scene where Peter awkwardly asks Gwen out, in the most indirect way possible, is bound to get a smile on your face.
India’s representation in the film through Irrfan Khan remains sketchy and unsatisfactory. An actor of Irrfan’s cadre is reduced to only three scenes. Some would say that it is his character, which instigates Connor to unleash havoc on the city, but somehow it isn’t enough. Sadly, Khan is used more like a prop in the background.
The special effects are neatly done and background score by James Horner fits perfectly with the scenes. The street fighting sequences, the beautifully intimidating skyscrapers through which Parker swings are shot beautifully and give the film a grand feel.
Watch it for a new, transformed Spider-Man. This one is bound to make all the girls swoon over him in the near future.