‘The Amazing Spider-Man’; Actors: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans; Director: Marc Webb; Rating: **1/2
A desperate battle for survival. How else does one describe ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, the reboot of a franchise that began hardly a decade back and which, despite its best intentions has only regressed the original story?
The familiar story of Spiderman’s beginnings has undergone only cosmetic changes. His father is shown to have been working for Oscorp before he disappeared. His girlfriend is Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) who is his first love in the comic books and not Mary Jane and her father is a cop.
Spiderman inadvertently creates the monster he later fights. And Peter Parker/Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) lets both his girlfriend and her father know his secret identity.
It is hence fun finding out why this film was made. Here are six probable reasons:
1) Peter Parker in the original franchisee got married and it was time to send him back to school. 2) If comic books can reboot from a ‘Spiderman’ to ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, why can’t a film. 3) To help the Titanic of a sinking studio, stay afloat. 4) If kids can like ‘Transformers’, they will like anything that has special effects. 5) Girls hate lizards so every time the lizard guy comes up, girls will jump on the lap of their boyfriends who will create a word of mouth buzz. 6) The studio found a director, whose last name was had some connection with spiders – Webb.
At its core level, one can describe this film as the template of the original Spiderman mixed with few scattered elements taken from various films e.g. introduction of the concerned father of the girlfriend like in ‘Twilight’ or have him make his own gadgets like ‘Batman’.
There are too many problems with the film to narrate. Firstly, the story itself does not have any emotional pull or the engagement of the original Spiderman. The characterisations are not handled properly and even Gwen ends up becoming just a pretty face without a mind or aspiration of her own.
Even the hesitant, love angle between Peter Parker and Gwen is not handled well. And many characters are left hanging without a conclusion, most notably that of Irrfan Khan. Despite being a brilliant actor, he hardly suited his blink-and-miss role where he fumbles with his ascent.
One department where ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ does not fail is its special effects. Considering the state of commercial cinema emanating from Hollywood, one can safely assume that this would be reason enough for the film to make a billion dollars globally.
The film gets an early release in India. It is not hard to imagine why. Demographically India not only has the world’s largest number of teens, but also the world’s largest concentration of them, teens who have grown up loving the brainless ‘Transformers’ series.
The Indian angle with the presumably last minute introduction of Irrfan Khan is also meant to woo Indian audiences.
If reboot is what Hollywood was looking for, they could have done something much more interesting and fun.