So the Spider-Man reboot has finally arrived. After months of questioning its value, applauding the casting and finding myself largely indifferent to the marketing campaign (as well as writing an article) – I got my tickets (purchased the same day as I got my Batman tickets – that’s a great day for cinema tickets, right?) and took my twelve year old daughter to see what the (500) Days of Summer guy would do with our friendly neighbourhood Spidey.
The opening scenes with a young Peter Parker and his parents fleeing off into the night, leaving little Peter with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) were much of a muchness addition to the other Spider-Man movie origins but as soon as Andrew Garfield appears on screen as an older Peter Parker he fit the role like a snug Spider-mit.
The same can be said with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey, with her thigh high socks and woolly jumpers and with Sally Field and Martin Sheen as back up the core of all you need for a good Spider-Man is set up and ready to go. Of course the biggest let down here is the familiarity.
For weeks I’ve convinced myself that to tell the Gwen Stacey story correctly, we needed the reboot. To get webslingers as opposed to organic webshooters we needed a reboot. The origin being retold bugged me less and less as the film came around. They re-tell it in comics all the time. Modernise it. Revamp it. Twist it. Spin in. As a comic book reader you sort of expect retelling of origins for long running characters but of course on film that’s a bigger pill to swallow. The best way to describe Marc Webb’s retelling is that the stepping stones are all there. He does things better, he does things with less impact, some unavoidable steps pull the film right down but generally he’s created a solid Spider-man movie.
So let’s start low and work our way up….
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