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Ronita Torcato

A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai


Review of the amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary,  Martin Sheen, Irrfan Khan and Sally Field
Director: Marc Webb

For some readers, Holden Caulfield, the 16-year-old protagonist of  J D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, is the epitome of teenage angst, anger and rebellion. Like many teenagers, Peter (Andrew Garfield) Parker, a solitary high schooler and the alter ego of SpiderMan, does not keep his word. He disregards reminders from his uncle (Martin Sheen) to pick up his doting aunt (Sally Field) ignores their phone calls,  is lackadaisical about buying groceries etc all of which makes aunt and uncle bemoan the fact that their young nephew is  irresponsible. They have been his foster parents since the tragic death of his parents in a mishap and have done ( or try to do) their best to instil good values into their ward. As the American motivational author Alfred Armand Montapert noted "Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of their choices". It is only when Uncle Ben is gunned down by the robber he ought to have challenged but didn't, that Peter realises that the tragic consequence is directly connected to his own behavior.
 Marc Webb's remarkable reboot which comes a mere five years after SpiderMan 3, underlines the SpiderMan theme (With great power comes great responsibility ) whose earliest usage is attributed to the French author and philosopher Voltaire.  Webb, who replaced Sam Raimi, and has directed just one movie ( 500 Days of Summer) seems to have taken the dictum very seriously in recreating the Spider‑Man franchise in this new, multi-million dollar extravaganza. Tobey Maguire’s successor in Spidey's red and blue suit is the British actor  and ex gymnast Andrew (The Social Network) Garfield.(Isn't it interesting how the creators of such fictional superheroes as SuperMan, WonderWoman and Capt America, chose to clothe their creations in red and blue, the colours of the American flag)

 James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves's screenplay based on the Marvel Comic Book by  Steve Ditko and Stan Lee (who has a cameo as a librarian ) repeats the original plot  of the SpiderMan franchise but it also takes a fresh perspective. The first three films only referenced Peter's dead parents, whereas The Amazing Spider-Man focuses on the teenager's efforts to get to know more about the couple (  Campbell Scott  and   Embeth Davidtz) who had left him in the care of Uncle Ben and Aunt May (shown in flashbacks) Peter's discovery of a briefcase that belonged to his  scientist father leads him to geneticist  Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner.While Peter is struggling to come to terms with himself, he is also negotiating his way with high school bullies and classmates, especially blonde, blue eyed Gwen Stacy(Emma Stone,spunky) who works at Dr Connor's lab. Peter has a massive crush on Gwen and the emotion is not unrequited. It would be most interesting to see in a sequel when/where/why and how Gwen is replaced in his affections by girl next door,green-eyed redhead Mary Jane Watson (who does not figure in this film)
 The course of  true love never did run smooth and Gwen's police-man dad disapproves of   Spidey,whom he regards as a no-gooder, notwithstanding his protestations. Maguire's Spidey took his time coming to terms with his new powers and making life-altering choices; as  Garfield plays it, the titular character is less conflicted about his destiny - to  crusade against evil. Maguire was a complex,cool cookie but Garfield's orphan-boy has a vulnerabillity which makes the viewer want to hug him and bind his wounds - and oh,he acquires very man in his quest for the killer of his uncle and during his collision course with The Lizard, a dino-sized creepy crawly which happens to be the alter-ego of....okay, no spoilers.Suffice to say, the Lizard stumbles on Spidey's real identity,which the teen disarmingly divulges to folks in life-threatening situations. Among those he finds in dire straits is one Rajit Ratha ( Irrfan Khan, notable in a small but  significant role) 
Ratha's rescue,Spidey and Gwen's SuperMan-Lois-like turn swinging  through the brilliant night sky ( beautifully lensed by John Schwartzman) and the feral fight atop a skyscraper are both exciting and unoriginal,harking as they do to films about the caped crusader from Krypton and King Kong among others. Even the provenance of the Lizard (like similar mutations in The Fly and The Island of Dr. Moreau  movie adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel of the  same name ) can be traced to the Roman poet Ovid's Metamorphoses. Do note the lovely twist towards the end of The Amazing SpiderMan (which you don't see coming) but then again, I'm not telling.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai



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