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Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

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A Property with Legs

Characters like Spider-Man, have such, er, legs, that they remain profitable, whether on screen or not. In adaptation terms, however, each generation of moviegoers probably deserves their own iteration, a version to themselves. Reinvention, at sensible intervals, ensures longevity. Sony’s unfortunate legal position has torn up that understanding. The consequence is that the brand is diminished. You can call it amazing but you sure can’t say its novel.

The danger of franchise fatigue makes demands of the new filmmakers that didn’t concern Sam Raimi. He only had the burden of knowing that his signature style was surplus to requirements; that his Faustian pact with the execs demanded a movie that was pure beige. The new troupe has been ordered to make their movie relevant. A relevant comic book movie to play to the kids parked at saturation point? There’s a non sequitur.

So what could director Marc Webb do (Franz Spider and Avi Arachnid were unavailable), faced with the task of making his Spider-Man distinct from the last? You might think the scope was enormous, after all Raimi’s trilogy had so little moxie that any infusion of style – any risk in fact, might be enough to ensnare us in a newly spun web. With a free hand and a willingness to experiment, Webb and his amazing friends could have cranked up the lunacy – partnering Spidey with The Fly for example (think of the tension!), but Sony didn’t pay $200m for mass deviation from the norm and consequently, this friendly neighbourhood superhero struggles to be his own man. The finished film is like a repeat of the chicken dinner you had the night before but with different seasoning.

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Director: Marc Webb

Country: US

Year: 2012

Running Time: 136 mins

Certificate: 12A for strong Rhys Ifans, excessive hair, call backs to Teen Wolf and intense Sally Field.

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