The Amazing Spider-Man
Venue: Ster-Kinekor, Maerua Mall
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 stars
High school is a brutal place. Bullies patrol the hallways, boffins dominate the classroom and jocks own the sports field. Everyone jostles to fit in; yearns to stand out; hopes to survive. Peter Parker is not the fittest, nor the strongest. He is the orphaned son of the Richard Parker, who pioneered cross species genetics and Peter has inherited his father’s brain for logic and science. But he is also a teenager and so plagued with the need to work out “Who am I?” and “how do I get the girl?”
Raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt Mary, Peter only has vague memories of his parents. Their tragic death is shrouded in secrecy. When he discovers a hidden cache of research in his father’s briefcase, he sets out to learn more about his father and his work. As his Uncle Ben observes, “It is the unresolved things that take us down a road and make us who we are.” Peter’s road leads him to his father’s colleague, Dr Curt Connors, and the biogenetic company he works for, Oscorp.
Dr Curt Connors – renowned author of illustrious works such as “A World without Weakness” and “Splice of Life” – is an amputee and an expert in reptiles. He longs to fix himself, to grow a limb. Oscorp is 108 floors of innovation and includes a restricted, biocapable lab where Richard Parker’s genetically improved spiders weave industrial strength webs for such commercial uses as towing jet aeroplanes. Peter charms his way into Oscorp’s intern programme and ducks into the danger zone. As Peter winds his way through his father’s legacy- a room of industrious spiders – he plucks at a strand of the spider’s enhanced silk and the spell is broken. The spiders drop and Peter is bitten. Spider-Man is born.
Peter Parker’s biological metamorphosis is fairly immediate. His heightened ‘spidey’ -senses have him grabbing for the ceiling; grappling with sticky hands and dispatching errant flies. Early casualties of his spidey-strength include his toothpaste, his PC keyboard and the bathroom door handle. However, Peter’s transformation into Spider-Man takes a tragedy – the murder of his Uncle Ben – and a great deal of research into spandex to be complete. His ambition to follow in his father’s footsteps unleashes a giant mutant Lizard into the sewers and Spider-Man is the only cross-species superhero capable of saving the city.
Despite being riddled with death, guilt and loss, The Amazing Spider-Man shuns anything sinister or dark. Those bleak shadows remain the sole realm of the Batman. On the contrary, Spider-Man is fun – choreographed and stylish. Dressed in his blue and red unitard, Spider-Man never seems to take himself seriously. He stalks, he pounces, he quips. Swinging through the city, he is a vigilante, a wanted man, and a most undesirable boyfriend for the Police Commissioner’s daughter. But for all his wisecracks Peter does step up to take responsibility for his actions. Secrets have a cost and Peter pays the price. The conclusion is that the city needs him and he needs his mask. Ironically, Peter’s search to find himself leads him to an identity he can never reveal. However, it is an identity that enables him to fulfil his father’s belief in the moral obligation to do good.