ACTION; 2hr 16min
STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Spider-Man unmasked: Garfield
With his wounded gawkiness, Garfield (The Social Network) is a great choice for a relaunched Peter Parker in new Spidey helmer Marc Platt’s empathic origin tale. Even after he’s exposed to genetically fiddled-with spiders and morphs into a web-slinging, skyscraper-scaling hybrid, geeky Peter remains an outsider at heart. At issue is the loss of his scientist father, who, when Peter was a little boy, went into hiding with his mother under a mysterious cloud. Peter has been raised by his protective Uncle Ben and Aunt May (Martin Sheen and Sally Field) but when Ben dies, the newly hatched vigilante cuts loose on dangerous ground.
(500) Days of Summer director Platt knows his way around the human condition. The speeding-bullet stunt work and transformation of genetics guru Dr Curtis Connors (Ifans) into an enormous lizard are Comic-Con nirvana, yet Peter’s tender relationship with smart cookie Gwen Stacy (Stone) is the heart and soul of a story that cries out for a superpowered boost. The action eventually peaks with the thrills we’re hankering for, but Spidey’s evolution is a mighty long haul. More oomph, less angst and the mix would totally sing.