Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Clearly Sony had a real mission to make the latest Spidey film as much a satisfying drama as a super hero pic. Casting Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, a couple of leads known for brainy, upscale fare, is consistent with the original pairing of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. This time though they've gone one further by hiring director Mark Webb, whose previous work includes a few short docos and one feature - the smart romcom 500 Days of Summer. Now that's thinking outside the box.
The chemistry between Garfield and Stone gives off more heat than all the CGI in the world, creating an emotional undercurrent that makes the ensuing action all the more dramatic. In fact all the main characters are fleshed out in a way altogether uncommon in super hero movies. Peter Parker's relationship with his uncle and aunt feels more genuine than it has in previous films, and crucially we feel real sympathy for the villain, whose motives don't tidily fit into the category of "evil".
When the action set-pieces kick in, they are quite spectacular. 3D is often no more than a marketing gimmick, but here its put to good use, with flying objects, including our swinging hero, catapulting towards us. The depth of vision is palpable.
For the uber-geeks, this is a very faithful telling of the original comic book. Creator Stan Lee always concerned himself with character dynamic and motivation above all else. For the not so geeky, this is a great romantic drama which just happens to have a lot of impressive bells and whistles attached to it.