All you need to know about this latest reboot of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's comic-book creation, so soon after Sam Raimi's successful post-9/11 trilogy, is very simple. It exists only as a purely profit-guided exercise for Columbia Pictures, due to the higher salaries commanded by Mr. Raimi and his stars and the need the keep the franchise humming for future reference. Having said that, there is nothing intrinsically offensive or awkward about this new reset, playing up the lighter pop-culture aspect of the character, who is now just another high school nerd from suburban NYC (an appealing Andrew Garfield) suddenly given free rein by his new-found, accidentally obtained powers, that may or may not derive from a revolutionary genetic breakthrough achieved by his now-deceased, long absent father (Campbell Scott in a brief cameo) and taken advantage of by his associate Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans). Key to the film is still the eternal identity crisis of a young man finding his way into adult life and responsibility, but director Marc Webb underplays any overt seriousness, preferring a speedier, lighter touch and adroitly managing an estimable group of actors. For all this, though, The Amazing Spider-Man really has no reason to exist other than studio politics, there being no need for a different take on the character so soon after the Tobey Maguire incarnation.

Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan; Martin Sheen; Sally Field.

Director, Marc Webb; screenplay, James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves, from a story by Mr. Vanderbilt and characters created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; cinematography, John Schwartzman (colour, processing by DeLuxe, widescreen); music, James Horner; designer, J. Michael Riva; costumes, Kym Barrett; visual effects, Jerome Chen, Rob Engle; producers, Laura Ziskin, Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach (Columbia Pictures and Marvel Entertainment), USA, 2012, 136 minutes.

Screened: distributor advance press screening, Zon Lusomundo Colombo 7, Lisbon, June 29th 2012. 


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