Marvel fans will rejoice and mourn, in equal measures. Much of this movie is just extraordinary, with visuals that take your breath away.
The first half of this whopping 136-minute epic spends a great deal of time retelling the story of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. Despite Martin Sheen and the eternally-wonderful Sally Field playing Uncle Ben and Aunt May, it all goes on for too long.
Half of the young men at the Stratford Picturehouse absolutely loved this section while the other half – playing apps on their phones – were probably thinking, as I was, just get on with the big action scenes, please.
The second half is a completely perfect action-packed thriller. All of summer 2012’s films seem to be aiming to outdo each other in their enhancements of 3D and CGI and I think this “Spider-Man” exceeds “Avengers” on that level.
Andrew Garfield is good as Spidey, and manages both the teenage angst and loneliness required as well as the zealous crimefighter swinging about on webs stuff.
Emma Stone is just fine as Gwen Stacy but her screen dad, played by Denis Leary, steals every scene he is in.It’s good to see Leary being able to use his masterful comic timing and controlled anger in a role he seems to own.
Rhys Ifans, in the dual role of Curt Connors/Lizard gives great life to his two characters and connects his physical body to his CGI evil monster moments.
There is quite a lot of science for those who enjoy genetics and speculation and, in this era of Dolly the Sheep, it all feels very plausible.
And, of course, the back story is faithful to the spirit and characters of the original Marvel comics, while completely losing the irascible newspaper man J Jonah Jameson. I missed J Jonah.
It’s very much a tale for our times, full of doom and gloom and bullying and little kids in danger.
For me, there is a little too much obvious psychological manipulation of the viewer, in the first half. Quite a lot of the target market of young men will disagree with me and will have identified with Peter’s many traumas and the endless pain he suffers.
The action is almost worth the wait. I confess to checking my watch at least four times in the first hour. So, I mourn the fact that Spider-Man bored me, a little, while celebrating some fantastic effects and this new homage to the original Marvel comics.