It’s hard not to greet the arrival of “The Amazing Spider-Man” with a media savvy shrug. We’re rebooting the grand Sam Raimi Spidey franchise … already?
Amazing casting choices wear down our sophisticated resolve even if the new, improved Peter Parker back story isn’t novel enough to warrant a retelling.
Bravo to Andrew Garfield for making us temporarily forget Tobey Maguire’s selection as the nebbishy web slinger to be. Garfield, best known for his supporting turn in “The Social Network,” gives Peter Parker an emo edge along with plenty of pent-up baggage.
Young Peter never got over the loss of his father (Campbell Scott), so when a mysteriously altered spider grants him special powers it does more than change him into a crime fighter. It forces him to re-examine his emotionally damaged life.
“Spider-Man’s” cast, from the winsome Emma Stone to a too young but effective Sally Field as Aunt May, give Garfield plenty of help. The supervillain slot usually goes to a flashy, name actor, the kind willing to appear in action figure form for the price of spending months in a ridiculous costume.
The production opted for the lesser known Rhys Ifans as the cursed scientist who becomes The Lizard, a sly casting twist that keeps the reboot firmly grounded.
The Blu-ray extras include a massive presentation – “Rite of Passage” – which breaks down the reboot to its very core. The crew discuss scrapping the Maguire model in favor of a newer, more tech-friendly model. We also watch the creation of the new Spidey suit, an outfit designed to spring from the mind of a geeky outcast like poor Peter Parker.
We also follow the production over several areas including, where else, the Big Apple.
“He’s a quintessentially New York character,” says Garfield is his creamy British accent.
Image progression reels, stunt rehearsals, a commentary track featuring director Marc Webb and, of course, deleted scenes cap the package. The latter is must viewing, particularly sequences embellishing the relationship between Peter and Ifans’ scientist.
Frankly, “The Amazing Spider-Man” could have used a few less obviously CGI stunt seconds and a few more deleted scenes patched back into the film.