Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the amazing spider-man | anthony lane

The first “Spider-Man” came out in 2002, followed by its obligatory sequels in 2004 and 2007. If you are a twenty-year-old male of unvarnished social aptitude, those movies will seem like much-loved classics that have eaten up half your lifetime. They beg to be interpreted anew, just as Shakespeare’s history plays should be freshly staged by every generation. For those of us who are lavishly cobwebbed with time, however, the notion of yet another Spider-Man saga, this soon, does seem hasty, and I wish that the good people – or, at any rate, the patent lawyers – at Marvel Comics could at least have taken the opportunity to elide the intensely annoying hypen in the title.

Peter Parker is played by Andrew Garfield, who was excellent as the hapless Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network, and he still bears the mournful traces of a smart kid who had to agree to an out-of-court settlement. If anything, he is rather too mournful. I know that years of sappy cinema have left me lachrymose-intolerant, but I really couldn’t understand why Garfield’s Bambi eyes kept glingint with a mist of tears. His closest friend is a skateboard, which I guess is a step up from Mark Zuckerberg.

The new batch of ten-year-olds, receiving their first hit of arachnomania – what will they have learned from this instructive film? One thing: if you want to grab a girl, as Peter does, you eject a strand of sticky stuff onto her from behind, then pull. Not true, kids. Don’t try it at home.

by Anthony Lane
excerpted from The New Yorker, July 9 & 16, 2012

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