ITV: PREMIERE Tuesday 29 December, 10.40pm
Marvel made such a hash of Hulk, different actors have played the role in three movies since 2003, none of them incredible. But Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man was an early 21st century smash. So did the story really need to be told again so soon? Well, for Hollywood executives, comic books are the holy grail. And the easy option. Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man is dead. Long live Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man.
Despite Spidey’s well-documented origins, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. Garfield is a good fit for introverted teenager Peter Parker, a bit of a jerk who turns his back on Emma Stone for the siren calls of the city. He’s soon enough hanging off buildings like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, without the ugly side effects. Those are reserved for geneticist Rhys Ifans, typecast as a mutant lizard man. “Alert the mayor of Tokyo,” says sceptical police chief Denis Leary. If Spidey’s tale had to be told again, then, naturally, director Marc Webb has found the way to do it.
A little humour and a lot of heart. Which makes it an incey-wincey bit better than Sam Raimi’s version. Which is more than can be said for the underwhelming 2014 Spider-Man 2 sequel. It isn’t amazing, it’s overkill. In 3D. For over two hours. A big shiny CGI pile of bumper car stunts that sent Sony and Marvel back to the drawing board. Because the plug’s already been pulled on this rebooted franchise. Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is dead. Long live the next guy.