The Amazing Spider-Man | 2012
A bit of a speedy reboot, but Andrew Garfield slips perfectly into the Spidy lycra, though his stuttering shyness disturbingly evokes a young Norman Bates. Maybe a timely spider bite could have spared us all that nastiness in the shower.
Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) have moved from Queens to the Windsor Terrace neighbourhood near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, where they live at 36 Fuller Place, just to the north of Prospect Avenue.
We’re soon off to the sunny west with Peter Parker’s ‘Midtown Science High School’, which is a conflation of two schools, both in California. The exterior is Taft High School, 5461 Winnetka Avenue, Woodland Hills in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles – previously seen as ‘Gregory Heights Middle School’ in Crazy Stupid Love.
Most of the school classrooms were built in the Sony Studio in Culver City, Los Angeles, but the gym where newly-empowered Parker gets to humiliate macho bully Flash is that of St John Bosco High School, 13640 South Bellflower Boulevard, Bellflower, way southeast of LA.
The hi-tech lab where Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) strives to create a world without human weakness was also built in Culver City studio, and the 108-story ‘Oscorp Building’, into which Parker insinuates himself to meet Dr Connors is, of course, rendered digitally, but the entrance and the lobby are the Hearst Tower, 300 West 57th Street at 8th Avenue, just to the south of Columbus Circle in New York.
The Hearst Tower is a bit of an oddity, a traditional 1928 stone building to which a 46-story glass tower was added by architect Norman Foster. The building is the HQ of the Hearst empire, founded by William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate fictionalised by Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane.
The dockside, where Parker practices his skateboard moves and starts to learn a few spider manoeuvres is the dock at San Pedro, south of Los Angeles.
It’s south to Lower Manhattan to find the NYPD HQ out of which Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) operates. This is the New York branch of the National Museum Of The American Indian – formerly the Old Customs House – 1 Bowling Green at Broadway, a grand building familiar from The Godfather Part II, Batman Forever, Big Daddy, The Royal Tenenbaums, Working Girl and Ghostbusters 2.
After webbily nabbing the car thief, vigilante style, Parker takes off on a thrilling chase filmed beneath the arches of the elevated section of Riverside Drive, between 130th and 135th Streets in Harlem, and gets to paraphrase Dustin Hoffman’s famous ad-lib from Midnight Cowboy “I’m swingin’ here!”.
In fact, many of the New York street scenes were filmed on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot in Los Angeles, where more than 1,450 bare windows on the lot were dressed by a team of 18 set dressers, creating fake Starbucks, DKNY, Manolo Blahnik, Sephora, Dean & Deluca and Bed, Bath & Beyond. You can’t say they skimped on detail – keep your eyes peeled for the discarded gum and fake pigeons added for Big Apple authenticity.
The apartment of Capt Stacy and daughter Gwen (Emma Stone) needs no such dressing. It’s on Manhattan’s swanky Upper West Side, at 15 West 81st Street. I don’t know what they pay police captains in New York, but these luxury apartments looking out over the Natural History Museum, entered by an Italian renaissance-style lobby with fountain and marble details, suggest that Internal Affairs might want to take a peek at Capt Stacy’s financial accounts.
It’s on the Williamsburg Bridge over the East River, connecting the Lower East Side Brooklyn, that a mutated Dr Connors tries to prevent Norman Osborne’s lackey Rajit Ratha (Irrfan Khan) from delivering the serum, and Spider-man is forced to rescue a young boy from the dangling and burning car.
The final funeral (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here) is held at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of midtown Los Angeles.
Director Marc Webb allows himself a little homage here to – erm – himself, by recreating the overhead black umbrellas shot from the video to My Chemical Romance’s emo anthem Helena – directed by Marc Webb, and filmed at Immanuel Presbyterian Church.
Immanuel Presbyterian Church is also mysteriously moved to 'Manhattan' for the wedding of Tom's father in 2008 romcom Made Of Honor.