Sunday, May 4

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Dir: Mark Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, and Sally Field

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” ushers in the beginning of the summer movie season where big budget popcorn flicks saturate the box office. Spider-Man has been a standard summer staple for more than a decade; one that composed a trilogy directed by Sam Raimi and, a mere 5 years after the conclusion, respawned a new vision directed by Mark Webb. The first most recent reboot was surprisingly good, Webb focusing more on Peter Parker’s developing responsibility and relationship than comic extravagance. While some of those qualities are still present in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” they are also unfortunately clouded in a film that seems more concerned with future films than the one that’s on display.

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is struggling, both with the responsibilities of his power and risks that are brought to the meaningful relationships in his life, most significantly his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).  Peter is guilt ridden over the death of Gwen’s father (Dennis Leary), so much that he envisions his disapproving figure. Peter is a teenager who is beginning to realize the stress of growing up, albeit one that is life threatening. New York City is at odds with the protective role of Spider-Man but that doesn’t divert dedicated fans like the underappreciated Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx), an Oscorp employee who has an altering accident. Manipulation abounds in Oscorp and Peter must protect the city, and the people he cares for, from a slew of threats.

Relationship is a central theme with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. Webb has a talent for making his characters come alive with conversation, especially with scenes between the two leads and their complicated relationship. The success of Webb’s first film rested with the character building quality, and while initially the tone feels delightfully reminiscent things begin to get cluttered with additional characters and predictable framework storytelling. Webb continues the excellent action flourishes felt in the first installment, the swinging and leaping Spiderman scenes feel like a perfect match for the 3-D element employed. Unfortunately there are distracting tangents and suggestions that serve only a small purpose within the present story being told but rather relate more specifically to the extended future of the Spider-Man franchise and the never ending unfolding arc. The introduction is lengthy, though the examination of Peter’s remorse and subsequent guilt for the death of Gwen Stacy’s father and the unraveling mystery of Peter’s parent’s abandonment is rather interesting. Still, in the first hour, there is also the transformation of a mild mannered man into electricity controlling villain, the reemergence of Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), and the growing complications of Peter’s relationship with Gwen. That’s a significant amount of development even for a film with a running time of 142 minutes.

While the film may be packed to the brim with story, the chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield is great and keeps the film interesting. Dane DeHaan was a pleasant surprise, crafting a menacing attitude as the heir of the conniving Oscorp that makes him the legitimate formidable force against Spider-Man. Jamie Foxx comes off a bit cartoonish, though the franchise and comic is known for over-the-top character flourishes, but there are brief moments were his villain is allowed ample screen time to let Foxx’s performance come to life.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is entertaining for a fun summer blockbuster but it doesn’t offer much more than being an introduction to later films in the expanding franchise.

Monte’s Rating

2.75 out of 5.00

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