It has been two years since Marvel Studios released its first installment of the Spiderman reboot, and now Peter Parker is swinging back into action to save the people of New York City in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Sally Fields return and are joined by newcomers Jamie Foxx as the predominant villain Electro and Dane DeHaan as Parker's childhood friend Harry Osbourne.
The film takes place a couple of years after the first, with Peter and Gwen graduating high school. Peter is still working as a photographer for the Daily Bugle, Gwen is in line for an Oxford scholarship, and Aunt May is training to be a nurse to make ends meet after Uncle Ben’s death.
The movie starts with an expected amount of action but soon follows with moments of somberness and light humor. It features surprising emotional depth; it is not forgotten that Peter is still haunted by his parents abandonment (their story is expounded upon) and continues to search for his purpose while Aunt May struggles as a widow and sole caretaker to her grandson. In addition, Peter continues to see apparitions of Gwen’s father who made him promise to leave his daughter alone shortly before passing in the first film; a promise he has been unable to keep.
Ultimately, guilt leads Peter to break up with Gwen and their relationship becomes a roller coaster, but the film intelligently knows not to mull over the lulls of breaking up for too long. Eventually Jamie Foxx enters the picture of an electrician at Oscorp. He is seen as a nobody and is quite possibly the biggest Spiderman fan. However a lab accident turns him into Electro and he becomes drunken with notability, seeking to destroy Spiderman for selfishly absorbing fame.
Dane DeHaan successfully brings a darker shade to Harry Osbourne, more so than James Franco’s golden boy interpretation in the original trilogy. Osbourne reconnects with Parker after the death of the former’s father, however is plagued by a family illness that leads him to ask Peter favors that quickly strain their newly rekindled friendship.
The cartoonish action sequences, cheesy digital effects of Electro, and constant slow motion scenes are a bit over the top and quickly become tiresome, however they do make good use of the 3D format. However, the amount of comedy featured in the film substantially more so than in the first adaption as well as the dynamite chemistry between Garfield and Stone, made palpable by their fine performances compensate for this traditional superhero film flaw.
Garfield brings a refreshing level of intelligence and wit to Spiderman, making him the boyish hero we love from the comics while Stone makes Gwen Stacy even more intelligent, while remaining charming and elegant. The banter between the two may seem a little frequent as you progress through the film but by the end you will come to appreciate it. They create a sense intimacy that Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst were never able to master in the original trilogy.
At 142 minutes long, The Amazing Spiderman 2 flies by with a good pace. With Mark Webb’s bold directing and a talented cast that makes due with the sometimes stunted screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner; it is a thoroughly enjoyable film appropriate for anyone looking for a nice popcorn film or something to see with their kids. While is doesn’t feature any innovations in the genre I was grateful that there was no mysterious beam shot into the sky or Earth core.
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