Main Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release Date: Thursday, 17 April 2014
Running Time: 142 Mins
Stephen A. Russell says:
Sony’s Columbia Pictures raised more than a few eyebrows back in 2012 when it rebooted the web-slinging franchise that had failed so spectacularly on the final hurdle only five years previously, with the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man 3, collapsing in on itself under the weight of far too many villains and CGI overload.
Any reservations over The Amazing Spider-Man soon dissipated largely thanks to director Marc Webb’s inspired decision to cast the charismatically goofy Andrew Garfield, fresh from The Social Network, alongside the equally fantastic Emma Stone as Peter Parker’s high school sweetheart Gwen Stacy. Garfield was a much more convincing Parker than Tobey Maguire, smart but awkward and not so steroid-buff. The chemistry between the new couple was sizzling, with Stone magnetic as the savvy, intelligent Stacy who provided a rock for the young superhero.
While events may have been a bit fluffier than at least the first two instalments of the previous trilogy, with Rhys Ifans an odd choice to play the crazed and eventually mutated scientist Dr. Curt Connor, aka the Lizard, it balanced the teen angst with high adventure successfully. Dennis Leary provided great dramatic tension as Stacy’s dad, unhappy at her dalliance with a costumed vigilante and the subsequent danger that put her in the line of fire. Webb’s back in the spidey seat for the sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, in a mostly successful second outing for Garfield and co, if a little underwhelming overall.
Drawn from the comics, the secret behind the disappearance of Parker’s parents gets a very SHIELD-like pseudo-Bond opening sequence that’s not entirely successfully tied into the main events of the film, but does at least broaden the scope of the story.
As before, all roads lead to the ominous edifice that is Oscorp HQ, and Dane DeHaan does a very nice job of the bitterly ailing Harry Osborn’s slide toward a dark green future, with the script, penned by a battalion of writers led by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinker, tying this fall much more closely to Spidey’s origin and better defining Osborn’s ultimate hatred of Peter.
Though it gets a bit silly, there are welcome shades of grey to the villains here, even if, with foreshadowing of the upcoming Sinister Six movie, we’re back in dangerous triple baddy territory. Jamie Foxx does good work on the tragic fall of lonely Max Dillon, who is transformed accidentally into the dangerously out of control Electro, threatening New York City with deep fried citizens, blotting out all the lights and playing some retro electro to boot. Paul Giamatti has less time to set up one more bad guy.
Again, is this offering really all that original? Probably not, but at least there are enough twists on the tale to keep things fresh enough. Many will love the audio-visual assault of CGI on show here, but for my tastes it’s a little too much mess and noise, and overly cartoony compared to the recent Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Sally Field still doesn’t quite ring true as Aunt May for me and despite a handful of stonily unimpressed looks from Leary, and a few flashbacks, his presence is lacking here, particularly at a crucial juncture that doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s left to Garfield and Stone to do the heavy lifting that ensure this is good popcorn fare, if nothing overtly amazing.
Rotten Tomatoes says: 78% – “Thanks to Marc Webb’s confident directing and talented cast, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 entertains in spite of its crowded canvas and occasionally stilted narrative.”
The Telegraph says: “The thing is, all the electricity Webb needs is right before him, in the continued perfect match of his leads…Peter and Gwen know they should break up, and keep trying to, but you can’t pretend away chemistry like theirs – it’s an atomic fact. They light the film up with a sparkle and sadness it couldn’t live without.”
See it: With a huge box of popcorn on a rainy Friday night.
Kids? Evil villains and fast-paced action with confuse and scare those under 12.