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Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Review


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an interesting exercise. People have already seen Spider-Man movies done, and you can only distance yourself so far from the original trilogy (already awfully close to the source material) until you become something else altogether...how can you make that better?

It seems director Marc Webb knows where to start: Spider-Man himself. Or at least, his alter-ego.

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) seems to have it good in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He's fully embraced his superheroic role as Spider-Man and he's madly in love with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). But the mystery of his parents' disappearance still hangs over his head, and he's determined to get to the bottom of it. With the appearance of a new threat in the form of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and his best friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returning with a few secrets of his own, all roads lead to one place: Oscorp.


Like a spider's web, everything's connected in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as the mystery of Peter's past ties into everything we know about his life so far. Unfortunately, it takes a toll on the movie's focus as it juggles and jumps onto so many plot points that it muddles the already murky waters being treaded by this reboot. The movie spends an awful lot of time making the obvious connections between Oscorp and Peter's parents that by the time of the big revelation, it becomes underwhelming that not even Garfield's charm can make us care about it.

Even Harry Osborn himself is a casualty of this mystery, his role feeling almost tacked on as an afterthought. His eventual transformation as Spidey's arch-nemesis feels corny and rushed, and it's disappointing that a talent like DeHaan's is relegated to horror make up, an annoying laugh, and criminally short screen time.  Jamie Foxx's Electro fared better, though, with a cool design and an even cooler display of powers that give Spider-Man the sort of challenge that definitely puts him in a whole lot of danger and pain, even if he's reduced to a one-dimensional final boss for Spider-Man to beat.


With enemies of this caliber, we get twice the Spidey action this time around.  The Amazing Spider-Man thwips and zips around the movie in copious amounts, and the added bonus of spectacular first-person views is sure to rock the faces of any comic book fan (I know it did mine!). The action scenes in particular are dazzling displays of superheroic athletics that will, quite literally, keep you on the edge of your seat! If you've ever wanted to know how it feels to be Spider-Man (minus the sucky life), your dream comes true right now.


But amidst the darkness and the pain, at the heart of the movie is Peter Parker, who has grown into a deeper, more complex character thanks in no small part to the dramatic chops of Andrew Garfield. He comfortably carries the emotional weight needed to portray a Peter Parker torn between his personal happiness, his heroic responsibility, and his thirst to uncover the truth of his past. Garfield make's Peter's pain palpable, believable, and his excitement for being a superhero infectious, and it rubs off on his co-stars too. It's electrifying to watch.

And it's not because of Electro. The highlight of the film is the sizzling chemistry of Peter and Gwen, with Garfield's arresting smile and Stone's flirty looks sending sparks flying at you whenever they're on-screen. It feels so natural that you can't help but root for them both and, if you're a fan of the Spider-Man comics,  dread about what's going to happen next.


All in all, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a fun and hopeful movie under all that dark and heavy. This may not have been the Spider-Man movie we wanted, but it gave us the Spider-Man we needed. With lots of action, lots of heart, and a Spider-Man you and I can finally relate to, the latest installment in The Amazing Spider-Man movie franchise wins more than it loses.

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in theaters now.

3 comments:

  1. Watched this the other night and IT WAS AMAZING!

    - A.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The kind of start to summer I need, with fun and excitement all over. Good review George.

    ReplyDelete

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