I have to tell you that I had absolutely no expectations walking into "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." The trailers and teasers for the movie never pushed any emotional buttons for me. Although Marc Webb's second film in his series was looking to be overstuffed with villains, I never made any negative mental comparisons to Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" because I actually liked it.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is having trouble in his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). The constant reminder of his promise to Gwen's father (Denis Leary) makes it virtually impossible to keep a clear conscience while courting his high school sweetheart. Meanwhile, a timid worker (Jamie Foxx) for OsCorp is transformed into a dangerous electrical force bent on draining New York City of its power and gaining notoriety through his acts of terrorism. The wall crawler also finds himself going head-to-head with both the Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and the Rhino (Paul Giamatti) as they seek to satisfy their own diabolical agendas.
It goes without saying that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" sounds a bit hectic. The biggest question on everyone's mind is if the villains all feel jammed into the movie. The answer is yes AND no. There are times when it feels like the characters were shoe-horned in to make way for the much-talked about "Sinister Six" movie. At other points, everything feels cohesive and not forced. Harry's transformation in particular seems a bit hurried, but not enough to ruin the viewing experience.
I've heard grumblings about "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" being considered nothing more than a gateway or segue way to the "Sinister Six" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 3." I did get that feeling at times. There was an underlying vibe I could compare to "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "Star Wars - Episode II: Attack of the Clones." They existed because they had to in order to bridge the gap between two other pieces of an epic puzzle.
I will say that some of the dialogue and acting in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" lacked. Dane DeHaan seemed a little out of sorts at times with his performance as Harry Osborn. Surprisingly, Jamie Fox did a great job adding humor to his character of Max Dillon/Electro. There were spots where his dialogue veered into corny territory as well. It's hard to blame dialogue problems on anyone but the writers, though.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence. There was also some bad language. If you and your children were fine with the first movie, this is really no different when it comes to content. It gets a little intense at times, but my seven year old handled it well.
As far as sequels are concerned, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" successfully follows up the first chapter with tons of dizzying excitement, romance, and superhero fun. Although it feels a little overloaded at times, in the end it captures the essence of what comic book fans crave. It's a summer blockbuster with intentions of being taken seriously at the same time through elements of human drama and teen angst.