Approx. Run Time: 140 Minutes
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan
Another summer, another franchise, another blockbuster, and so May begins. This time the Web Head is back once again. Spider-Man returns in The Amazing Spider-man 2. Spider-man was one of my favorite superheroes growing up, I’d watch the cartoon every Saturday and I really enjoyed it. Spider-man is probably Batman’s biggest rival in the rogues department: Shocker, Scorpion, Rhino, Mysterio, Chameleon, Hobgoblin, Electro, and Kraven are just a few of the memorable foes the Wall-crawler would face. I enjoyed all of them and their larger than life personalities. That’s really been one of the highpoints of Marc Webb’s take on the character, as he hasn’t gone with the major foes typically put with Spidey. In the Amazing Spider-man we got Dr. Curt Connors AKA The Lizard, and this go around we get Max Dillon as Electro, with a dash of Green Goblin and a pinch of Rhino. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
The new entry in the franchise kicks off on Peter Parker (Garfield) and Gwen Stacy’s (Emma Stone) graduation day. Peter is late to the shindig as he has a little run in with a Russian heavy, but he swings by the ceremony just in the nick of time. Pete’s life has only become more hectic and chaotic in his time as Spider-man. He also struggles daily with the promise he made to Captain Stacy before he died, about staying away from Gwen to keep her out of harm’s way. On top of all of this drama, Peter is still trying to figure out what exactly happened to his parents. If this isn’t enough he also has to fight off an electrically charged, misunderstood Max Dillon (Foxx), deal with the return of the prodigal Harry Osborne (DeHaan), and still make it home to take care of Aunt May (Sally Fields).
I had a lot of doubts and fears going into this entry in the franchise. The rumored number of villains was very disturbing, especially in the aftermath of Spider-man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand, both of which suffered from character oversaturation. However, Marc Webb weaves a decent narrative that doesn’t allow too many ends to become tangled. He balances the characters that he introduces fairly well, and essentially lays the groundwork for future films. The film does seem to feel a bit congested about halfway through as it deals with quite a few different subplots, several of which could have been easily cut. The other major drawback is the confused tone of the film. Many times throughout it is very tongue-and-cheek, remembers its comic routes, and hams it up. At other points, it becomes very dark and brooding and it does a good job evoking emotional responses. Yet, it goes back and forth quite a bit, and only finds the perfect median a handful of times.
I do have to applaud the action sequences, especially the battles between Spidey and Electro and Spidey and Goblin. The fight sequences between Spidey and Electro are major highlights of the film for me. They do some fun stuff and really play with the characters powers and that meshes well. Foxx does a good job playing the timid, doormat Max Dillion who embarks on an emotional rollercoaster as he struggles with his own newfound powers and role. The rest of the cast are top solid. Emma Stone is charming as always. I think I like Garfield as Spider-man more than as Peter Parker. The same goes for DeHaan who has quite a time once he goes Goblin. A couple of small supporting roles from B.J. Novak and Chris Cooper are also quite excellent and should prove to be quite interesting down the road. The already confirmed Sinister Six film is sure to spark much conversation about who will appear where and how. This film gives us at least two members of that team, and hints at several others.
While not on the level of its contemporary The Winter Soldier, I’d have to say that this Spidey film is at the upper-middle tier of the Comic Book Cinema Spectrum. It certainly outshines other recent comic films, most notably the atrocious Thor 2, but it is definitely not in the top ten Marvel adaptations conversation. If you’re a Spidey-fan or action fan, I’d suggest going out to give it a look. If you weren’t a fan of The Amazing Spider-man then you can probably just stay at home… Or go watch Winter Soldier, always leave that as an option.