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'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Movie Review

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2


The main problem with comic book movies these days is that studios want to ensure they make a profit at the box office. This leads to a “throw in everything including the kitchen sink” mentality of filmmaking. For good measure, let’s not just have one villain, let’s have three bad guys. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ feels like an overstuffed blockbuster with too many computer-generated action sequences that ultimately peter out. What saves it from being a complete dud is the chemistry between the two leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Thankfully director Marc Webb is well-versed in the romantic comedy genre. If you haven’t seen his film ‘(500) Days of Summer,’ go rent it. It’s one of the most original romantic comedies ever made.

When Spider-Man swooshes and glides through Manhattan skyscrapers, it’s truly amazing how far special effects have come. At first, it’s cool how he plots his next move with the use of slow-motion. It shows the character actually having fun with his arachnoid powers. Garfield brings a rebellious edge to his performance. He does his best to bring life to the bogged down screenplay written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. These two scribes are no strangers to summer blockbusters. Their writing credits include ‘Transformers’ and ‘Star Trek.’ The film is densely plotted. Peter (Garfield) searches for clues as to why his scientist father (Campbell Scott) and mother (Embeth Davidtz) mysteriously left him to be raised by his Aunt May (Sally Field).

Peter reconnects with his bestfriend Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) after he returns from boarding school. The character of Harry was originally played by James Franco in the Raimi Spider-Man films. DeHaan brings a nice amount of angst to his role as the self-entitled rich kid. When he transforms into the Green Goblin, DeHaan gives the role a gritty tone like a guy strung out on meth . But do we really need a reprise of the green villain again? Although it feels like overkill, the little boys in the audience won’t remember the first Spider-Man trilogy anyway. One of my favorite young actresses Felicity Jones has a bit part as Harry’s assistant named Felicia. If you blink, it’s possible to miss her. The main villain is Max aka Electro (Jamie Foxx). He plays a nerdy engineer at the evil corporation Oscorp that Harry inherits from his deceased father played by Chris Cooper. Willem Dafoe played the scheming researcher in the Raimi films. These two lechers join forces against Spider-Man.

Jamie Foxx is miscast as Electro. He plays an anti-social character desperately seeking friendship. Even with a thinning toupee, it’s difficult to imagine Foxx as a nerd. He has way too much charisma on the screen to buy into it. There is a climactic showdown at a power plant. You’d think the movie was over but no. There is a third bad guy thrown into the mix at the end. Paul Giamatti plays the Russian heavy named Rhino. Giamatti is a talented character actor that gives his villain a comedic edge but it’s unnecessary at this point in the film. You can just picture the studio execs telling Webb to add one last action sequence for good measure. “Too many cooks spoil the broth” is a fitting quote for this disappointing sequel.

There is a sad turn in the climax that will infuriate many fans. It definitely leaves some striking possibilities open for the next sequel. If you take away the explosions and CGI from ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ it's essentially a quirky romantic drama between two likable stars. It would have been more compelling having less special effects and more interaction between Garfield and Stone. Their real-life romance brings a sincere chemistry to the story. Check out the official trailer