No spoilers in the following article surrounding plot!
One of the biggest movies of the summer is finally here! Spider-Man web slings into action in one his best films yet. The sequel makes way for Andrew Garfield’s second performance as Peter Parker and the neighborhood friendly ‘Web Head’. Emma Stone returns as his loving and blonde brainy Gwen Stacy. Returning from the first film in the series, The Amazing Spider-Man, is Sally Fields as Aunt May.
New to the cast is a whole slew of actors looking to wreak havoc in the city of New York. Paul Giamatti is one of the many to join the series and abrasively begins the film in a ravenous demeanor. He portrays Aleksei Sytsevich, a Russian mobster stealing a truckload of explosives from Oscorp. Aleksei ends up becoming quite the villain down the road. If you have paid any attention to the previews he does become Rhino, yet that is no surprise.
Also new to the cast is Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon a.k.a. Electro. Foxx creates the character of Dillon and perfectly paints his issues for the audience. Though it is his scenes as Electro that truly electrifies (yes, pun intended!). A delusional, broken villain raging for his own importance lays waste to all who stand in his way. Each and every scene with Jamie Foxx allows for his excellent performance.
Chronicle alum, Dane DaHaan, returns to New York to help with his lineage as the son to Norman Osborn, Harry. At every turn forces are working against him, whether physical or external, a deranged sensation flows freely as you can see his time away from home has damaged him. DeHaan sheds new light on the character not seen since the Spider-Man cartoons and comics.
Colm Feore and Felicity Jones enter the Spider-Man universe. Feore (Thor) plays Donald Menken, a major employee of Oscorp embroiled into deeper projects between Harry and Norman. Jones plays Norman and Harry’s assistant, Felicia. Not sure if the name is merely a nod to more or coincidence. B.J. Novak (The Office) shows up in a minor role as Alistair Smythe. This role will most certainly play bigger into the future of the series.
At the root of all of the issues is Peter Parker. Garfield remains the witty now post high school graduate ready to stop crime. In this outing compared to the first film, Garfield (and/or writers) seems to found a happy medium of wit to emotion. Everything surely cannot be happy go lucky for the web slinging hero and certainly is not in this film. Spider-Man gets knocked around, but it is his alter ego that takes more of the punishment. From his mother-son relationship with Aunt May to his loving passion for Gwen, he is tested by himself and his shocking villains.
The relationships Peter encounter with Gwen and Aunt May are intriguing and well executed. The distance between Peter and Harry I strained, due to roughly ten years since they last seen one another, works well for the story. Only question is how did they truly become friends aside from their fathers being partners? It feels like a rather odd relationship to begin with Harry ‘slumming’ it, though the friendship has been there no matter what.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 excels and defuses at the root of the villains. Many believed that three villains were too many and revisited Spider-Man 3 as prime example. Yes, Spider-Man 3 had its flaws, but this is no such film. Three villains may be in the film, though two only take center stage. Rhino (Giamatti) plays a minor role truly only to set up future appearances. Electro and Green Goblin are the two villains who pose the threats to not only Spider-Man and Peter Parker, but New York City. What could have been better executed is allowing Electro to flourish more as the main villain rather than become a minion for Goblin. Plus each villain needed a bit more screen time to reach full potential, which neither did.
The other bright spot is the film’s score. Hans Zimmer (Inception) brings a crew, The Magnificent Six, to help master the ambiance. The musical genius that Hans is used Pharrell Williams to vocalize several tracks while making the score electric. Max Dillon’s theme is spot on and creates the perfectly awkward tones. Hans then proceeds to raises the stakes by scorching Dillon’s clarinet theme with synthesizers, guitar, and a dubstep mask to produce a charged villainous rage. The score fits the themes and styles quite well while the overall Spider-Man theme is a bit underwhelming. Though surprising the hero theme may not live up to The Dark Knight’s thunderous bang, it does capture the whimsical overall tone of Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is surprising entertaining and nearly wipes away the mess of the first installment showcased. Definitely see the sequel!
The Amazing Spider-Man garners 4 out of 5!