It’s been two years since our favourite underdog Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, turning him into the heroic highflyer – but does ‘The Amazing Spider-man 2’ live up to it’s name?
In the second instalment of Marc Webb’s Marvel reboot we return to our hero after a rather disappointing first outing, as he is living the high life (excuse the pun). Still grieving the death of his Uncle Ben and trying to solve the mystery of his parent’s disappearance, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is now on the edge of manhood as he graduates from Midtown High School. Although he is now universally loved by the citizens of New York for saving the city from a reptilian Dr. Curt Connors – and not to mention, bagging himself his dream girl Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), what would Spider-man be without some inner turmoil?!
Our Pete is plagued with guilt after he promised the late Captain Stacy that he would stay away from his daughter Gwen for her own safety. Now, wherever Peter goes he sees Captain Stacy in his head – constantly reminding him that he has broken his promise. Will he leave Gwen to keep her safe?
Poor Peter can’t dwell on his conscience too long. Meanwhile in downtown Manhattan, an Oscorp employee with no friends and an unhealthy, slightly homoerotic obsession with Spider-man is involved in a horrific accident. Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a human doormat all his life, is electrocuted while trying to fix a problem with wires in Oscorp Tower. His accident turns him into Electro, a human electricity conductor that feeds and grows on all the electrical power around him.
If that wasn’t enough for Peter, his old friend, the rich and privileged Harry Osborn (Dane DaHaan) is back in town to take over Oscorp following the untimely death of his father, Norman. On Norman’s deathbed, Harry learns of his genetic disease that will eventually lead to his demise too. Harry determines that the only thing that can save him is the genetically modified blood of Spider-man.
Harry’s own failed attempt at curing himself turns him into the psychotic Green Goblin. Armed with his father’s glider, a bunch of weapons and taste for blood, Harry teams up with Jamie Foxx’s Electro to squish the spider once and for all.
The Amazing Spider-man 2 is a huge step up from its initial reboot two years ago. In ASM1, we essentially just saw the exact same movie as Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-man, with the exception of Mary Jane Watson being traded in for Gwen Stacy. Now, we see an entire reimagining of Spider-man and the Marvel universe he lives in. While many Spidey fans were sceptical about the casting of titular role (I know I was), the Brit actor Andrew Garfield has proven that Spider-man is still just as relevant now as he was in the Silver Age. Those familiar with the early 2000s version will know that Tobey Maguire played Parker as a squeaky clean science nerd, the classic portrayal that we have been familiar with since the 60s. Alas, it is 2014 and Garfield’s tougher, tech savvy, New York Spidey is more reminiscent of what a teenage boy with actual super powers would act like. Sure, he is still a good guy – but he sure can be a smart ass when he wants to be.
Assembling the cast for a franchise that is so beloved must have been some job, but one that was nailed on the head perfectly. While real life couple Garfield and Stone have perfect chemistry, as expected, something has to be said for the rest of the cast gelling so precisely. Dialogue always seemed natural and never cheesy. Garfield and DeHaan had me convinced that they were regular teenage lads having some banter, while the matriarchal Aunt May (Sally Field) pulled on your heart strings. But how about the villains? Post delirium, DeHaan delivered the eeriest, most sadistic portrayal of Green Goblin, making James Franco’s 2007 portrayal look about as intimidating as Dora the Explorer. While many critics would argue that Foxx’s Electro was far from perfect, he was enough to keep the fans happy thanks to the action packed scenes that surrounded him.
The real stars of the movie however, were the absolutely perfect CGI combined with Hans Zimmer’s distinct score that made this film a visual and sensorial treat. Even those who are not a fan of Spidey will get a kick out of the many POV “swinging through the city” shots that almost put you in the red and blue leotard yourself.
The Amazing Spider-man 2 has struck a perfect balance that most of it’s Marvel siblings (with the exception of The Avengers) has not yet achieved. It’s funny, smart, visually stunning and most of all has heart. With the iconic super villain team the Sinister Six hinted in the closing minutes, it’s likely that the next film will be even better. Bring on The Amazing Spider-man 3!
The Amazing Spider-man 2 is out April 16.
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