Spidey returns in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and under the guidance of director Marc Webb it is bigger, and bolder, than ever. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both return following the success of the 2012 re-boot, with Spider-Man now facing not one, but two, supervillians in the shape of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) in this action-packed sequel.
Poor ol’ Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), the guy has a lot on his plate. Still looking for answers as to why his parents abandoned him, and now haunted by the promise he made to his girlfriend Gwen’s (Emma Stone) dead dad, Captain Stacy (Denis Leary), about keeping her away from all the Spidey-related mayhem, he is a troubled soul. Never mind trying to keep an entire city safe, and you know, graduating from high school, Peter’s life is pretty darn hectic. Just to add to the the young man’s troubles, his father’s old company, Oscorp, are up to no good again – helping to produce Spider-Man’s latest two enemies: Electro and the Green Goblin.
Webb said that this film allowed him the chance to unleash upon the world his ‘inner Michael Bay’. Three words that will have sent shivers down the spines of millions, but if you look at it objectively, you can tell what he meant by that comment. The movie is more ‘Bay-ish’, and, surprisingly, in this instance, it is not meant as a criticism. This, more so than the sequel, fits the typical blockbuster mold. It is big, bold, somewhat over-the-top and, essentially, there is a hell of a lot going on. It all looks great, with Spider-Man spectacularly flinging around between high-rising buildings, Webb taking his love of slow-motion to the extreme, and, which is a rarity, the movie does not look half-bad in 3D either.
What made the first film so impressive was that, despite all its artistry and style, it still retained a soul. Spider-Man’s humour, a long with the thoroughly believable emotional connection Garfield and Stone held, made for an extremely strong showing. The sequel, despite going bigger, still retains some of that heart, but the biggest criticism you can aim at Webb is that he has simply tried to bite off more than he can, in a two hour and twenty minute running time, chew.
The humour and charm is still there – if not seeming a little forced this time around – as is the clear chemistry between Peter and Gwen. But the two new villains, both impressive in their own right, seemed underused and underdeveloped. Jamie Fox’s Electro, the alter-ego of Oscorp worker Max Dillon, and Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn/Green Goblin, are both built up as lonely men striving to be noticed in the world. There was a real sinister feel to both characters, especially DeHaan’s, that was very creepy, yet you never really felt you saw enough of them – an issue you hope, in the Green Goblin’s case, is put right in the next installment of the franchise.
Flawed but entertaining, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a thoroughly enjoyable watch. There is too much going on, but its fast-paced action sequences and Spidey charm should keep the average punter more than happy.