Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“I like to think Spider-Man gives people hope,” says Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) to his on-again off-again girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in the action movie sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theaters on May 2, 2014.
Peter Parker loves his costumed alter-ego Spider-Man and all of his superhero/crime-fighting abilities, soaring above the big skyscrapers in New York, chasing criminals and leaving them caught in one of his webs for the police to arrest. The one thing he can’t seem to shake is seeing Gwen’s dead father almost every time he’s with her. He’s haunted by the fact they he went back on his word that he would stay away from Gwen to keep her safe from his enemies. This is causing serious strain on their already uneven relationship.
Meanwhile, one of Spider-Man’s biggest fans, engineer/electrician Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) – who was saved by the web-slinger from being rundown by on oncoming truck – has a horrible accident at work (the infamous Oscorp company) and becomes the glowing, electricity-surging Electro. Not really understanding what’s happened to him as he walks the streets of Times Square, Electro begins to draw all the energy and electricity to himself. Surrounded by police Electro becomes both scared and angry and begins to use his energy against them when Spidey shows up to save the day as usual.
Life becomes even busier for Peter when his old childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHann) returns to bury his father, Norman (Chris Cooper), and take over the family business. They reconnect and talk about old times – Harry was there for Peter and was his only friend when he lost his parents – but the friendship is doomed to be short-lived as Harry becomes obsessed with finding Spider-Man believing he is the key to a deadly medical condition Harry suffers from. With Harry getting more desperate and constantly bugging Peter to find Spider-Man for him, and Electro threatening the city, Peter knows that he’s about to face the toughest battle yet in his crime-fighting career.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a big improvement over its predecessor and has some thrilling action scenes but suffers from overacting, horrible dialogue, and a cluttered script.
Andrew Garfield is solid as the cocky web-slinger hero who makes wise cracks and funny one-liners to criminals as he fights them. It’s in the role of Peter Parker, however, where he fails to bring to the screen the nice, shy, smart young man who Toby Maguire captured perfectly in the Sam Raimi films. Emma Stone is cute and feisty as Peter’s love interest Gwen and they have real chemistry on screen, but the dialogue written for them is just awful and at times cringe-worthy.
Jamie Foxx delivers a ridiculous, over-the-top performance as both the awkward and nerdy electrician Max Dillon and the power-surging villain Electro. At times it makes the film seem cartoonish.
Another major problem is with the overly busy script which tries to incorporate and tell a love story, birth of a powerful villain, a cloak and dagger mystery revolving around Peter’s parents and Oscorp, the rekindling of an old friendship, and a second even worse villain who shows up in the last 20 minutes of the film. This really ruins the pacing and direction of the movie.
The wonderful use of 3D in the film is its true highlight as audiences are sure to feel as though they are soaring between sky scrapers with Spider-Man and plunging downward toward the cars and streets as Spidey closes in on the bad guys. It’s how 3D should be used in a superhero movie. The action scenes are exhilarating, especially impressive is the Time Square battle between Spider-Man and Electro.
With a likable hero and exciting action but terrible dialogue and too many plot elements, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t the best film in the franchise but it’s not the worst either…it’s right in the middle.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was directed by Marc Webb and is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.
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