Amazing Spider-Man 2, The (2014)
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field
Plot: Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.
Genre: Action / Adventure / Fantasy
Rating: PG13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.
IN RETROSPECT (Spoilers: NO)
“I like to think Spider-Man gives people hope.”
Does this make us want to see a third Spider-Man movie? That is the important question, because it indirectly answers another question: Is the second outing any good? The answer is kinda, you know sort of. In other words, not a resounding yes.
Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and director Marc Webb return to tell another chapter of the webslinger's story, now with more villains in tow. The film does struggle at times to contain its bloatedness, but still under Webb's assured hand, it all manages to stick according to plan.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is very much the product of a planned escapade – it sets up its villains to dominate the screen, it builds a tangible relationship between Peter Parker (Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Stone), and the narrative is written like a series of mini-chapters that I must admit feels like it doesn't know where or how to end.
Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan and Paul Giamatti play the bad guys, though with the exception of Giamatti (whose character is redundant), we do sympathize with them. They become evil not by nature, but by choice in circumstances that simply don't provide them with the luxury of choice.
I particularly like the performance of relative newcomer DeHaan, who I think might become an actor of note in the near future. Foxx is strangely amusing in some ways but he puts on an electrifying show nonetheless.
Speaking of which, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a movie about spark – the spark of electricity as it flourishes and damages lives, even as it leaves a specter of what might have been. Webb's central preoccupation with this thematic treatment is consistently littered throughout the picture, and they work in necessary tandem with the idea of hope.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers on the action count, with some exhilarating sequences that sometimes rely too much on style, especially the use of slow motion. The film feels like it may have run longer than it should, but the pacing works out okay.
While some quarters have criticized the movie's abundant flaws – lack of focus, overdrawn narrative, too many subplots (all interrelated), I personally feel it is not as terrible as it may appear to be. The first installment, The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) was superior and one of the best reboots in recent years, but the sequel lags behind. If this is a race, I am still curious enough to see where the planned third and fourth movies would end up.
Verdict: A mostly enjoyable second outing with the necessary action and thematic treatment.
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