Peter Parker (Garfield) and Gwen Stacey (Stone) are finding it difficult keeping their relationship and Parker’s extra-curricular web slinging apart. Keeping her out of harm’s way may be easier said than done, especially when Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx), a nerdy underdog who is zapped into Spider-Man’s world after and unfortunate accident with a pool of genetically modified eels.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 combines Spidey’s signature comic-book style quips and cartoony crime fighting with very real themes of heartache, love, and loss. The chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone makes for a beautiful, believable, and very real relationship. Every tender moment between the couple is perfect, it is obvious that both Garfield and Stone are completely comfortable in each other’s company, and the result is magical. You are swept up in this strangely relatable romance between a superhero and his feisty, intelligent, childhood sweetheart, and it is a wonderful experience. These moments are easily the highlight of the movie, which could have so easily been degraded into another GCI fight-scene-fuelled flop. However, outside of this more human aspect of Spider-Man’s story, the movie manages to balance all the stunts and action we expect in a superhero movie with a compelling story line and compelling characters.
That said, the main weakness comes when we look at Spidey’s enemies. Jamie Foxx presents a very strange Electro, the nerd turned obsessive Spider-man fan turned Super-villain just seems downright silly at times, and one can’t help but wonder why the extremely talented Foxx (His fantastic work in Django is a particularly far cry from this supporting Marvel role) took on the part. Foxx not only seems out of place, but his portrayal of this character just seems downright bizarre at times, as he tries and fails to combine human vulnerability with superhuman power. The character of Electro, like all classic Spider-Man villains, begins as a downtrodden loser searching for something more in his life. The story of Max Dillon had so much more potential that Foxx simply seemed to fall short of, and this results in a villain that is neither scary nor relatable.
Similarly, the portrayal of Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) raises a few questions. Throughout the most part of the
film, Peter Parker’s billionaire friend is seen as being somewhat of a victim of an uncaring father and the ownership of a huge corporation, a role that would seem to exceed his maturity level. Harry is rather sickly-looking and weak, with the odd burst of temper tantrum to remind the audience of the 20-year-old’s desperation to find the cure for his slow and eventually fatal genetic disease. This version of Harry Osborn suits Dehaan well, the puzzlement arises when we witness the transformation from angsty playboy to cackling Green Goblin. His appearance and facial expressions are more likely to insight laughter than dread, and this sickly teen with green skin and pointed teeth is a very far cry from Willem Dafoe’s incarnation of the character. (You might be wishing for a return of the widely unpopular ‘Power Ranger’ suit of McGuire’s era!) –It will certainly be interesting to see how the Goblin is developed in his next Amazing Spider-Man appearance.
Don’t let the baddies put you off, this is a film that makes up for those flaws with breath-taking effects, excellently choreographed fight scenes, perfectly timed humour, and wonderfully tender romance. The great script is interpreted without fault by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It fulfils the needs of the hard-core comic fan with that signature superhero lore and action, whilst creating a fantasy world that can easily be entered by the first-time watchers of the Spider-Man franchise. Take the cartoony bad guys with a pinch of salt, and make sure to watch Django afterwards, if only to remind yourself why you liked Jamie Foxx in the first place.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane Dehaan
Director: Marc Webb
Running Time: 142 Minutes
Release Date: 16th April 2014