Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – 3/5

Director: Marc Webb
Certificate: 12A
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaan, Felicity Jones
Running Time: 142 min
Plot: Itsy bitsy Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) climbs up the water spout, which acts as a conductor for the shockingly painful vengeance inflicted upon him by Electro (Jamie Foxx).

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After an interminable intro that re-addresses the tragic deaths of the Parker parents (something to do with some, um, files?), we close in on Spidey (Andrew Garfield) plummeting in free fall past the New York skyline before slinging effortlessly into action, pirouetting through the air at hair raising velocity as he hunts after Paul Giamatti’s crazed Russian mobster. In the Truck vs 30 NYPD car chase that follows, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks like a comic that has leapt straight out of the page and onto the screen. The environment and the dazzling effects have such a field of depth that you feel almost at one with Spider-Man as he swings and swivels with virtuous aplomb. Watching him work his arachnid magic is genuinely freeing, more than any other iteration of the character (especially Sam Raimi’s) to date.

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Pre-release, many fans were posturing how hard it would be to pull off the treacherous trifecta of main villains Electro, Rhino and Green Goblin all in one film. For the record, director Marc Webb and co. have done a marvellous job of it, and the fluidity with which their individual stories pan out and intertwine bodes well for the Sinister Six film currently in the spin. Music and tone have changed considerably from the first Amazing Spider-Man, with James Horner’s grandiose themes replaced with a more electronic feel – Blue Danube Dubstep? Ok – to fuse with Electro’s high voltage havoc wreaking.

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Action gets top billing in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Web attacks have become an art from; street fights develop into maze-like panoramas of mayhem; for once, the Snyder-ish fetishism of slow-mo is anything other than gratuitous – Marc Webb is a total Watchmen fanboy though, as attested to by a certain transformation scene… Speaking of the aptly named filmmaker, he is without doubt the man for the job: he’s been reading Marvel comics since he could turn a page and thinks nothing of unbuckling his belt to show off his Spidey pants. This affectionate attitude allowed the traditional Parker/Spider-Man humour to reach pun-point perfection, and not just for his character (case in point: Electro (played by a sparkling Jamie Foxx) obliterates the office desk of an Oscorp scumbag, before Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osbourn quips, ‘Looks like the tables have turned’. Z-z-z-zing!). The threesome of screen writing talent didn’t get everything right, however, because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 bears witness to the worst Stan Lee cameo ever.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s (girlfiend Gwen Stacy) pairing in the first of Sony’s Spidey films was cutesy. Now, their scenes together are highly entertaining (and rather disarming), a breath of fresh Central Park air after Toby Maguire’s ‘rescuing Mary Jane’s lunch milk’ seduction techniques.

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As someone who grew up devouring the cartoons on a Saturday morning while chucking action figures about the living room, it’s safe to report that this is the closest a film (or even game) has come to the essence of Spider-Man. Marc Webb has crammed those Spidey sensibilities into one action packed canister of superhero goodness, and the 2 hours and 20 minutes absolutely fly by.

(Do not watch this trailer if you want to avoid spoilers, as it’s pretty damn spoiler-y)

 

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2 comments

  1. A lot of stuff is going on here, but I never had a boring time with it. Maybe if I paid more attention to everything else that was going on, I would have really hated this. Good review.

    1. What do you mean other stuff? Did you think there were too many bad guys?

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