‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ does just enough right to outweigh its overstuffed script
The follow up to director Mark Webb’s reboot to the Spider-Man franchise slings itself into North American theaters this week after already amassing a hearty amount of box office cash overseas. In this outing of the masked web slinger, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has settled into the life of a hero, with all the trappings of fame and glory that can cloud anyone’s judgement included, and despite the warning from the final moments of the first film, is still spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But soon new villains emerge to challenge Peter, the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and his old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan),and they all have seem to connect to Peter’s past and the ominous conglomerate known as Oscorp.
This outing of “The Amazing Spider-Man” is definitely a step up from the previous Mark Webb incarnation, the effects work is crisper and the ‘go pro video’ style incorporate d into the web slinging does a lot to make it feel more realistic, but the film suffers from an overstuffed script that was clearly influenced by the studio. Garfield is still very solid in the role of Peter and Emma Stone is perfect as Gwen, while DeHaan is a very welcome addition as the deluded and angry Harry. Jamie Foxx suffers through his turn as Electro though as the script and design of the effects does him no favors. Electro sports a poorly conceived look that never comes across as menacing, more like a goofy lower budget version of the Watchmen’s Dr Manhattan, and as Electro disappears from the film for long stretches he is not missed.
The film does still manage to pack some fun into its nearly 2 ½ hour run time, the fights are especially rewarding as they finally feel like they capture the essence of the comic book version of spidey, and the set-up leading into the follow up film to feature the Sinister Six leads to an intriguing premise behind that nefarious group. Adding in Paul Giamati’s inclusion and introduction as The Rhino, the film is filled with way too much material here, enough for 2 separate films, but at least the screenwriters found a way to make the multiple villains set up too unbearable, this is much better than the botched Spiderman 3.
Ultimately The Amazing Spider-man 2 is unlikely to create any converts to this reboot of the franchise with this second entry, but the film will make fans of this incarnation happy. The 2 lead performances are the highlight of the film and Garfield gets to show some real emotion in the final act of this film, a very adept adaptation of a now infamous sequence from the comics. The Amazing Spider-man 2 is more like the ‘slightly more than adequate Spider-man’, notable steps below “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, and may be overshadowed by the other big comic book movie still to come in 2014.
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