The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
AMAZING in places, overcooked at others, Marc Webb’s sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man is a generally crowd-pleasing affair that thrives on the ability of leading man Andrew Garfield.
Effortlessly combining a glib, wise-cracking confidence with moments of doubt, confusion and darkness, his Peter Parker matures superbly in this follow-up, with Garfield firmly making the role his own.
When put together with his red hot chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy, The Amazing Spider-Man really does fly and gives the film an emotional resonance that genuinely endears.
There are problems, however, most of which stem from the ongoing need for superhero movies to stick to genre convention and not learn from past mistakes.
Webb’s decision to include three villains means that some characters and stories, almost inevitably, become short-changed. While the added necessity to set up a wider franchise also means the film sometimes feels machine- like.
But in the main, Webb and company do enough to keep things firmly on track, while taking the odd risk that really does pay off.
Story-wise, the film finds Peter Parker (Garfield) juggling his superhero responsibilities with his feelings for Gwen while remaining mindful of her late father’s dying wish to leave her out of his dangerous new world.
At the same time, there’s a Russian gangster nicknamed The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) to contend with, as well as the emergence of a mysterious new villain named Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the return of former childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) to get his head around.
Of this latter trio of new characters, it’s DeHaan’s Osborn (aka The Green Goblin) who is most interesting and the young actor is a suitably engaging presence, bringing more depth and emotional layering than his screentime necessarily allows. He has to rate as another of the sequel’s assets.
Giamatti, for his part, opts for OTT and has fun but is under-employed but Foxx struggles to make his Electro overly memorable despite being granted the biggest presence. His story arc is underwhelming and even unconvincing.
Webb may have done better by building the film around a slow villain (a la The Joker in The Dark Knight, the benchmark for such things) or even Doc Oc in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man sequel.
That said, he does deliver one decent set piece showdown between Spider-Man and Electro in Times Square as well as several other big action sequences to savour, including a climax that is as surprising as it is poignant and even inspired (no matter how emotionally manipulative).
For all of its flaws, therefore, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 still has enough in its armoury to make it worth seeing. And that’s no more than Garfield, especially, deserves for the way he has taken the role and made it his own.
Running time: 138mins
UK Release Date: April 16, 2014,/b>