Posted April 9, 2014 by editor in Film Reviews
 
 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review


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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 picks up almost immediately where the reboot left off – Peter Parker is graduating from high school with his classmate and sweetheart Gwen Stacy, though is constantly at ends about their relationship due to his recurring visions of her fallen father. We see his further strained relationship with Aunt May, and learn more about the mysteries surrounding his parents death.

Enter new characters Harry Osborn, an old friend of Peter’s and the heir to the Oscorp company and fortune – headed by Norman Osborn, though we only see him on his deathbed. We are also introduced to Max Dillon, an electrical engineer at Oscorp who is lost, seeking friendship and recognition again and again.

Following an accident at Oscorp, Dillon undergoes a transformation turning him into the films antagonist – Electro. This, coupled with Harry Osborn’s new-found hate for Spider-man, provide the villains of the piece who Spider-man must triumph over to save his beloved New York City, where he is relishing the role of protector.

The film is filled with stellar performances, most notably the chemistry between the lead Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Garfield epitomises Spider-Man in this film, the perfect incarnation. His delivery of characteristic dead-pan lines is stellar, his movement as the titular hero and iconic poses are taken straight from the source material. His new found confidence in his now-honed abilities is easy to see, but he hasn’t lost sight of it all. He is still a down to earth hero, taking time to help a kid being apprehended by bullies.

His Peter Parker is also near perfect, holding the fort as the cool, awkward, yet lovable kid who is in the relationship of his life. And Stone’s Gwen Stacy is something to be admired. Not content with sharing Peter with Spider-Man, the two break up again and again due to the fact that they seem like kindred spirits, enjoying each others company as much as any couple do.

It is this relationship which drives the film, and one which is heavily relied on it must be said. Director Marc Webb is clearly more comfortable with these scenes, but the ‘will they, won’t they’ never seems over embellished.

Dane Dehaan stands out as Harry Osborn; a creepy and scary vision of the character. His dire need for Spider-man’s help are such that, anyone with the means, would carry out. Without Spider-man’s help, Harry will die. There are no two ways about it. But the result is catastrophic.

Foxx’s Electro is a weak link in the film, his sudden anger at a hero he once worshipped seem like the writers cut a few corners to get there in such quick succession. And while Electro is a formidable enemy, one which would strike terror into anyone’s eyes, he just doesn’t seem like he would have the menace that he evokes though the final acts of this film. He is a victim of circumstance, and for such a smart character you think he would know this.

But this is only a small chink in the armour of this film. Visually, it’s stunning. Never has Spider-Man looked so balletic in his web-slinging, and these moments are what 3D was built for. The music throughout was increasingly original as the film went on – each major character nearly having it’s own cue. Electro’s was particularly devilish and in keeping with the character, just listen to the lyrics as they are played in the background.

And Webb’s vision of the Spider Sense is one we haven’t seen before, and it truly shows us how such a power could work. Everything is slowed to a beat, and we see how Spider-Man uses this to his advantage. The scene in Times Square, where we first encounter Electro, is a perfect example of this.

And this film never feels cluttered with villains, which many felt could be it’s undoing. Paul Giamati’s Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino is a cameo at best, regardless what the posters and trailers may make you think. Norman Osbourne, who many will know as the Green Goblin from the comics/previous films, is only in this film momentarily. Which really only leaves Electro and Harry Osborn, who does assume the role of the Green Goblin for the final act, but again only for a brief moment.

While Harry’s villainous nature is seen throughout the film, his demeanour only shifts in the final half hour. And, in a film that is 142 minutes long, that’s really only a fraction of the time.

But this film doesn’t necessarily focus on the villains. The primary focus does seem to be the relationship between Peter and Gwen, and this truly is the driving factor of the picture. It doesn’t miss a beat, as the two leads deliver prime examples of how such a relationship should be portrayed.

Despite a handful of gripes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t let up. The drama never feels strained, the sequences look sublime and the performances by the cast are generally superb. Marc Webb has delivered a fitting sequel to a much loved franchise, effectively distinguished his run of films from the previous, featuring a multitude of memorable scenes and performances. Not to mention, the teases throughout this film leave a lot to the imagination for what’s to follow. It could go anywhere next.

4 Stars

 

 

Chris Droney

 

 


editor