Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Title: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Director: Marc Webb

Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, etc.

Everyone’s favorite web-slinger is back at it again, this time with more villains, more action, more everything, really, and the results are, well… Average.

Following the events of the first Amazing Spider-Man (naturally), Peter Parker (Garfield) is at his peak, doing what he does best, saving New York from all forms of villainy, though he finds himself tormented with his desire to protect his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and discover his parent’s true motives for leaving him behind. The emergence of the powerful enemy Electro (Foxx) and the plight of his friend Harry Osborn (DeHaan), further push Peter to his limits, and the movie chronicles his struggle to do good.

Garfield, who practically oozes charisma, is easily the strongest point of the film. He plays the Spider-Man character with such a likeable, smart aleck attitude, and manages to maintain a strong dose of humanity, iced with teenage angst that makes the character as well-rounded as its ever been on film. And the chemistry between him and Stone is as clear as the eye can see. One can’t help but crack a smile whenever the two are onscreen.

Where the film really looses some of its footing is its villains. It contains three major Spider-Man villains, or two I should say, as Paul Giamatti’s less-than-stellar portrayal of “The Rhino” is on screen for a total of probably 5 minutes and serves as nothing more than a place-holder. Foxx does a passable job as Electro, what could be consider the main adversary for the film, though his motives and backstory are so bare-bones and cliche, its hardly eye-catching. Dehaan’s portrayal of Harry Osborn, and later “The Green Goblin” is the strongest of the villainous performances, but his appearance is very short, and serves more to set up future Spider-Man films than to carry this one, which is a shame, because he could have easily done so. It’s this lack of balance that causes the film to suffer some.

Director Marc Webb’s first foray into the rebooting of the Spider-Man character showed just how comic book-esque a film could get. This time around, everything is vamped up to a new tier. The film is extremely colorful and stylized, with frantic action scenes (along with occasionally excessive slow-mo) that range from exciting and fun, to the isolated eye-roller.

In all, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a fun flick, carried by its strong leads and hindered by its uneven supporting cast. The potential for an absolutely amazing film is definitely there; I found myself thinking in the opening ten minutes that Sony’s Marvel-seperate property really has space to grow, and make use of its full potential. No doubt they are aware of it, as multiple sequels are already in the works. For now, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 works as an average superhero action amongst a summer already full of heavy-hitters. Whether this franchise can reach Marvel Cinematic Universe stature is not yet clear, but it’s certainly a possibility.

My Rating:

3/4

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