Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Following the 2012 reboot of the popular Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 brings back the webbed superhero for more family secrets and more web-swinging action. With all new enemies, outfits, and girl troubles, Peter Parker returns to battle his greatest challenge yet: Keeping Sony's Spider-Man franchise afloat with as many movies as possible.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues to fight as the web-slinging Spider-Man, while still in search of his family's darkest secrets. Also on his mind is keeping his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) out of harm's way in a dangerous crime-filled city. When Peter begins to receive haunting visits from Gwen's dead father (Denis Leary), he soon realizes that he must consider Gwen's life in their relationship. With a lot on his mind, Peter feels conflicted with his relationship and also his family, but the major conflicts are only just beginning. When an awkward Spidey-fanatic Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) brings chaos to the streets of New York, Peter must intervene before his city is destroyed and the ones he loves most are hurt. The explosive action and intriguing mystery surrounding Peter only escalates from there as he must face his deadliest opponents yet, some being the people Peter trusted the most.
Well, I must admit that the return of Spidey was a very exciting thrill-ride. With more complex villains and deeper story-lines, director Marc Webb knows how to continue a decent Spider-Man franchise with a boom. Returning from the 2012 reboot, Webb delivers the audience a new Spidey suit (which looked much better), more insight into Peter Parker's dark past (which was actually done pretty well in the film), and a lot more action (which is essential to get the fanboys in the theaters). Doing this, Webb has created a much more diverse and expanded Spider-Man universe, bringing in elements and characters from the comics in a good way so far (I won't mention Rhino yet). In my opinion, this was the best Spidey film we've had to date, not going so far with its characters like in Spider-Man 3, and going deeper into Peter's past with his parents and Oscorp. With this film, I think Webb did an excellent job at igniting a more expanded universe for the wall-crawler and his vast opponents and allies.
So far this year, Marvel Studios has brought one amazing Captain America sequel, and promised us about three more superhero films, some with mutant abilities, some from space, and some that shrink down to the size of an ant. If you're a Marvel fan, or even a comic fan, you know who these films are center around. That being said, Marvel clearly has a lot in store for the big screen in the future, following its already massive set of films from Iron Man to The Avengers. You could say Marvel has a thing for expansion, now wanting to expand the Spidey-verse much more than Sam Raimi's franchise did. With that in mind, Marvel hopes to use this new franchise to set up for even more Spider-Man films, and even some spin-offs focused on Spidey's symbiotic fiend Venom, and the villain team of the Sinister Six. If done right, this should be able to bring Spidey and his foes to the ranks of The Avengers, and maybe we would see the web-head fight alongside Iron Man one day. But, with Sony's and Disney's Marvel universes separated, Spidey will just have to fight on his own for now. Hopefully, with all these massive expansions into outer space and into more ranges of comic characters, Marvel can bring the audience everything they ask for in these new films.
Back to the film at hand, the cast of the newest Spidey film is good, but nothing to scream in joy about. Leading the cast is the awkward teen superhero Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield. While he does play a good Parker, I was never really that convinced of his role, as much as I was of Tobey Maquire back in 2002 (even if he cried too much). Garfield gives off a good charismatic charm, but I've always thought of Peter Parker as the nerdy kid who struggles to get the girl, not the kid who gets the girl right off the bat. However, I prefer Garfield over anyone else for the reboot, because he does have a good sense of humor and can act pretty well as a nervous teen with superpowers.
The rest of the cast, mostly the villains, brought a lot to the roles they played, especially Dane DaHaan, who played a moody, deep voiced Harry Osborn, showing somewhat contrast to James Franco's Harry in Raimi's trilogy. I really liked how DeHaan played Harry, making him kind of a jerk in the beginning, with small amounts of compassion, leading to his major downfall when he becomes the Green Goblin. As much as I didn't want them to rehash the Green Goblin (after one creepy masked one and one bland one in Raimi's films), DeHaan owned the role as he brought his villainous chops from 2012's Chronicle and applied them to tackle this role. In the future, I'd like to see more of his character and his evil ways. Next on the villain list, is the blue-man Electro, played by Jamie Foxx. While he did play a convincing Spidey fan-turned hater with a "glowing" personality, I didn't really think Foxx was fit for the role as much as I would have liked. However, the visual effects of his character were surprisingly amazing, stepping away from the cheesy green and yellow comic outfit, and going with a sleek black-clad look with the radiating features of his electric skin.
As for Peter's love interest Gwen, played by Emma Stone, nothing extraordinary made me dislike her character, as she played a good love interest in a relationship conflicted by the two of them and their life choices. With the two, Garfield and Stone, dating in real life, their chemistry was apparent on-screen, making it even more sad when conflicts arose among them. Last, and surely least, is the Russian mobster-turned robot rhino Aleksei Sytsevich, played by Paul Giamatti. Giamatti, who always plays the oddest of characters, definitely brought some oddness to this character as well, starting off the film as a Russian mobster out for some rare plutonium, and ending the film as one of Spidey's most formidable foes: The Rhino. As a first impression, I didn't feel that confident that Webb had done Rhino justice in this film, his role basically being laughable and unneeded. But as the film neared its end, and we saw out first shot of Rhino in action, I felt more confident that Marc Webb was only scratching the surface with the character, and with a possible Sinister Six film on the way, Rhino would be explored even more on-screen.
Well, if you're still awake after all that, we're nearing the end. Overall, this film was a pretty good sequel to a decent reboot, bringing in fan-favorite characters, a new comic-like suit for Spidey, and a more detailed look into Peter Parker's past. I thought the cinematography, music, and action fit the movie perfectly, and offered the audience a cooler look into how a Spider-Man film should be done. If you're a fan of the comics, or even if you're not, you'll enjoy this film partly for its love story, but mostly for its intense action and mystery.
I gave this film an 7 out of 10 because of its great action scenes and visuals, its amazing score by the best composer Hans Zimmer (and Pharrell Williams too?), and its decent character development, that may still need some work.