The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Review

Image from: http://www.businessinsider.com
The 2012 re-boot, The Amazing Spider-Man or rather The Barely Passable Spider-Man, was not a great picture. Whilst at the time of release I found things to like, on a more recent viewing there seemed to be a lot more that I didn’t.
So it was with trepidation that I went into a showing of the film’s sequel; the cleverly titled The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Needless trepidation, it would seem, as this installment trumps its limp predecessor and all three Sam Raimi films (something I didn’t think possible).
Perhaps it was nerves or the dreaded studio involvement that made the first film not work, but everyone seems to have come into their own with this bigger and better sequel.
With the opening ten minutes it’s already an improvement on the first, treating us to a brilliant set piece that takes place on a plane and gives us some backstory on Peter Parker’s absent parents.

During the opening sequence, which sets up the films central theme of loss, it becomes patently clear that this time around the story is in the hands of great writers. It’s no surprise to find then that previous writer James Vanderbilt has been switched out for blockbuster gurus Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. They’ve been responsible for the good (Star Trek) and the bad (Transformers) summer actioners in recent years and it’s their understanding of the balance between story and action that really elevate this film.

There are moments where it comes dangerously close to Batman-and-Robin-level campness, due to the hammy performances from Jamie Foxx as lead villian Electro, and to a lesser extent, Paul Giamatti as Rhino. There’s even an appearance from an evil German doctor, which is so tongue-in-cheek that it actually works amongst the lighter tone and sense of fun that runs throughout.

It is a very angst-y superhero movie, and I feel that the whole teen, will-they-won’t-they stuff does bring the film down slightly, and these scenes make the film feel longer than it should be. Some of it is relevant, however, and raises the stakes in preparation for a thrilling conclusion.

The rapport between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey is partly why The Amazing Spiderman 2 works as well as it does. Both of them seem a lot more at ease in their prospective roles, and Garfield is a much more believable Spider-Man this time around. The obvious real-life chemistry the two share is used to great effect.

The set pieces are great, the visuals are crisp and bright (providing you don’t see it in 3D), and there’s a level of fun that makes The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a very successful and enjoyable example of the summer blockbuster at its best.

 

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