The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Movie Review
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 02 May 2014
The sequel to a franchise reboot that few people wanted manages to improve in every way over its predecessor and stand on par with the best of the previous trilogy. With the origin story covered in the prior film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 lets us spend time with these characters in much more interesting and meaningful ways. Andrew Garfield is pitch-perfect as Peter Parker and Spider-Man, managing to be hilarious, adorable and emotional sometimes in a single take. Emma Stone is also solid, though I found her wig to be kind of distracting. Sally Field’s Aunt May gets a pretty powerful emotional scene and finally gets some good scenes. She was wasted in the first movie – here, she steals the most emotional scene of the movie award. The scene is powerful because of the chemistry between Field and Garfield whose characters are closer to a mother/son relationship than an aunt/nephew.
Many people, myself included, were concerned with the number of characters in the movie. Spider-Man 3, widely considered the worst of the Sam Raimi trilogy is largely unraveled by having too many villains without enough screen time to really get to know any of them. Here, the characters are used more sparingly in episodic form so that they aren’t a constant part of the plot thread. This is an impressive feat considering there are three villains – New Goblin, Rhino and Electro. Of these, we get an elongated origin story (Goblin) leaving room for more to come in future installments, a complete arc from zero to villain in Jamie Foxx’s Electro, to a fun and bookend quality to Paul Giamatti’s Rhino.
My biggest problem with the first movie was the main villain, The Lizard, was neither scary nor ever believable as anything other than a computer generated creature. Electro has moments of that, but by keeping him in darkness much of the time and giving his skin an electric glow, it manages to do a better job at fooling your eye. The first battle between Spider-Man and Electro in Times Square is my favorite of the film and a great use of digital effects. Some others are silly (the fight in the neo-power plant) and cliched (the fight/rescue in a big geared clock tower.)
If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, comic book movies or action in general, I’d give this a go at the theater. We saw it in IMAX 3D and I felt the visuals justified the extra ticket cost, particularly the IMAX shots of Spidey flying around New York.
Cal, Jeremiah and I saw it in the theater had a discussion in the car: