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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

There has now been five Spider-Man films in the last 12 years and there are no signs to the web-slinger slowing down. In the next four Sony intends to expand the cinematic Spider-Man universe with a Venom and Sinister Six film to accompany The Amazing Spider-Man 3 & 4. I mention this because The Amazing Spider-Man 2 acts as the spring board for this potentially lucrative master plan. The idea of expanding the universe ultimately hindered this film from reaching the “amazing” heights of Spider-Man 2, but it is an enjoyable summer blockbuster with certain aspects that work very well.

This story follows Peter Parker adjusting to his dual-identity, graduating high school, and dealing with the death of Gwen’s father. He’s more confident as Spider-Man, but he continues to struggle with the mysterious past of his parents, the arrival of his old friend Harry, and the rise of new foes. There is a lot going on during the films more than two hour run-time, but it doesn’t add up much in the end. The story is entertaining enough, but certain details are rushed, some are barely mentioned and there just isn’t legitimate reason for the plot to move forward besides the fact that its supposed to.

Andrew Garfield is a great Spider-Man, and although Tobey McGuire will always be Spidy in my mind, I’ll say that while in the suit Andrew is completely believable. He delivers one-lines with a perfect level of sarcasm and his movement is what you’d expect from a kid bitten by a radioactive spider. This is also the best looking Spider-Man movie ever with his first action scene being a real highlight. Spidy’s powers actually look fun and enjoyable.

Jamie Foxx plays the main antagonist here and he does the best he can with a thin character arc and weak motivations. As Max Dillon he plays a geek that was invisible to the world, and Jamie played that well. His first encounter with Spider-Man as Electro was interesting because he still didn’t become a full fledged villain yet. Once he decided he hated Spider-Man he stopped working for me and I only enjoyed him for the action moments, which look great. Electro is a cool character from his look to his sound, it works for me, but his transition towards villainy isn’t earned or fleshed out at all. By the time him and Spidy have their final showdown you just accept that he’s the bad guy because he’s supposed to be. 

Emma Stone gives another solid performance as Gwen Stacey, and the relationship between Peter and her is probably the best parts of the film. They work so well together riffing off one another like most real life couples do. Another highlight of the movie is Dane DeHaan, as Harry Osborn. I enjoyed everything about his performance up until he becomes The Green Goblin (this shouldn’t be a spoiler). Like Electro, his motivation is a little weak, but he doesn’t need the strongest motivation because he isn’t the primary antagonist, until the end of the film. His transformation into The Green Goblin happens with 2 minutes and feels rushed and unnecessary. With that being said, Dane has become one of my favorite young actors after seeing this and Chronicle. 

There are some great action scenes and ever better dramatic moments in this movie that add up to a solid product. The ending in particular is done so well that it made the entire movie worth it for me. This isn’t going to change your understanding of comic book movies like The Dark Knight, and it won’t give set pieces as good as The Avenger’s, but you get to spend sometime with one of the best superheros in the Marvel stable. Even though this movie may feel like a 200 million dollar trailer for The Sinister Six its still a fun ride. Give this movie a shot and avoid spoilers at all cost.