The Amazing Spiderman and His More Amazing Girlfriend
I never thought I’d see the day when the superhero movie and the romantic comedy became one. The Amazing Spiderman 2, while witty and charming, struggles to find in which genre it belongs. At times the writing has you laughing out loud, but then it moves on to Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) destroying New York City. However funny or exciting these scenes may be, the story that drives the film is the relationship between Peter Parker/Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
This is the perfect example of a movie in which the bread is more delicious than the meat. The start of the film is an exciting sequence that explains the death of Peter Parker’s parents. From there, we meet up with Spiderman, who is in the middle of stopping a gang of thugs from stealing some nuclear liquid. Throughout this sequence, the audience is reminded of how fast-paced and amusing this reboot of Spiderman is. The character of Peter Parker is played in such a way that that audience cannot help but laugh while the fate of New York City rests in the sticky hands of a man wearing a spider suit. It’s all very exciting. Until…
Once the action is done, it takes a while to get back into it. Peter and Gwen have just graduated high school, Gwen being the Valedictorian. Much of the story is about the struggle a young couple has facing the reality that life moves on after high school. Gwen is offered a scholarship to attend Oxford University in England. Peter is exceptionally happy for her, but he is, understandably, quite broken up about it. While this story seems to take up the bulk of the film, it wouldn’t be a superhero film without a villain.
Meet Electro. The result of a lab accident, reminiscent of the way Peter Parker got his powers, geeky, socially awkward Max Dillon, becomes the powerful super villain, Electro. He is no longer a man, but a power source. With the power to dissipate into thin air and shut down all of New York’s power, defeating him seems like a longshot. Think back to eighth grade science class, and the answer to his defeat will be only too easy to figure out. Jamie Foxx plays both Max Dillon and Electro superbly well. Foxx finds a way to make Max both comic and conflicted. Max is a sad, lonely character who thinks his best friend is Spiderman. (Hint, hint: he’s not. Reason for Electro to hate him later on?) When Max turns into Electro and starts inflicting havoc upon the city, I still hoped that someone would find a way to save him.
As terrible as Electro may seem, the Green Goblin is worse. Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s childhood friend and present day nemesis, is threatened by a terminal genetic disease. As with most things, a series of misunderstandings leads to a friendship turned sour, and the birth of a new super villain. While the Goblin does not create mass destruction, he does hurt Peter in a way that is far worse than anything Electro could do. His introduction into the series sets up nicely the next episode of the franchise. DeHaan, who plays the Goblin, has seen his fair share of indie flicks, and a few bigger budget films, but this is his debut in the world of Marvel. It seems as though the casting directors did their homework when casting DeHaan as Osborn, for his performance was quite natural. However, once he turns Goblin, things get slightly rough. I don’t think it is entirely his fault, though. His costuming and makeup seems a bit too Halloween. Electro wore a hoodie and a simple rubber supersuit. Why couldn’t the same simplicity be represented with the Goblin? His performance should be louder than what he’s wearing.
If you’ve read the comic books, you’ll know that what the characters wear provide a crucial clue as to a certain major event that occurs. Cue Gwen Stacy. Gwen Stacy is a badass. She is easily my favorite part of the film. Stacy, portrayed by the incomparable Emma Stone, is a modern day woman. As Peter Parker’s girlfriend, and one true love, she must deal with a lot of stress and constantly question herself. However, she handles it all like a champ. What makes her character so wonderful, is that she never sits around waiting for Peter to choose between her and Spiderman. She knows his identity and accepts it. Her intelligence and strength make her an ideal companion for Peter, who teams up with her in the end in an epic battle against Electro. While she may not physically be able to withstand the violence Spiderman can, her genius makes for a vital contribution to the defeat of Electro. I love the fact that she stands her ground; she won’t be pushed around. At one point, she breaks it off with Peter, who has become too much of a negative influence on her life. Later, she tells him that no one makes decisions for her, that she is in charge of what she does, hence her involvement in the final battle against Electro.
If you’re looking for a movie with phenomenal visual effects look no further. The battle at the power plant against Electro is the perfect example of the brilliance of this film’s VFX (visual effects). From raging electrical storms created by the main villain to Spiderman’s web reaching out in the shape of a hand, this movie is truly beautiful to look at.
I won’t speak about the end, other than to say, it will shock you. Of course, if you’ve read the comics, you know what’s coming. Honestly, this is a great date movie; it has both action and romance. While the middle can have you checking your watch, or wishing you’d ordered the medium popcorn instead of the small, the beginning and end more than make up for its focus on story rather than explosions. As always, Emma Stone is charming, and Andrew Garfield continues to excellently execute the role of the playful Peter Parker. It may not be one of Marvel’s greatest achievements – after all, how can one possibly follow up Avengers ?– but it is absolutely worth a trip to the movies. I look forward to seeing what the Amazing Spiderman 3 has in store.
Opened in the US on May 2, 2014
Run Time: 2:21
Marvel always has a scene either during or after the credits. If you stay, during the credits you'll be treated to a scene with America's current sweetheart in blue.
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The Amazing Spiderman 2 IMDB
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) - IMDb
Directed by Marc Webb. With Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti. Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.