THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (2014)
No more secrets.
Directed by Marc Webb
Reviewed by Deep Red & Lead Cenobite
Stars Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, Jamie Foxx as Electro/Max Dillon, as Dane DeHaan as Green Goblin/Harry Osborn, Paul Giamatti as Rhino/Aleksei Sytsevich and Sally Field as Aunt May.
Between relationship troubles with Gwen Stacy and reconnecting with his old friend, Harry Osborn, Peter Parker aka Spider-Man must deal with new foes Electro and the Green Goblin.
After the lacklustre Man of Steel (2013) and Iron Man 3 (2013), Spider-Man 2 goes a long way to putting superhero films back on the right track. It looks fantastic with some decent acting especially between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and Sally Field delivers an outstanding performance. The villains are good with Electro being needy and Harry Osborn willing to do anything to avoid the same fate as his father, of course Paul Giamatti as the Rhino is your straight up one dimensional bad guy with power but that’s OK as it distinguishes his character from the other two more complex villains.
As mentioned before the acting is decent in this film and the real-life romance between Andrew and Emma comes through in their on screen performance as their chemistry is apparent. This is a relationship you believe far more than the Peter Parker\Mary-Jane Watson one from the Raimi version though this could be down to the script as well. Although it has its ups and downs the banter between the two is always fun and the actors look like they’re having fun. In support Sally Field gives an emotional performance as Aunt May with special mention going to a scene where she and Peter talk about his parents and her resentment at them leaving a six-year-old Peter “on her doorstep”.
Electro starts as a downtrodden yet well intended person who has been much ignored leaving him a needy, desperate, socially awkward person who longs to belong then suddenly develops a fixation on Spider-Man after he is saved by him. All his character flaws are what define him as a villain and give him a certain innocence . His superpowers make him a very dangerous, seemingly invincible threat that might be too much for Spidey.
The Green Goblin on the other hand is very self-assured and confident but angry and bitter at the same time. LIke Electro, he’s also needy, so when Harry seeks out Electro he pleads with him to help and they form a partnership largely based on feeling like outcasts in their lives. Electro agrees to help when Harry says he “needs” him and the partnership is cemented when Harry admits to having a friend who’s also let him down; a partnership based on revenge and being kindred spirits.
The Rhino on the other hand is just a crazed killer who gets an upgrade. Nothing deep about him but he could be a lot of fun in later films especially if Paul Giamatti is allowed to let loose with this character.
Visually the film looks utterly stunning with its bright and vivid colours that really stand out, shown to great effect during the battle scenes with Electro. Watching Spider-Man web-slinging through the New York skyscrapers and seeing his suit ripple as he free-falls to the ground below you know this is the best looking Spider-Man film ever. The effects really work, the CGI blends seamlessly with the live-action and doesn’t fall into ‘uncanny valley’ especially with character models and movements.
The 3D I found to be easy on the eyes. This is a long film at 2 hrs 22 mins yet I didn’t leave the cinema with sore eyes or a headache. The motion was smooth and the picture quality remained very sharp and detailed. Any 3D effect coming out of the screen towards you felt naturally placed instead of forced. Scenes aren’t placed around willy-nilly trying to get a 3D effect but when you do get a 3D shot it works very well causing you to flinch.
Yes, it’s a long film but nicely paced and scenes don’t drag on like happened in Raimi’s trilogy. You aren’t left waiting for the next action scene because you’re involved in the story. Maybe I liked this a lot because it wasn’t too clichéd structurally like superhero films can be very easily, or too formulaic.
Sometimes superhero films can be a tale of two films, one part belonging the human identity and one where he’s the titular hero but this felt more like one film focusing on one character – Peter Parker.
In conclusion, I would say go and see this film and forget what you might imagine it to be like based on previous experience and instead enjoy something very new and exciting to this superhero sub-genre.