Monday, May 5, 2014

Movie with Abe: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Directed by Marc Webb
Released May 2, 2014

Even in an age of remakes and reboots, it’s rare to find two wholly separate franchises about the same character universe within the span of fifteen years, especially when the first was considered successful. After Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst played the roles of Spider-Man and love interest Mary Jane Watson, respectively, in three box office hits in 2002, 2004, and 2007, the superhero got a fresh start in 2012 with Marc Webb behind the camera and Andrew Garfield in the lead role, joined by Emma Stone as another love interest, Gwen Stacy. That film was a stronger and more effective cinematic realization of the character, and its sequel, unfortunately, isn’t quite as competent.

The Amazing Spider-Man” didn’t focus on the traditional villains - Norman and Harry Osborn, whose family alter ego is the Green Goblin - and so it’s fair to assume that this film would. Yet that’s hardly ambitious enough for Marvel movies, which these days have multiple villains and plot threads to ensure that as much action as possible can be packed into two and a half hours. Enter Jamie Foxx’s Max, an Oscorp engineer shut off from society due to a case of eternal invisibility who, following an accident typically found in superhero forklore, becomes transforming into an energy-wielding monster, Electro. In a crowded and somewhat disappointing blockbuster jumble, the Osborns almost don’t register, which is especially lamentable considering the talent - Chris Cooper and Dane DeHaan - enlisted to portray them.

Garfield, whose lanky awkwardness served him well in the first film, is fine here, but he comes off as a bit too casual, aware of just how popular Spider-Man is despite constant beratement from the press and authorities about his true intentions and value. Garfield is destined for better thespian achievements, and hopefully this kind of role won’t hold him back from a promising future. Emma Stone, on the other hand, is delightful and extremely endearing as Gwen, who knows just where she stands with Peter and never passes up an opportunity to call him out on not treating her properly or prioritizing saving the world over showing up to hear her graduation speech. There certainly is a lot to enjoy in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but as far as superhero movies go it isn’t one of the best. Its ending primes up another sequel, and in a generally enjoyable universe with decent actors involved, that means another chance to get it right with a movie that’s both fun and very good.


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