Film & TV

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Film Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Marc Webb returns to direct the sequel to the Spider-Man reboot, this time with an arsenal of potential supervillains.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 finds Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) graduating high school alongside his on-and-off girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) as he struggles to balance an existence devoted to fighting crime and his social life. The plot continues from where its predecessor left off, this time introducing more familiar faces from Spider-Man’s world such as Norman and Harry Osborn (Chris Cooper and Dane DeHaan, respectively), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti).

The curious may now ask: what is this instalment about anyway? What happens? What does it involve? Peter battling Rhino in an epic battle, fighting strength with agility? Or is it about how Electro, the most potent of Spidey’s enemies, rendering an entire New York City helpless with the immensity of his mental and physical prowess? Or Peter dealing with his past, getting to grips with the mysteries that revolve around his parents’ disappearance? Or maybe his rocky relationship with high-school sweetheart Gwen Stacy, as he tries to balance fighting the forces of evil with his love life? Or maybe it’s about Aunt May trying to cope after the death of the responsibility-throwing Uncle Ben, fighting against loneliness and a financial crisis? Or even Peter’s relationship with the self-destructive Harry Osborn, who rebels against his cold and estranged father?

The answer is simple: it’s about all of those things. There are probably too many things going on and not enough time. The movie feels slightly rushed and as a result, there isn’t a huge amount of room left for plot. The entire movie becomes a blur of lots of stuff happening. And a lot of it feels familiar: for example, the comic relief that arises from hiding the fact that he’s Spider-Man, the juggling “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Perhaps the execs at Sony have decided to reboot Spider-Man a little too soon, when a generation of moviegoers remember Tobey Maguire doing pretty much the exact same thing. Andrew Garfield, gifted as he is, doesn’t always manage to capture the slick and swift banter that Spider-Man is renowned for, something that Maguire did with aplomb. That being said, maybe Garfield’s Spider-Man is one we should embrace, a touch edgier and a little less dancing along the Manhattan streets. If one thing’s for certain, it’s that the cast in this film are stellar and on that front, it will certainly not let families down. 

With regards to suitability for children, the 12A seems about right. There is occasional violence but these are anything but gory. Death, however, remains a recurring theme throughout the film, but not in any sense that would be unfamiliar. It provides ample pre-watershed humour and a plethora of evil supervillains that will keep any child satisfied and quiet for the duration. The fact that it’s similar to the original Sami Raimi Spider-Man is really a good thing in this case, if your kids were too young to witness it the first time round.

In the end, that is what a blockbuster, superhero adaptation film is for, isn’t it? This movie is a rather ambitious attempt at a larger, overarching story which will see Spider-Man pitted against his most powerful enemies, something that not only kids, but adults will also enjoy. After all, who wouldn’t want to see Venom And Doc Ock and Sandman band together and come back, in full New York City mayhem action, as the Sinister Six?