Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Star Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field, Chris Cooper
Director: Marc Webb
It’s hard to keep the amazing coming, but somehow, Marc Webb manages it yet again, two years after The Amazing Spider-Man and not so many years later that people have forgotten Tobey Maguire doing those same tricks with more or less the same material. The primary reason is Andrew Garfield, who brings good looks and innocent charm, goofy spunk and enough heart, as well as dollops of romance, to give us a Spider-Man more close to our times, when being nerdy is not nearly as bad.
His superhero is as much of a misfit to begin with but more comfortable when he makes the transition. Maguire was never allowed that privilege.
Plus, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes with two villains with just enough character and enough acting abilities to make the contest worthwhile. Foxx stars as Max, who works in the electrical division of Oscorp, which we know is the big bad corporation of this comic world. With a balding head, carefully gelled down hair to cover the pate, thick glasses and ill-fitting clothes, he is a pushover, ignored and mocked by his superior and colleagues. Max’s best memory is being saved by Spider-Man one day on the road, and being addressed by him kindly.
The other villain is Harry Osborn, the heir to the Oscorp empire and Spider-Man or Peter Parker’s childhood friend who is dying of an inherited disease and believes his hope is an experiment Peter’s late father was working on. Played by DeHaan, Harry is an unstable element, looking vulnerable and venomous at the same time.
Max transitions into the electricity-fuelled Electro and Harry into a crazed maniac over action that Webb carefully orchestrates to keep us interested. In fact, the director nails this aspect right at the beginning when he enacts Peter’s parents’ death in a plane crash, bringing in a fair amount of suspense. You just wish Max’s hand wringing over his sorry state didn’t get tiresomely repetitive.
While real-life couple Garfield and Stone — as Peter’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy — again sizzle on screen, she is among the characters The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does least justice to. She is given ponderous dialogue and placed in incongruous circumstances, from which she never emerges without a helping hand.
Webb also overstretches Garfield’s welcome, dragging the film well past two hours