The Amazing Spiderman 2, an exercise in camp and true comic book style fun, comes as a much needed relief in a world that's had quite enough of the dark and serious variety of superhero films. While it may not flaunt the same wit and crackling excitement of an Avenger flick, Spidey (Andrew Garfield) cleans up quite well in the sequel to Garfield's first outing as Spiderman.
The sophomore flick begins with Peter Parker/Spiderman almost missing his graduation day fighting off Russian hijackers (led by Paul Giamatti) of an OsCorp truck. Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) are still going strong. Their chemistry is fantastic and you're left wanting to see more of the two of them together. Tensions arise though because of Parker's guilt over the promise he made to her father. The promise that he would stay away from Gwen, and the two of them soon break up. However, this is teenage romance at its best, with Hans Zimmer's inventive but sometimes intrusive soundtrack uplifting some of the quieter moments between the two.
One thing the movie definitely doesn't lack is villainy. Plenty of villains come and go, but none of them leaves too much of an impact, except Harry Osborne/Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), Peter Parker's friend turned foe. As always, OsCorp is smack in the middle of all things wrong and Harry Osborne who has inherited his father's genetic fatal illness, must turn to Peter Parker for help. Under the impression that Spiderman's blood could cure his illness, Harry wants Parker to take him to Spiderman. When Parker refuses, Harry turns to Electro (Jamie Foxx) to help him get revenge. Electro, one of Spiderman's most revered enemies, is the all too invisible OsCorp engineer who after a near fatal accident at the lab (which involved being electrocuted while he was in a tank filled with electric eels), turns into the anguished super villain who can control electricity at a flick of his finger. In the middle of all this, Peter Parker must also deal with his parents' mysterious past. His quest to find the truth about his father leads him back to familiar territory again. This script has its hands in too many cookie jars.
As far as performances are concerned, Andrew Garfield comes across as fidgety, while Emma Stone sits pretty as his on and off girl friend. She is a much, much better companion for Peter Parker than the curiously boring and stiff Kirsten Dunst. It's also a relief to put Toby McGuire behind us for good (what were they thinking, really?). Garfield and Stone give the slightly off-track script some substance through their energetic performances and it's difficult to not get tangled in their lives, which is basically the best thing about the film. Dane DeHaan is great as the slimy Harry Osborne but if you want to see him really act, watch Derek Cianfrance's Place Beyond the Pines. Jamie Foxx, who resembles Watchmen's Dr Manhattan in his all too blinding "blueness" comes off as irritating. The eventual showdown, although brilliant in its technicality and visual prowess, ends quite abruptly and is not all that satisfying. We're also introduced to Rhino (Paul Giamatti) towards the end of the film, whom we will undoubtedly meet again in the next sequel or at least in the announced Spiderman spin off The Sinister Six.
Director Marc Webb has definitely taken a gamble, giving the film its all too campy flavour, and it actually feels like a breath of fresh air.
This movie is going to laugh its way to the banks, irrespective of detractors.
Verdict: The film is elevated by superlative performances by Garfield and Stone. Watch it simply for its freshness.
Film: The Amazing Spiderman 2
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field
Director: Marc Webb