The Amazing Spider-Man 2(2014)
- RatedPG13 /GenreAction, Adventure, Fantasy
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
One Uncle Ben (or was it Voltaire) once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
In the case of director Marc Webb, whose sole power is to make one of pop-culture’s most recognisable icon’s continuing journey on the silver screen “amazing”, it turns out to be more like getting web on your face.
Dare we say, he has let down legions of “Spider-fans” with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’.
Webb had before him what was perhaps a perfect mise en place: a perfectly cooked origin story in 2012’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, topped off with the excellent pairing of Hollywood’s new stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Not to mention the multi-hyphenate Jamie Foxx to complement and contrast the offering.
But like a jittery novice on an episode of ‘Masterchef’ with a pantry full of premium ingredients, he squandered the task.
Bloated and overstuffed, it is like Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man 3’ in 2007, where too many super-villains spoil the broth.
THREE VILLAINS TOO MANY
The biggest offender is Foxx’s Max Dillon. After falling into a tank of genetically modified electric eels in an accident, this lowly cog in Oscorp Industries’ machinery is transformed as Electro. The gap-toothed nerd with a comb-over and very low self-esteem is now bestowed with God-like powers and he is hell-bent on destroying anyone and anything in his path.
Foxx gives a brilliant performance, with glimpses of genuine pathos that you are compelled to feel sorry for this everyman-turned-sparks-shooting-monstrosity.
What is disappointing is, as the main antagonist, his character arc is underused and he seems more of a supporting act for a more slithery villain in the form of Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn.
Taking over the reins from James Franco, DeHaan plays the heir to the Oscorp empire who is perverted by conceit and science, eventually turning into Green Goblin.
DeHaan turns in an intense performance as the moody Harry, a performance that is as petulant as his Lucian Carr in ‘Kill Your Darlings’ and Jason in ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’.
His relationship with Peter Parker, though, comes off as being a bit of a cliche, mainly the scriptwriters’ fault for skimping through Harry’s return and eventual transformation.
And then there is Paul Giamatti’s Russian mobster-turned-super villain Aleksei Sytsevich / Rhino.
Despite brief screen-time, Giamatti’s bruising performance bookends the movie. And like Harry, his character’s thread foreshadows upcoming spinoffs.
With three villains and multiple plot lines, it does get crowded.
Webb tries his best to weave the stories into one coherent piece, but clear storytelling was sacrificed to quickly lay the foundation for future stories and movies.
COUPLE TO THE RESCUE
What ultimately saved Webb’s dish are its star ingredients: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.
The off-screen couple acting as an on-screen couple are perhaps the director’s greatest coup.
Garfield’s flawless comedic timing and awkward charm makes him the closest Peter Parker/Spider-Man that fans will see on the big screen.
Stone, as his on-again-off-again girlfriend Gwen Stacy, gives a pluckier performance than before.
Their chemistry makes their relationship very believable, and they light up the screen whenever they are together.
Those who enjoyed the action scenes and special effects of previous Spider-Man movies will not be disappointed for there are many sequences, from the explosive showdown in Times Square to the bruising finale at the Oscorp power grid.
Despite its misgivings, this franchise does not look like it will get old, simply because Spider-Man will always be your everyday neighbourhood hero. Don’t forget that friendly wave, though it will not be goodbye just yet.
Be sure to "Shazam" the end credit sequence to unlock a sneak peek into the franchise's "sinister future". You can download the Shazam app on iTunes or GooglePlay.
‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is now showing in cinemas