Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Spider-Man upside down on the side of the OsCorp tower.
Breakin' 2: Electro Boogaloo

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.


Let's get the obvious gripe out of the way, Sony have really misjudged their marketing tactics with this film. Spider-Man is one of the best known and popular superheroes to ever appear onscreen, both with children and adults, so it's baffling why they feel the need to spoil many of the films surprises. While not all of the surprises have been spoiled, what's left is sadly a case of 'if you've seen the trailers, you've seen most of the film'.

The returning cast feel more comfortable in their roles, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone still sharing the great chemistry which helped make the first film a success, and selling the scenes which feel like the characters going in circles in regards to their relationship. The new additions all settle in well to their roles. Dane DeHaan is the standout, portraying a Harry Osborn who's vastly different from James Franco's portrayal, left a mess in the wake of visiting his sick father (portrayed brilliantly by Chris Cooper).

Jamie Foxx is introduced as Max Dillon, a downtrodden engineer for Oscorp who gains an obsession for the webslinger after he saves his life. The early scenes of him are misjudged, being too ridiculous to take seriously, with Foxx overplaying the obsessive nature of the character. However, once he's made the transformation into the electrical supervillain, the character becomes a credible threat, with Pharrell's track giving a good indication of the character's mindset and doing a good job of setting the tone.

Paul Giamatti appears as The Rhino, making a smaller appearance than the marketing suggested. While this will lead to many cries of him being underused, it makes sense since his character is usually there as the muscle, merely another enemy for the webcrawler to fight.

Some do anything to avoid paying bus fare
It feels like Marc Webb has gained confidence in returning to direct this character, stepping the action up a gear with some positively thrilling fights, building up to a nail-biting conclusion, which unfortunately rushes along at the end to introduce and quickly dispatch a pivotal character. Like the predecessor, some of the better scenes are the emotional ones, with one moment of Spidey saving a child from bullies ranking highly among his cinematic moments. Many of the scenes work well thanks to the strong performances which are put into those scene, with a revealing conversation between Aunt May and Peter succeeding thanks to this, and one moment which will especially leave you heartbroken. The gags and quips do hit more than they miss, but we have to endure a couple of clunky lines, and are left to wonder what kind of an excuse is washing an American Flag.

Thanks to the success of Marvel studios building a cinematic universe with a little known film called The Avengers, rival studios have had to adjust their plans in order to mimic their success. So while Fox tries to link the two superhero teams they own and DC scramble to make Batman and Superman clash, Sonys only option is to utilize spin-offs. Knowing this, the groundwork is laid here for many elements that will be familiar to fans, but it feels like Webb is trying a bit too much to introduce such elements. One notable scene takes time away to introduce a secretary whose name will certainly ring a bell, but it feels superfluous and unnecessary, especially in the placing of the scene.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a fantastic sequel thats a step-up from 2012's reboot. The actors all feel more comfortable in their roles, while the new cast additions settle in well. The moments of action hit as much as the emotional moments, and despite three villains appearing, things end up not feeling overcrowded. Another strong entry that proves Sony should not be counted out just yet.

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