The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Like always, this is just another in the long line of blockbusters that I am joining the party late – and as always, fellow Marvel fans, if you aren’t bored with talking about Spidey’s latest adventures, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is finally accepting and settling into his role as Spider Man – NYC's very own champion and hero. Only now that graduation day has arrived and as news of his existence rises, he feels himself slowly pulling away from the love of his life, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). With memories of her father's last words haunting him, he ends the relationship, hoping that by watching Gwen from afar he can keep her safe and out of his enemies’ path.
Distractions soon arise when New York is overrun with new villains Peter is forced to battle in the form of Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the return of Peter’s troubled friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan).
From what little I remember reading about this when it was released to theaters it seems like this latest installment (only the second in the re-booted era) lost fans enthusiasm after one of its key characters dies in dramatic fashion and circumstances during the latter moments of the film. I can understand why fans felt deflated and disappointed for these reasons and do wish things could have been different. In many ways, it’s understandable to the comic book legend and how we “know” Peter Parker’s life shakes out. Still when there was so much good in this relationship, this will likely cause there to be a hole in movie three and it will sort of feel like a betrayal to experience what comes next - and in hindsight, the Tobey McGuire years obviously gave us a better “version” in this regard.
Now we have the ambiguous bad out of the way – and yes, I do realize that anyone who doesn’t know what I am referencing above might be confused, but guys… if you’ve not seen this yet, I don’t want to spoil anything! – let’s move on to the good. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, this is one action-packed movie that doesn’t slow down! The battle of superpowers, the number of villains and the destruction is all kicked off in the first five minutes of the movie when Peter is late to his own graduation in an effort to stop a bad dude from his evil plans. This certainly keeps the film moving and hopping and unlike a certain DC Comics adaptation, this movie does take time to slow and keep in perspective the history Peter wants to uncover about himself and more specifically whatever it was about his father’s (played by Campbell Scott) work that essentially signed his death warrant. It’s a hard thing to balance the human aspect of a flick like this because while our heroes are at their core, “only human” much of the movie does rely on the supernatural and therein can lay the conflict.
This blockbuster doesn’t seem to suffer that fate – thank goodness! Does the script get too villain heavy? When all is said and done, yes – especially when two of them are emerging villains and one is destined to play a greater (presumably) role in future endeavors (which by the way has been pushed back to 2018, like, this is not cool guys), that being said, I do think this sequel takes greater care in not losing sight of the Peter Parker that lives inside the heralded Spider-Man and that’s pleasant to experience. The ending is what really sets the whole piece of cinema apart. Sure it rips open our hearts prior to that and shows us a darker side to Peter in the interim, yet how the writer’s bring him around is a kind of gentle, more innocent example any film in this genre has mustered – makes you wish the film didn’t promptly end even if it did serve a purpose. When the more important message shines through said abrupt departure that all's good in the world of Marvel universes and somehow, in a quiet way what the ultimate conclusion boils down to is that Peter Parker is going to be okay – and for us, if this kind of hope or inspiration can be found in a blockbuster, I say more power to the scripters who wish for us too to feel that. It's good enough.
Film Rating: PG13
Violence: moderate. There are many things destroyed and lots of destruction because of the superpowers. Various baddies attempt to take out the good guys including the cops whose cars are often seen flipping end over end.
Profanity: mild - maybe a use of h*ll or sh*t.