This weekend, Marvel will release another one of its superhero fantasy movies, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
This film features a combination of exhilarating, mind-blowing computer-generated imagery and special effects, dark and thrilling content and numerous emotional moments. The movie is somewhat overcrowded with villains and multiple storylines, but overall it's an appealing and entertaining experience.
Similar to just about every sequel of this nature, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" dives deeper into the origin of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. This episode of the story reveals answers about Peter’s past, specifically what happened to his parents. It also takes the romantic relationship between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) to its climax and creates new struggles for Peter/Spider-Man.
We are introduced to new characters, such as Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn, and are acquainted with fresh villains to face Spider-Man. We're also shown how Peter/Spider-Man faces his greatest challenges yet.
Marvel continues to create arguably the best film versions to date of popular, exciting comic book stories, and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is no different. The film is obviously filled with extreme fantasy, be it superheroes, special powers, technology, epic battles and more.
But, for this entire content, it’s amazing how realistic everything looks, and how well the filmmakers mix fiction and reality, making it seem just about as believable as it could be on screen. From skyline shots of New York City, to Spider-Man souring in between skyscrapers, to massive explosions, superhuman characters and large scale, destructive combat, everything looks outstanding. The majority of the film is computer-generated and at times does appear to be almost video game-like, but these types of effects only seem to increase the viewing experience for a presentation such as this.
Another element this film does well is the use of a variety of camera angles and techniques. We get to see Spider-Man soaring around the city from all perspectives, close-ups on him, looking from his perspective, watching from street or rooftop view, etc. This also takes place during encounters with villains, which is where a good amount of slow motion is applied. Often times, the film will just about freeze as Spider-Man dodges flying debris, jumps off a building or obstruction, attacks an enemy, and more, all in brief slow motion action. The action and film overall is complimented very nicely by a soundtrack and music score for all occasions, using electronic sounds, thrilling, emotional, dramatic, and superhero-like tunes.
The movie features an effective cast comprised of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx as Electro/Max Dillion, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin, Sally Field as Aunt May, Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich/The Rhino, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Embeth Davidtz, Campbell Scott, and more. There’s no denying Garfield and Stone’s onscreen romantic chemistry (as they are together in real life), and in my opinion, this film presents multiple villains worthy of any superhero movie. Not just any old villains, but the intense, disturbed, dark characters that are hell-bent on destruction, revenge, and power. Though not quite like Heath Ledger’s performance as ‘The Joker’ in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008), these characters are definitely on their way there if given more screen time and longer development. While short-lived, I felt the villains to be borderline freaky and crazy at times, and that’s what you need in a bad guy.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," it wasn’t without its faults. One of my biggest concerns was overstuffed this film felt. It presents multiple storylines about Peter/Spider-Man’s past, present, and future, including his quest to find out about his parents; his on-and-off-again relationship with Gwen Stacy; facing new adversaries; and overall balancing being Peter Parker and Spider-Man. As previously mentioned, I thought the villains were pretty cool, but at the same time their time on screen is minimal. There’s nothing wrong with taking time to develop characters, but don’t spend a majority of the film building up to their becoming the full-blown version of their villainous selves, then show a brief battle with Spider-Man, where they are quickly defeated.
The film does contain a variety of Easter eggs (hidden/secret messages) that tease future villains and material known to fans of the Spider-Man comic books, which gives hope that some of the characters present in this installment may return for further adventures. Personally, I wanted to see more of the good stuff in this sequel. There are many emotional moments, mostly for Peter/Spider-Man, as he discovers more about his past, deals with his romantic feelings for Gwen Stacy, and continues to be surrounded by death and destruction. Depending on what kind of person you are, this content can be a bit heavy and possibly too involved in the film. Like any movie of this type, there are a few corny lines of dialogue, questionable moments in the film, right place right time encounters, and some light comic relief, but with all the darkness and varying sentiments, it seems to be quite necessary.
All in all, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is a great film for a fan of the superhero, science fiction, and fantasy genre and is appropriate for almost any age. It’s a great movie to see in 3D and will be a rollercoaster ride of action and drama regardless of the viewing format. Assuming this series follows the widely used trilogy format, hopefully the filmmakers will use the best parts of "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" to create an exciting finale in the 3rd film. I’ve got a feeling that ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ will put up great numbers this weekend at the box office.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence. Running time is 2 hours and 24 minutes.
Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance film critic and entertainment blogger out of Dallas. More of his content can be found on YouPlusDallas.com and his author archive here. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and hopes to pursue a future in filmmaking and screenwriting. As an average, passionate film lover who rarely misses a film, his reviews are straightforward and his way with words will let you know in a simple way what he thinks. Don’t like what he has to say? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @HPMoviePitt.