HOLLYWOOD—Well the summer box-office kicks off this weekend with the release of “The Amazing Spiderman 2.” Yes, I know it’s hard to fathom that the “Spiderman” franchise was literally rebooted only 10 years after it first hit the big screen. I must admit I was a huge fan of “The Amazing Spiderman” when it was released in 2012, now we have its sequel which delves deeper into the psyche of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield).
Those who have witnessed the countless trailers or TV spots are well aware that something epic will transpire in this installment. What that is I won’t spoil to the fan boys, but if you’ve read the comics or even seen the TV spots the viewer will have an idea.
One sensational aspect of the sequel is its ability to delve deeper into the relationship between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Garfield and Stone have on-screen chemistry that is hard to describe; it just flares up each time the duo appear together. Our hero is battling his inner demons, the promise he made to Gwen’s father to stay away from her to keep her safe, even his Aunt May (Sally Field) warns her nephew that secrets have a cost, as well as the truth. Watching this movie I felt it was a mix of “Spiderman 2” and “Spiderman 3.” It had the love story between Peter Parker and Mary Jane, and then the overload of villains.
This is something that many comic book franchises falter on. This idea of having more than one villain is a detrimental effect on weaving a successful film in my opinion. Some would argue Christopher Nolan successfully accomplished this with “The Dark Knight.” While that argument is true, at its core The Joker remained the primary villain. In “Amazing Spiderman 2,” that’s not the case.
We don’t have one villain, not two, but three and none really stand-out as the primary antagonist for Peter Parker. Dane DeHaan delivers a creepy performance as Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborne. He brings a darker tone to the character, compared to what was witnessed by James Franco. He went dark, but I don’t think anyone ever bought what Franco was doing.
Osborne’s transformation doesn’t happen overnight, but when it happens it’s a treat for the audience, as he teams up with another baddie, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx). Dillon is an OsCorp employee who becomes obsessed with Spiderman after being rescued while Spidey is doing battle with Aleksei Sytsevich (who the audience knows will become The Rhino). Writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner attempt to weave the tale of all the villains in a straight-laced narrative, but a few jumbles occur along the way. There are a few twists in the picture that will deliver a few surprises for audiences, to keep the narrative from being predictable.
What will be a standout for audiences are the special effects, which are spectacular. The visual prowess and look of Electro gives the character an appearance unlike anything we’ve seen in the comics and on television. One problem, Electro is not the big baddie that the movie tots him to be. He almost takes a back seat to DeHaan’s Green Goblin. Honestly, I thought Electro should have been front and center, because he proves to be a formidable foe for Spidey. The few battles the two engage in are awesome, and the price of a 3D ticket is well worth seeing the special effects directly in your face.
The film does tease the audience a bit where the next picture may be headed with images pertaining to The Vulture and Dr. Octopus, not to mention a brief introduction to Felicia Hardy (Felicity Jones), who eventually becomes Black Cat. “The Amazing Spiderman 2” is an entertaining film, but it lacks that spark to make it a phenomenal film.
Garfield, Stone and DeHaan are shining points. Foxx brings fierceness to his character, but he’s not given the opportunity to go to the depths that one hoped for because of the narrative being taken in another direction. The possible elimination of a villain would have better restrained the plot making for a more effective narrative for the viewer, that could become a bit bored with the back and forth love triangle between Peter and Gwen. This movie will make plenty of money, but its staying power will be determined by what happens after its first week at the box-office.
By LaDale Anderson