The rebooting of the Spider-Man franchise was met with much cynicism in the filmosphere and this humble reviewer was very much in that camp. The concept of ploughing millions into an art form for something other than art for art’s sake never satisfies the purist’s soul.

The Amazing Spiderman 2 Film Review

Sony had to get out the talcum powder out and put on the Spidy-suit in order to keep the rights for the adored webslinger. For all the scepticism, part of me thought, “it can’t be as abominable as Tobey Maguire’s wet attempt.” It seemed Sony thought much the same. After all, they chose to reboot rather than make Spiderman 4 with Maguire.

Sam Raimi and Maguire were out. Marc Webb, hot off his refreshing and original take on the rom-com with 500 Days of Summer, would direct and Andrew Garfield was in as Peter Parker. The first Amazing Spider-Man had more depth, character and was ultimately more fun. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 continues much in the same vain and provides even more in the way of character development and emotional pull.

Parker’s relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is on the rocks after Stacy’s father’s last dying breath was used to deter the danger-magnet, Parker, away from his daughter. This teen-angst free relationship tension makes for a refreshing change and even feels very adult. Parker is also struggling with his own parent’s absence and is looking for answers on their disappearance.

Relief, albeit very briefly, comes to him with the return of his old pal Harry Osborn, played by the genuinely sensational Dan Dehaan. Osborn himself has parental issues trying to live with the legacy of his dying father Norman Osborn and owner of dysfunctional uber-company Oscorp.

Jamie Foxx plays Max Dillon, a neurotic but humble loner working for the Oscorp power department. He’s down on his luck – no friends, no family and an unhealthy obsession with Spider-Man. All until an accident at the plant gives him super-electro-powers beyond his control. You know the story. He gets a taste and likes it – becoming Electro (or Sparkles as Spidy likes to call him).

The villains make sense. Both Harry Osborn and Dillon have been dealt tough hands and their performances are all the more believable for it.

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The action sequences are excellent, if not rare, and it paces along nicely. The film, however, belongs to the stars. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is undeniable and Dehaan steals the screen whenever he’s present. You can’t take your eyes of him. He’s delicate but you can see the pain and the strength that brings through his piercing eyes. His relative calmness, even during the action scene, is a perfect foil to Garfield’s energy and charisma. Gwen Stacy also makes for a refreshing change to the genre. Much like Black Widow in Captain America 2, she’s a female with brains, strength and is never sexualised.

There are problems though, and they mainly lie with the script. The relatively small time frame for production inevitably meant the script maybe didn’t receive the attention Foxx’ blue lightning did. It is witty but the story is messy and it feels as if the arch plot for the franchise has taken priority at times. This is illustrated by the casting, filming and then the cutting of Shailene Woodley as Mary-Jane. Paul Giamatti as Rhino and Felicity Jones as Felicia Hardy make cameos which again imply the script has more than an eye on the future instalments.

There’s just too many strands of plot and two independent villains, as good as they are, just isn’t necessary. Marvel’s stronghold on the genre is possibly to blame for Sony’s longsightedness.

The problems, however, aren’t glaring. Webb’s directing is very confident and he manages to capture the grandeur of CGI New York and the action scenes very well. The villains are rounded and the performances are as good as anything you will see in a comic-book blockbuster. Witty, fun and well considered – this is a very good comic-book film and the reboot continues to surprise.

The Amazing Spiderman 2 Film Review: 4 Stars

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Don’t believe us that Spidey is gripping the nation? Check out these guys dressed as Spiderman in their Morphsuits!

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