The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the second installment of the 2012 reboot of the classic comic book tale. Peter Parker is a high schooler who after accidentally acquiring the abilities of a spider, becomes a masked vigilante after losing his uncle to a random act of violence on the street.
Part 2 begins at about a year after the events of the first film. Peter is very much into being Spider-Man and this is where the movie shines. Andrew Garfield is just right mix of wise cracking superhero and goofy nerd. He’s always throwing out quips at his enemies and seemingly unable to express his feeling to his on and off girlfriend. Gwen Stacy. Emma Stone returns as the aforementioned Gwen is breath of fresh air to the damsels in distress in most superhero films and isn’t only fully competent but very helpful to Peter and his superhero duties.
Approximately the first six minutes are all Peter’s parents back story which continues from the first film and doesn’t add much to the plot that couldn’t have been explained in exposition and was a missed chance at showing young Peter and uncle Ben and aunt May.
In the present Gwen and Peter are graduating high school and while Peter is off stopping a plutonium theft he almost misses Gwen’s valedictorian speech. Visions of Gwen’s father’s dying words continually haunt Peter throughout and convey the inner turmoil of those close to him being hurt. The on-screen chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are perfect. Their relationship issues aren’t artificial and they create weight and real drama.
The villain that has gotten the most headlines is Electro/ Max Dillion who after a chance encounter with Spider-Man develops an obsession that turns deadly after a freak accident that turns grants him the ability to absorb and release massive amounts of electricity. I couldn’t not think Jim Carey’s portrayal of the Riddler when watched Jamie Foxx’s performance. It’s not bad but it’s not anything spectacular. His look is amazing, but the character and his arc, if it can even be called that is very lacking. There could have been a better execution with his issues with not being noticed and then once gaining his powers using that to force the city to pay attention to him.
My biggest issue with this film and the series is the unofficial motto “Everything is connected to Oscorp” From Peter’s fathers research to every single villain and the titular hero being the direct result of Oscorp research. On top of this is that Norman Osborn has a of some hereditary disease that fuels most of the genetic research. This dovetails into Peter’s father’s research and Spider-Man’s origin. This personally takes away from the larger world as everything is fate and not chance.
There are a few sub plots that took my out of the story. First, which was minor, was aunt May getting a job as nurse and somehow wanting to hide it from Peter. It felt like was done just to then have her working at a hospital later in the film when the power goes out for the city. Getting a job doesn’t seem like something one needs to hide for any reason other than to create a comedic scene where neither wants the other to do laundry and see their “uniforms”.
The sub subplot (?) was air traffic control losing power during the final battle with Electro. Airplanes have their own radar they wouldn’t be completely blind and oblivious to other aircraft nearby. Movies really need to stop having the “they are going to crash in X minutes” scenario. It’s rarely accurate time wise. There’s no need to ramp up the drama and tension when there already was the hero fighting a super villain with his girl present. This was huge distraction for me. It took me out of the immediate battle and had me wonder what was going on in the rest of the city, was there looting, riots? People already lived through the Lizard’s attack one the city. Electro’s first appearance was in Times Square so everyone knew there was some electricity base bad guy out there and then the power goes out. People would have been panicking.The police would have asked Spider-Man to either help them or go stop the main threat. That’s not what I should have been thinking during the climactic battle in a film.
I enjoyed the first instalment and the direction that could have taken. It played up the scientific side of Peter Parker. Not just in the development of is web shooters but how he was able to understand not only what happened to himself but how to defeat the Lizard. However with this very lackluster sequel I can see that Sony has nothing but dollar signs in it’s eyes to not only hold onto the Spider-Man franchise name for as long as possible but to milk it for all it’s worth. Sadly knowing that it’s going to make enough to break even they are going to continue down this path and really do damage to the beloved hero’s name and legacy.