“You know what it is I love about being Spider-Man? Everything!“-Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Webs are spun, lives are changed and dangerous new enemies run amok in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” starring Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network,” “Lions for Lambs”).
Director Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”) returns to helm the rebooted superhero franchise and story picks up a few years where its predecessor leaves off, with Peter Parker and his sweetheart Gwen Stacey, played by Emma Stone (“Easy A,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”), graduating from high school and prepare to embark on new adventures, but Spider-Man is still keeping the peace in the Big Apple.
The franchise introduces us to new characters such as the ignored and overlooked Max Dillon, played by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Django Unchained”), an engineer at OsCorp who in his private world, worships Spider-Man to an almost unhealthy level.
On Max’s birthday, he is called in to work overtime in one of the research labs, but he has an unfortunate freak accident that changes him completely. After falling into a vat of electric eels, Max’s body is surging with abundant amounts of electricity but he craves more power and he will stop at nothing to get it, even if Spider-Man stands in his way.
“I can feel it in the walls, I can feel it in my veins…no matter what you do, Doc, you can’t contain me. You wanna know how powerful I am? Well, I wanna know too. I’m Electro!“-Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro
While Spider-Man has his hands full trying to stop Electro, Peter Parker reconnects with his old friend Harry Osbourne, played by Dane Dehaan (“Chronicle”). Harry has returned to New York after ten years abroad, because his father Norman Osbourne, played by Academy Award winner Chris Cooper (“American Beauty,” “Adaptation”), died of a genetic disease that Harry would one day die of himself.
Harry turns to Peter because he takes pictures of Spider-Man and supplies them to the Daily Bugle in exchange for money and Harry believes that Spider-Man could be his one chance at surviving his terminal illness because Harry has reason to believe that Spider-Man received his powers from a genetically altered spider developed by OsCorp and those spiders, or as Harry sees it Spider-Man’s blood, could hold the key to eradicating the illness.
Feeling desperate, he turns to Electro for help. In exchange for the power substation supplying New York City with its sole source of electricity, Electro must acquire the DNA from the OsCorp spiders and bring it to Harry before its too late.
“Soon everyone in the city will know how it feels to live in a world without power, without mercy, without Spider-Man!“-Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro
Spider-Man will face the most dangerous adversary he has yet to encounter in Electro, but something more dangerous awaits him down the road. As for Peter Parker, he is close to uncovering the truth about OsCorp, the disappearance of his parents and the origins and purpose of the spiders who gave him his amazing abilities but the answers to his questions will come at a terrible price.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is loaded with dazzling visuals and great action but unfortunately the film tries to do too much, answer so many questions so quickly there is no time to digest everything and the character development is so radical and rushed, it becomes lost on the audience.
Marc Webb directed a film that revealed how frail and shallow the hero really is and how he is quickly makes a mess and spends so much time trying to clean it up, it is difficult to enjoy. He tries to showcase so many characters that focus is just lost and erratic to pinpoint.
Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci (“Transformers”) and Jeff Pinker, overloaded this story to the point where it becomes somewhat exhausting to follow everything that is going on. The saving grace is that it leads to something rather promising, however it isn’t what audiences may think it is.
Andrew Garfield did the best job he could regardless of what was given to him. The rest of the cast including Emma Stone, Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx, Academy Award winner Sally Field (“Norma Rae,” “Lincoln”), Colm Feore (“Thor”), Felicity Jones (“Brideshead Revisted”), B.J. Novak (“The Dictator”) and Academy Award nominee Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man,” “Sideways”) were collectively decent despite the constant overshadowing of each other and rapid exchanges between their characters.
Some of the actors such as Field, Novak, Cooper and Giamatti are simply rushed through whatever screen-time they are given and hardly contribute anything worthwhile to the film.
The main problem with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a simple one: it can’t help its franchise step out of the shadows left by other successful franchises of its genre and really make a name for itself. It has an abundance of promise and it is trying to accomplish something rather unconventional yet there is no growth, no impact.
The ending is rather shocking yet, fans of the comic lore seem to see it coming.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a rather peculiar head-scratcher for a super-hero film. In fact it is a film, like its title character, that is its own worst enemy.