The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): His Greatest Battle Begins

Posted: May 3, 2014 in Action, Adventure, Fantasy
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the_amazing_spider_man_2_teaser_poster__2_by_enoch16-d659yqmHaunted by the death of Captain Stacy, Peter Parker is conflicted about his dual identity as a graduating high school senior and web-slinging superhero. Nearly missing graduation, Peter misses Gwen Stacy’s valedictorian speech and slides into the line just as his name is called. The Stacy family invites him to dinner, which he momentarily accepts. Peter arrives late and catches Gwen’s eye, causing her to meet him outside of the restaurant. Feeling unable to shake Captain Stacy’s promise, he forces her to break up with him. While he struggles to move on from the relationship, he continues to protect the city and reconnects with an old friend, Harry Osborn. Having returned with the news of his father’s failing health, Harry learns that he has the same genetic illness and begins to seek a cure. For Peter, he tries to turn his attention toward discovering the truth about his parents but cannot seem to shake his feelings for Gwen, pressure from Harry to get Spider-Man’s blood for a cure, and a new threat to the city name Electro.

Starring: Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Jamie Foxx (Max Dillon/Electro), Dane DeHaan (Harry Osborn/Green Goblin), Sally Field (Aunt May), Campbell Scott (Richard Parker), Embeth Davidtz (Mary Parker), Chris Cooper (Norman Osborn), Denis Leary (Captain Stacy), Paul Giamatti (Aleksei Sytsevich/The Rhino), Marton Csokas (Dr. Ashley Kafka), BJ Novak (Alistair Smythe), Colm Feore (Donald Menken), Kari Coleman (Helen Stacy)

Garfield has established his own version of Spider-Man that sets it apart from the Tobey McGuire version of the 2000s. While the earlier version was more awkward and timid, this newer version is more playful and sarcastic while having a stronger brooding side. Stone was just charming as Gwen Stacy. She had more of a tough, ambitious personality than Kirsten Dunst. Foxx’s performance was meant to be a bit unstable and uneven, but it seemed a little too overdone for a lonely, mentally-confused electrician. Dane DeHaan felt a bit less like the friend of Peter Parker and more like the obsessed son of a deranged scientist. Field continued to just be charming as well.

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Marc Webb’s second film in the Spider-Man series had the potential of being too packed with villains and content but found a way to focus the story more than the previews projected. Central to the saga was the story of the disappearance of the Parkers, highlighted with a vignette at the start of the film. Discovering that there must be more to the story, Peter spent countless hours trying to decipher the real story of his parents’ plight. This led to a greater understanding that his father’s work would never be understood but still had implications for the involvement of Oscorp. Meanwhile, the love story between Peter and Gwen had all of the off and on again elements of a teenage romance, although Peter’s secret identity put Gwen in danger on multiple occasions. In the end, a shocking conclusion may catch new fans off-guard but veterans of the story will still be impressed with the presentation of the climax battle.

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One of the best parts of any superhero story is the backstory of the heroes and villains. While Peter’s background was started in the first film and followed up in this sequel, the second film introduced three new villains to the series. The Rhino was not a major villain for this film, but the failed robbery at the start of the film predisposed him to being selected for greater villainous involvement. There was no real backstory done for him but that could be waiting for the third film. Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin was quite a bit lessing charming than James Franco’s version. While he did not turn into the Green Goblin as an attempt to follow his father’s lead, this version merged in elements of being shipped off to Europe and getting exposed to the formula to turn him into an insane villain. His involvement with Oscorp also opens the door to a slate of other villains in the future. As for Electro, Foxx’s presentation was said to be more down-to-earth but just seemed unstable and insane from the start. Obsessed with Spider-Man for saving him on the street, his transformation into the villain allowed him to go from being unnoticed to all-powerful. His mutation was created through a combination of other versions, including electrocution by power lines and electric eels.

This film is not perfect. The storytelling was choppy at times. Peter seemed to go from loving Gwen to pushing her away without real transition. Foxx’s version of Electro was a little wacky and unstable. Sill, the action was strong and the complexity of the story makes for a wild and entertaining experience.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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