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article imageReview: ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ slings a similar web pattern Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 1, 2014 in Entertainment
In ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ Peter Parker faces personal and professional challenges as Oscorp once again takes aim at Spider-Man.
Though the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise came on the heels of the Tobey Maguire version, there were some things to be said about the Andrew Garfield-driven vehicle. Peter Parker is now the reckless, playful, sarcastic superhero that starred in the comic books. Whether you agree with the direction and style of the film is a different matter, but nonetheless the sequel is upon us. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 promises villains, web-slinging and mass city destruction, which it delivers in a divisive package.
From the opening moment, Peter (Garfield) is still putting the lives of the many ahead of the lives of a few — who in this case are his family and friends waiting at his high school graduation. Haunted by the death of Captain Stacy (Denis Leary), Peter struggles with his love for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and the promise he made to her dying father. He also continues to investigate his parents' disappearance in between saving the city. In the meantime, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to head Oscorp Industries in the hopes of utilizing its research to cure his fatal disease. On the action side of things, a creative nobody (Jamie Foxx) gets the chance to be noticed when an accident transforms him into the electric villain known as Electro.
There's something about this franchise that seems to prevent filmmakers from getting it all "right" the way they often do in the Marvel universe. In this case, the dramatic elements of the story are planned and executed quite well; but the blockbuster action sequences don't mesh with the rest of the picture.
Firstly, the love story between Peter and Gwen plays out perfectly. Their adoration for each other leaps off the screen (possibly due in some part to their real-life relationship). The dialogue, though sometimes cheesy, flawlessly captures this chapter in their lives together. And Peter's secret identity acts as the definitive wedge that would forever remain between them. In addition, Peter's friendship with Harry is put to the test as his dying friend confides in him and requests his help only to become bitterly vindictive when assistance cannot be granted.
A scene from  The Amazing Spider-Man 2
A scene from 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'
Sony Pictures
Conversely, the big fight sequences lack the finesse of the drama and overwhelm audiences with computer-generated visual effects. The most significant offender is the Matrix-style slow motion that seems to occur whenever Spider-Man is battling an evildoer. It's distracting and unnecessary. The same scenes would be improved if they'd just been allowed to play out as a classic good guy vs. bad guy battle befitting of the masked vigilante's history and keep the pizzazz for the guy inside the suit.
Electro isn't the best villain, though his super ability does lend itself to a few luminous confrontations with the hero. However, this film also has another purpose outside of advancing the franchise; it's setting up the spinoff picture, The Sinister Six. Thus there is a hint of things to come and one of the key characters, Rhino (played by an unrecognizable Paul Giamatti), is introduced as a teaser.
Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Jamie Foxx
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