The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ***

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“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is the sequel to the 2012 reboot of the Spider-Man film series. I liked the first film a lot more than I thought I would. I was opposed to seeing our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man restarted so soon after the original trilogy. But it was an exciting superhero flick that focused on story and character over action and effects. The sequel takes a bit of a step back from that focus. It is an entertaining film but I found I could of used maybe less antagonists and more of a compelling story.

As the film opens we catch up with Spider-Man aka Peter Parker, played again by Andrew Garfield, as he is chasing down an armoured car being pursued by multiple police cars. Driving the vehicle is Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) who Spidey experts know assumes the identity of the villain the Rhino. This causes Peter to be late for his own high school graduation ceremony where his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), is giving a speech.

Peter and Gwen’s relationship is complicated. At the end of the first movie, Gwen’s Police chief father asked Peter to stay away from his daughter for her own safety just before he died. This moment haunts Peter through most of the movie. Garfield and Stone’s scenes together are the heart of this movie. They have magnetic chemistry together. Honestly at one point I thought that this should be an indie movie about their romance with no action in it. Can you imagine telling the studio that?

I think my favourite moment in the movie is when Peter and Gwen meet after breaking up. You can tell almost immediately just how much they love each other. The acting and dialogue here are just wonderful. Just when it is about to get truly romantic, Peter’s spider sense goes off. Talk about summing up their whole relationship perfectly. This whole sequence could of been lifted straight from the source material.

Spider-man then rushes off to face the likes of Electro, a villain made almost entirely out of electricity. He is played by Jamie Foxx in a performance that is good but not great due to being tragically underwritten. We meet him early on in the film as he encounters Spider-Man and immediately begins to idolize him. He is a lonely man who lives a quiet life of solitude when an accident with electric eels turns him in to a monster.

Also coming in to Peter’s life is an old friend he hasn’t seen since childhood, Harry Osborn played by Dane Dehaan. Harry’s father Norman, fonder of Oscorp, is dying. He informs Harry that he too is dying from the same disease. He becomes obsessed with Spider-Man by thinking that his blood will some how cure him. He eventually is rushed in to becoming the Green Goblin, so he can rumble with Spider-Man near the end of the film.

You can kind of see what I am getting at here? It is almost like the filmmakers were too bogged down with creating villains to eventually become the Sinister Six. There is just not enough screen time to develop them all properly. “Spider-Man 3” is coming to mind.

Take for example the Rhino. Paul Giamatti plays the character and barely has any lines. He is apprehended at the beginning of the movie, only to be shoe horned in to the final scene as a teaser. This scene at the end is also the worst in the movie. Would the Rhino really stop terrorizing people because a little kid emerges from the crowd. And would that many people really stop and spectate a shoot out involving a giant mechanical suit and missiles? I doubt it.

The director is Mar Webb, who helmed the reboot from 2012. His distinct visual style really makes the movie a joy to watch visually. I did find that they were relying a little too much on CGI at some points during the action scenes but I guess that is a must when one of your characters is made of electricity. I just found he was hampered by a script that tries to include way too much.

My hope for the third film is that they hold off bringing out the Sinister Six. That is just too many villains too early. This series seems to be in too much of a rush all of a sudden. Slow down and tell an engaging story about one or maybe two villains as well as Peter Parker.

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