If you take a look at the superheroes gracing the silver screen as of late, there’s quite a variety. Batman recently left our graces after a trilogy of darkness. Iron Man, however, is fun and flirty, thanks to Robert Downey Jr.. Superman is sexy but boring; I’ve always though he had too many powers. Captain America is your all-American science experiment, and Thor is a hulky alien. The X-Men are a ragtag bunch of mutants. Then there’s Spider Man, a teenager bitten by a radioactive spider who is a combination of the best parts of other superheroes.
The Amazing Spider Man 2 swung into theaters May 2, 2014 after a two year break from the first installment. The Amazing series is already a reboot of Sam Raimi’s 2000s Spider-Man series starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, which did well in the box office, but Maguire’s Spidey was too nice, too clean cut, too boring; and Dunst is awkward to watch on screen. The reboot was a good choice, as it took Maguire’s lackluster Spidey into the witty teenager he’s supposed to be, and made me a fan of the superhero.
The sequel picks up right where the first one left off, with Andrew Garfield’s sleeker-suited web-slinging superhero flying through the streets of New York City, choosing to fight crime rather than attend his high school graduation. The sequence is fun and energetic to watch, and the flying scenes are a cinematic feat, as they make the viewer feel as if he, too, is flying and swooshing through the city.
The villains are typical Spider Man villains – scientifically mutated with the help of Oscorp resources, hoping for recognition or a way to save their own lives. Jamie Foxx plays Max, the shy Oscorp employee who just wants to be remembered and noticed, who then suffers a mishap and becomes the villain Electro. Dane DeHaan takes over James Franco’s role in the 2000s series as Harry Osborn, who eventually becomes the Green Goblin. While the ending featured a series of Spider Man – villain fights that became redundant and predictable, the development of the villains from nice guy to evil was the saving point. While they were villains, there were times you wanted to root for them, and were happy to see them succeed. Other times, however…
Then there was the highpoint of the film, at least for me: Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, played by real-life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. I’ve always been a fan of Stone, and Garfield has proven himself as a strong actor, particularly in The Social Network, where he played opposite narcissist Jesse Eisenberg, and actually made the film bearable to watch. The chemistry between the two is a nuanced and beautiful thing to watch, in particular a tete-a-tete scene which has Garfield tweaking Stone’s nose and Stone commenting on Garfield’s doe eyes. They make the relationship believable (well, duh!), and you can feel the emotions rolling off them.
Garfield’s portrayal of the iconic New York superhero is fun and light, and fits with the quirky, witty, teenager aspect of the character. He’s a superhero, but he’s having fun with it. He isn’t sullen, and even his moody scenes whilst discovering the mystery surrounding his father are interesting to watch. His rapport with the great Sally Field, who plays Aunt May, is realistic and enjoyable to watch as well.
Stone’s Gwen Stacy is a change from the normal superhero female of desire. She is strong, independent, and smart. While Peter, as Spider Man, is fighting villains in New York, she is giving the valedictorian speech at her high school graduation. When Peter tells her to get away from the danger, she refuses and instead chooses to fight alongside him, consequences be damned. She makes her own decisions regardless of the people in her life, and she’s absolutely adorable while doing so.
For a summer action superhero film, The Amazing Spider Man 2 is a fun choice, with plenty of action, humor, and mystery to get lost into. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, giving it an 8/10 on my “Entertainment Rating Scale” rather than my “Film Snob Rating Scale,” which would probably be closer to a 4. Boyfriend gave it a 9.