Review: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' is electrifying and stunning

Posted at 05/01/14 11:23 AM

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is a very long movie, lasting for two hours and a half. But as you go out of the theater, you will only remember and talk about one thing -- its most chillingly unexpected climax. But that is getting ahead of me.

In this sequel of the Mark Webb reboot of Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield as the web-slinger, we follow the story of Peter and Gwen (Emma Stone) as they graduate from high school but their relationship gets complicated because Peter's sideline as Spider-Man. Meanwhile, a nerdy engineer in Oscorp, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) accidentally falls into a tank of mutant electric eels gaining him super electrifying powers, later terrorizing the city as glowing blue Electro.

Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) returns to take over Oscorp when his father died, and reconnects with his old friend Peter. But as he desperately seeks out a cure for a deadly familial disease he has inherited from his father, he winds up as the Green Goblin. The two have a big battle in a clock tower, the conclusion of which can stun you enough to forget everything else that happened before it.

The action parts were topnotch with all the wondrous computer-generated special effects from Spider-Man's fancy web-swinging skills to Electro's dazzling pyrotechnics which take up most of the film. DeHaan's appearance as the Green Goblin was rushed, and saw action just in that single short climactic fight sequence towards the end. This Green Goblin definitely looked more sinister than Willem Defoe's Goblin in the first Tobey Maguire film. Paul Giamatti's turn as the mechanized Rhino was only a glorified cameo at best in the epilogue.

Overall though, I felt that while this was a very good film, it just tried to tell a lot of stories, getting carried away with too many ongoing story lines. The whole angle about Peter's dad Richard took a lot of screen time. While undoubtedly of great dramatic importance, I felt this particular story line was handled in an over-complicated manner, unnecessarily making the film feel too long and over-stuffed.

Ultimately though, this film was buoyed up by the wonderful central performances of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, which sets it apart as more than just a mere CG-effects-superhero extravaganza. These romantic parts of the film really work out very well, thanks to the excellent screen chemistry between Garfield and Stone. They had so many zippy and delightful one-liners between them that was fun to watch. Their effective portrayals of the two lovers gave this film a lot of its depth and heart. 7/10.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."