“The moments in which Peter joyfully takes down his opponents with a sharp quip and a kick to the face prove that Sony finally comprehend what makes this character work”

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review
By Matt Allen

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Certificate: 12A

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan
Director(s): Marc Webb
Screenwriter(s): Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner
Running Time: 142 minutes

The first in the prematurely rebooted Spider-Man series promised to tell the ‘untold’ story of Peter Parker and suffered significantly for its prolonged re-treading of the web-head’s origin story; a simple tale that was still fresh in the public consciousness and could have easily been reduced to a footnote thereby relieving audiences of a tedious first act. Now, with all that pesky exposition out of the way, the boys over at Sony proceed with their ‘untold’ story of the web-slinger by introducing classic never-before-seen-on-screen villains form Spidey’s rogues gallery (and one that sort of has been on screen…twice…kind of).

Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (aka Andrew Garfield) gets to grips with his new powers but still struggles to come to terms with his abandonment issues and, in the process, pisses off some powerful foes causing those he loves to suffer.

Too many cooks can spoil the broth and equally, too many villains can spoil the plot. TASM2 manages to include three villains (well, two and a half really as the highly publicised Rhino (Paul Giamatti) is on screen for all of five minutes) without overloading the film with bloated origin stories. Unfortunately, they are all a bit on the naff side. The Rhino – who feels the inexplicable need to roar his name before his attack just in case the giant horn didn’t give it away – looks like a bionic version of Silent Hill’s Pyramid Head  and the Green Goblin resembles a Troll Doll on crack.

Jaime Foxx’s Max Dillon aka Electro is undoubtedly the best of a bad bunch. The translucent blue-skinned dubstep demi god (presumably inspired by Watchmen’s Dr Manhattan as one scene in particular would suggest in which Dillon reconstitutes himself into existence from the inside out) provides a formidable challenge and amps up the action (pun totally intended) to new levels. The only criticism here would be the heavy – albeit necessary – use of CGI that, particularly in the final showdown, takes on the appearance of a state of the art video game, the likes of which we will probably not see until the release of the PlayStation7.

Spider-Man himself is on top wise-cracking form, a quality that was severely lacking from the previous trilogy. The moments in which Peter joyfully takes down his opponents with a sharp quip and a kick to the face prove that Sony finally comprehend what makes this character work. It might be tough at times but deep down Parker loves being Spider-Man,

This sequel shares its strongest quality with its predecessor: the Peter/Gwen relationship. The chemistry of Stone and Garfield is ever present and unique in its genuinely fun portrayal of young love. The appointment of Marc Webb – who of course brought us the charming 500 Days of Summer – was nothing short of a stroke of genius. As a result, the romance is not a tiresome formality that needs to be addressed in order for us to  care by the time Gwen is in peril and dangled from a clock tower, and instead becomes one of the highlights of the film.

While diehard fans might be disappointed with the mishandling of some villains, Sony have made some bold moves and make up for any misdemeanours in an unflinching final act.

Maniac Rating - 3 Stars