Entering a market crawling with superhero movies and comic book film adaptations, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a lot of questions to answer to. Is there any need for a reincarnation of the Spider-Man franchise less than a decade after the previous one? And if so, could this adaptation possibly offer anything new and noteworthy? Marc Webb’s newest contribution to the superhero genre answers these questions with a resounding ‘yes’.
The greatest success of this movie is undoubtedly the casting choice of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone in the lead roles. Garfield manages to reinvent Spider-Man as a superhero with all the energy and clumsiness of an eighteen year old, whilst endearing viewers to his character with certain moments of real vulnerability. Stone’s character is also compelling in a certain speech about hope and the future, whilst proving solidly that she is no typical damsel in distress.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 retains the goofy and awkward sense of humour that was at the heart of its 2012 predecessor, but adds a new depth of maturity that sets it apart and marks a huge leap forward for character development in the franchise. The basis of this new maturity is largely the attention paid by Webb to Peter’s relationships to the most important people in his life, both those present and deceased: Gwen, his aunt, and father.
Whilst Peter and Gwen’s relationship in the 2012 film was perhaps constricted by their roles as teenager high school students, this newest addition provides some much needed conflict. Peter and Gwen are now graduation students, and are faced with some of the challenges any such couple would encounter, such as the uncertainty of their relationship in the face of significant change. In addition to this, Peter’s struggle with the aftermath of the death of Gwen’s father also creates some interesting character dynamics. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also succeeds through continuing focus on Peter’s quest to understand his father’s absence and actions as a scientist.
In terms of action and baddies, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan are suitable villains as Electro and Green Goblin, and certain effort is clearly made to portray them as not entirely willing villains, but as people who turn to such methods as result of seeing no other way out. Foxx was especially entertaining as the ignored Oscorp worker with a Spider-Man obsession. Whilst DeHaan made the most of his character’s spiral into violence, the character arc felt at times rushed and not given enough attention, and did not necessarily give audiences anything we hadn’t seen in previous installment.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gives viewers an acceptable and predictable dose of fast-paced action and humour, and doesn’t really provide anything innovative in that regard. However, what makes this movie ultimately worth seeing is the attention paid to character relationships and the successful and compelling pairing of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.