Kyle J. Steenblik

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a complex and satiating adventure.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is, in my opinion, the best of the Spider-Man movies, and one of the best superhero films so far.  They break away from what could be argued as the standard structure for a superhero film as much as possible.  It is going to be a definite challenger to Captain America in the box office, and for my money, I think it will win.  Captain America was a very good movie; it hit just the right notes, and left the audience riding high.  Spider-Man 2 hits those same notes, with substantive dissonance between the chords.  It is not the surgery high of Captain America, like a really good cup of hot chocolate; it is much more like a really good cup of coffee.  My apologies, I’m a little hungry as I write this so there may be a few food analogies in here.  I also apologize for the repeated comparisons to Captain America, the two films are actually very different, but it does sometimes help to find a common point of reference.  I should, if I make any comparisons, I should compare this to the first Amazing Spider-Man.

Everything they did right in the first Amazing Spider-Man, they did a little better in the sequel.  Peter Parker’s moral compass has become more finely tuned, and we are spared from the prolonged development of his conscience as a hero.  What we do see is his struggle to keep this conscience in balance with his life as Peter Parker.  The suit seems to act as a shield for him; I don’t recall him wavering once he put on the mask.  The emotional notes his film hits are beautiful.  Andrew Garfield turns in a captivating and fully convincing performance.  It is easy to see he knows and loves this character.  While we haven’t had an abundance of Peter Parkers, and Spider-Men, he is now my favorite performer to inhabit the role.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 begins where the first began, the night Richard and Mary Parker leave peter with Aunt May and Uncle Ben.  This time we see what happened to Richard Parker.  The film then jumps to the present day where Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) is swinging around the city fighting crime and saving kids, and just being an all-around good guy.  In the course of his heroics, he saves his number one fan, a meek electrical engineer Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), before barely making it to his own high school graduation.  Later that evening Peter Parker regretfully ends his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), Peter’s childhood friend, returns to see his terminally ill father where Harry learns his father’s illness is hereditary.  After Norman Osborn’s death, Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.  When Harry starts to show symptoms of this illness, he uses the information given to him by his father to examine OsCorp’s genetic research.  He discovers the modified spiders that created Spider-Man were created to cure Norman Osborn, but were recently destroyed.  He believes Spider-Man’s blood can save him.

Later, Max falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels while repairing an electrical circuit in an OsCorp laboratory.  Max mutates into a powerful being that consumes, and controls electricity.  Max wanders into Times Square and accidentally causes a blackout.  Spider-Man attempts to calm him down, but the police fire on Max, causing him retaliate but Spider-Man stops him.

Now if I go any further I will be giving away too much, and there are some great surprises, especially for longtime fans.

Not everything is perfectly executed in this film; I think they just tried to do too much.  While I am impressed with what they did, and how well they did it.  There are moments and elements that feel like they don’t really belong in this film, or were included as incomplete ideas.  Now I also believe they created some leads and false leads for future stories, so it may just look like incomplete ideas.  Or it could simply be Sony attempting to write as much into the film as possible to retain the rights to every single character they can.  I’d actually love to get specific, but I also don’t want to spoil anything.  I should say none of the rust, incomplete, or ill-fitting elements ruined the film for me.  A few wrong notes won’t destroy the symphony.  Not that it was a symphony; it was more like a concerto.

Since I brought up music, I would like to take a moment to talk about how much I enjoyed the musical score of this film.  It was integrated into the visual effects and the characters in a surprisingly immersive way.  There were moments when I was surprised by how rhythmic and musical the sound effects and dialogue were.  I’m a sucker for a really good film score, and this is one that caught me.

The Amazing Spider-Man was complex, plot-heavy, and almost overwhelmed the audience.  Director Marc Webb made some strong choices, and I think it paid off with a strong multi-layered film.  9.5 out of 10

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