Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Amazing Spiderman 2

No ordinary Spiderman

"Poor Peter Parker, all alone", taunts a giant humanoid lizard at the end of the first Amazing Spiderman movie. But Dr Connors was wrong; the juvenile web slinger has more connections than any other Marvel character.

If anything, after a quintet of Spidey movies in the last twelve years, the geeky scientist/photographer/hero seemed to be overly exposed. But against this tide of growing audience lethargy, Andrew Garfield returns as Spiderman MK2 in a happily fresh and entertaining comic adaptation.

The arachnid-inspired superhero has not been on this kind of form since Alfred Molina's Doc Ock savaged the spandex-suited Tobey Maguire with his mechanical tentacles. On this occasion, Jamie Foxx provides the main interest as an obsessive nerd who becomes invested with shocking electrical powers after yet another freak accident at Oscorp's science division (when will those guys ever learn?).

Electro is a villain with a more layered personality than most comic book foes. Celebrity status is a condition which he aims to achieve but is unfussy about whether potential fame derives from good or evil deeds. A key scene filmed in Times Square shows how easily this gifted 'weirdo', like his celebrated idol, could have become a hero if only he had been accepted by the public. A misunderstood individual he may be but the idea never becomes painted in such obviously cliché-driven terms.

However, Dane DeHaan's role as multimillionaire Harry Osborn is not treated with the same care as Electro's. Since his character has the most dramatic transformation - from preppy heir to deranged megalomaniac - it is a great shame the writer's could not be more patient with his development. Perhaps his big demise towards insanity would have been better explored if saved for the succeeding film.

This sort-of-sequel has the benefit of being able to avoid the repetition which becomes inevitable when divulging the usual convoluted character origins.  Within the first minute we see our friendly neighbourhood Spiderman in full flow, swinging across the metropolitan skyline in the pursuit of some exceedingly stupid terrorists. Most of the story concerns Parker's troubled relationship with his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Their scenes together work around the more flashy action sequences with affecting pathos and humour. Aunt May is another light supporting role, played with sincerity by the fantastic Sally Field.

As the trailers suggest, Paul Giamatti does briefly appear as a baddie. Nevertheless, the whole pre-publicity concerns over the number of antagonists is conveniently mistaken because giving the Rhino equal billing is like saying Henchman #4 is a Bond villain.

The Amazing Spiderman 2 is a bit of fun which suggests that the story of Peter Parker is still worth being retold. I really hope the third episode in this rebooted franchise (rumoured to be involving Venom - my favourite Spidey villain) can continue the good feeling.


No comments:

Post a Comment