Wow. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is more than just another comic book hero movie. Unlike Marvel films like Captain America where the emphasis is on the action, this Sony venture focuses on the individuals and the consequences of arriving at their own destinations.
Brilliant cast choices pay off big time. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) juggles romance and vigilantism while also maintaining his anonymity. We see a spectrum of emotional states throughout the 2 hours and glimpse the hectic lifestyle the young man leads.
Instead of seeing a guy in a costume we recognise that there is a human there too. One of the more light-hearted scenes sees Spider-Man trying to spook a burglar while he's dealing with a cold.
Aunt May (Sally Field) is not to be underestimated. Her role as mentor/guardian/parent is explored in ways that tie in with the greater narrative. Parker and May share a scene that is heartfelt and very appropriate. It is a pleasant change to witness the human experience in an action movie rather than gloss over it and move on.
Every movie needs its subplot and so we meet Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Gwen is an intelligent and independent woman who is not afraid to help where she can. Gwen defies the blonde stereotype and but she does not necessarily avoid the inevitable damsel-in-distress scenario …
The villain of the piece is not really a bad guy he's just misunderstood. Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) is a goofy electrical engineer who loves Spider-Man a little too much. Max gets himself hurt in the workplace on his birthday. As an employee of Oscorp Industries, this convenient accident in the lab brings a new life instead of death. Max becomes Electro: a creature that absorbs electricity and harnesses it raw power. When he meets his idol again, however, poor Electro feels slighted and reacts to the situation in anger.
Spidey is a spontaneous and wisecracking hero—a lot of his quips are genuinely amusing—and it is interesting that his trivial persona can backfire and help create a problem like Electro.
Another character enters the story to exploit Electro's gifts for the sake of survival. Who is this person? See the movie and find out.
Character motivation hinges on the needs of the individual which is clearly shown for all of the major players in this dangerous game.
Hans Zimmer's score was competent and did well to avoid the throbbing bass-booms that made films like Dark Knight Rises and Inception a little uncomfortable. The music soared at the right moments and was great in general.
The CGI was a little overt for much of the movie which disturbs immersion. If you can get past the fact that some things look fake on-screen then you will be fine. The Spider-Man outfit looks very convincing and all of the acrobatic stuff at the beginning of the film—where he slings and swings and vaults and spins from building-to-building—is an exciting way to think about his perspective. You get a vicarious thrill out of watching the guy shout.
It looks like The Amazing Spider-Man franchise has an exciting future. The leads are young and there is potential for epic multi-movie story arcs similar in vein to what Marvel are doing with their cinematic universe. Stay in your seat at the end to see the X-Men: Days of Future Past teaser.