A good Spiderman film is all about the action sequences. There are a lot of other elements that you have to get right but Spiderman is all about the fighting, explosions and cool set-pieces that stay with you way after you’ve left the cinema. Luckily, The Amazing Spiderman 2 has this in abundance.
In fact, this is the one element that blows not only the original but a whole host of other superhero movies out of the water. In a genre where the action set-pieces are getting bigger and bolder with every movie, Amazing 2 is setting the bar quite high.
The key is making Spiderman convincing. The way he moves, swings through the air and effortlessly dodges and then attacks the enemies is a difficult but essential aspect of the superhero. Marc Webb nailed this with the first movie but he outdid himself with the second. Not only has he got the movements and web-slinging perfect, he has added another, unique aspect that works much better – the slow-mo.
Now I know that slow-motion is not a unique element to movies and that Raimi was using it in his Spiderman trilogy but here it’s been stepped up. A scene involving the villain Electro, a bandstand full of people and Spiderman’s attempt to stop him electrocuting them all is made all the much more impressive by slowing everything down and giving us “spidey-view.” It adds an extra element to the scene and to the hero that we haven’t got with Iron Man, Thor or Captain America.
I always stand-by the fact that the villain is key to any superhero movie and that doesn’t change here. Spiderman has two (and a half) villains. I worry when a movie has too many villains and Spiderman has already suffered from this with the third in Raimi’s trilogy but it just about works here.
The key is to separate the key characters rather than have them gang-up on the hero. Electro is by far the better villain in the movie, mostly on spectacle. He is well realised here, with the blue, constantly moving and evolving look they have given Jamie Foxx for the part. He starts slightly too jokey and geeky but once he is fully transformed, he is a genuine, very menacing threat for our hero. The set-pieces that involve Spiderman versus Electro are the best yet.
Unfortunately, Amazing Spiderman 2 is starting to suffer from sequel set-up. That means that the movie dedicates far too much time to setting-up future movies rather than concentrating on this one. That’s where we get under-developed scenes with the other one (and a half) villains in the movie – with hints to their impact in the future films instead.
The story overall is the weakest part of the movie. Its focused mostly on the relationship between Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker and Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey but it’s not offering anything we haven’t already seen. The idea of Peter promising Gwen’s father that he wouldn’t go involve her in his life translates to “my life is too dangerous for you” and we get the on-again, off-again that plagues many other superhero movies.
This can be somewhat overlooked because it’s acted so well and the chemistry between the two leads is fantastic. Add to that some able support from Sally Fields as Aunt May, alongside Foxx and Dane NeHaan as the main villains. You also forget the film’s issues when the action sequences are in full flow and seeing as that is what Spiderman is all about, it makes this the best version of the web-slinging hero we have had on-screen yet.
Overall, a strong sequel to a Spiderman movie I loved already. The cast is great, the villains are a proper match and the action sequences are the best we’ve seen in any superhero film, not just a Spiderman one. The story is the weakest element and it focuses too much on creating a wider franchise but once you see Spiderman swinging around New York, this can be forgiven.
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)