The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Cast and Crew:
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: Alex Kurtzman (screenplay), Roberto Orci (screenplay)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Plot Synopsis:
Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Review
I saw the comedian Eddie Izzard a few years back. He was good, but you could tell he was most into those points in the show where he pursued a tangent to its illogical conclusion, ran with an idea as far as it would go. There was a vitality to the show then precisely because he was going somewhere he’d not been before.
Problem is, audiences don’t see most popular acts for improvisation. Sure, they maybe want to hear an extended guitar solo here, a climactic end to a song that isn’t like the studio version – but pretty much, people want performers to deliver what they’re known for. After Eddie Izzard let rip into unknown territory, there were calls for him to do his impression of James Mason as God. Which people had already heard. And which Eddie delivered because that’s what people had bought tickets for. He doesn’t get to maintain the level of popularity he has built up by not giving people what they want.
There’s a similar dynamic at work in delivering superhero movies. People have some idea of the hero, and want to see them do the things they’re known for. The costume, the action moves, the powers. Which is reasonable enough. The issue is finding ways to present that package while still having a flicker of originality about the whole.
So, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Which not only faces the problem described, but the additional one of being a revival of a franchise that under Sam Raimi really did do something relatively fresh with the superhero genre.
One thing they’ve got right is some of the casting. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as his lover Gwen Stacey have a connection that allows them to deliver some ho-hum lines with vitality. Same goes for some of the supporting players. Dane DeHaan does a fine job portraying Harry Osborn, bringing the right note of tragedy to a character who is doomed to follow his father and become the new Green Goblin. Sadly, the motivation for doing so is not at all convincing, and the main job he has to do is try to look convincing in his costume, which as with the Rhino’s outfit, is there primarily to sell lots of toys.
The Rhino is emblematic of what doesn’t work with the film. He’s played by a fine actor in the form of Paul Giamatti, but as soon as he straps into the confines of his armour the whole thing just looks like what it is: an extended advert for whatever cross-promotional computer games and toys the film is pimping.
Sad that a good actor in films like this is defined as being able to deliver the dialogue without appearing utterly ludicrous. And there are some scenes with real charm, mostly involving Peter and Gwen and the spark they have, partly down to the performers and also Marc Webb’s direction. His one previous feature is 500 Days of Summer, known for sweet and quirky indie styling. There’s a truly lovely sequence where Peter – as himself, not in superhero guise – uses his abilities covertly to keep his girlfriend safe from bad guys. it’s a bravura piece of cinema that I’d love to see more of, but sadly reality is a glut of CGI and ever-escalating spectacle. Hence, it’s not enough that Spidey restore power to New York at the climax of the film – he has to avert an aeroplane disaster at the same time. And so depressingly on.
The cause of all this mayhem is Jamie Foxx, who certainly looks pretty impressive as bad guy Electro, but has no convincing reason to be doing that villainous stuff. Which is a shame. He’s set up pretty well initially, and a lot of time is spent presenting him as the kind of very human loser that has worked well in comics since Marvel introduced a modicum of characterisation with their new wave of kinda emotionally credible superhero titles like Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and The Hulk back in the sixties.
So: see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 by all means. See it if you want to see stuff chucked around and an elasticated kid in a costume look like a digital pinball bouncing round New York stopping crime. The best bits are the other stuff in the film, which make up maybe 20 minutes of a bloated running time that exceeds two hours, because superheroes need those extra minutes for the extended nonsense they seemingly have to face as the stakes are raised in the final act. I’m hoping one day the stakes will not only be raised, but plunged into the heart of a genre that rarely shows signs of life. Or when it does, it comes in the form of a film like Chronicle that gets its chops from superhero stories, but doesn’t come with the weight of a multi-platform franchise attached. I can dream. Reality is, films like this will clog up the screens for a long time yet, every now and then popping up with a zinger like the Captain America sequel, but mostly offering more mulch like The Amazing Spider-Man 2.