By Emmanuel Gutierrez |Staff Writer|
Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, completes high school—late to his own graduation ceremony fighting Russian mobsters—and is haunted by his broken promise to Captain Stacy, which was “Leave Gwen out of it.”
Now a fully realized hero, comfortable in skin and confident in power, Spider-Man leaps and swings through Manhattan, scaling skyscrapers and heaving cars with utter ease and fluidity.
Garfield’s portrayal of Spider-Man is the definitive performance. His energy and enthusiasm faithfully reproduces how the character breathes and verbalizes in the comics—transcending the barrier that all masked performances impose.
Not once did the illusion lift nor did I feel I was watching a stuntman in the hope inspiring red and blue spandex in place of Peter Parker because his distinct, playful mannerisms adhered to his quirky banter, which is perhaps the ultimate compliment to a masked character.
Gwen Stacy, played by the delightful Emma Stone, is independent and ambitious with aspirations of her own that do not prioritize her high school boyfriend before her future.
The opportunity to attend Oxford University across the pond becomes a possibility and she decides upon her own destiny. Everything she does, she does of her own accord.
The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is undeniable. I refer to this movie as an action romance more so than a superhero film because the intimate moments between Peter and Gwen are the soul and core of the film.
Webb generously sprinkles in humorous moments and dazzling action sequences, but his greatest feat is the Peter-Gwen relationship which is heart-fully executed in a manner reminiscent of his first film “500 Days of Summer.”
Dane Dehaan plays Harry Osbourne—cynical, pampered rich kid suffering from neglect and Daddy issues. He and Peter rekindle their elementary school friendship after venting frustrations arising from their fatherless childhoods.
Bitter Osbourne seeks Spider-Man’s help, eager to escape his genetic destiny of premature death. Harry believes Spider-Man’s blood may be the key to saving his life—only to be neglected once more.
Max Dillon, Spider-Man’s obsessive number one fan becomes Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, is perhaps the weakest element of the film, which is an utter travesty considering he is the main antagonist in the film.
Foxx’s performance is solid, however, his role at times is inorganic and awkwardly accelerates to the foreground.
Despite this disappointment, Electro still conveys an intimidating embodiment of rage and vengeance thanks to his godlike abilities and stunning visual effects.
The mise-en-scene, especially during the battle sequences, offers visually stimulating set pieces composed of inky black surroundings juxtaposed by Electro’s vibrant, ethereal lightning bolts and static shock waves.
If possible, view the film in 3-D. Swinging from Spider-Man’s point of view would not be so satisfying, so rich and meretricious if not for the sensation of measurable depth.
The “spider-sense” scenes—time freezes and we gain perspective of all the stimuli reacting and maneuvering within the environment, just as Spider-Man would—are engrossing (utilizing elaborate single shots) and genuinely awesome thanks to 3-D.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, while not amazing, is emotionally weighty and an arresting joyride. It falters with awkward pacing, jarring transitions, and a disappointing main villain, but soars in chemistry and action. I would give it a 4 out of 5 Paws.