Review: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Despite the familiar elements, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 surpasses the 2012 reboot with effective blend of spectacular action, strong emotional hooks, bouncy wits and fine cast.

When THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN was screened two years ago, Marc Webb's reboot didn't exactly lived up to its huge expectation which neither topped nor matched Sam Raimi's first SPIDER-MAN back in 2002. Despite the mixed response, Marc Webb was still given a green light to proceed with the inevitable sequel two years later. I wasn't that convinced with Webb's comeback, given his lacklustre display in the reboot but my hope restores when THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 surprised me in many ways. Suffice to say, Webb has corrected many of his past mistakes and manages to improve a lot in this highly entertaining sequel.

Following the event of the reboot, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is still haunted for the death of Gwen Stacy's (Emma Stone) police captain father (Denis Leary) after he made his promise to stay away from his daughter. Unfortunately, Peter failed to keep his promise as he can't seems to let go of Gwen and still dating each other. However, their relationship doesn't last long and eventually leads to break-up because of Peter's promise to her late father. As Peter is trying to move on with his life, his alter-ego, Spider-Man, is now facing a new set of bigger threats in New York City. At first, it was the crazy Russian mercenary Aleksei Sytsevich a.k.a. Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and then, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a shy and nerdy Oscorp electrical engineer who becomes Electro after suffering from an ugly mishap. Then there's Peter's old friend, Harry Osborn (Dale DeHaan), who returns home to take over his dying father, Norman's (Chris Cooper) Oscorp company and suffers a conflict of his own that leads him to an inevitable evil self as the Green Goblin.
After the BATMAN BEGINS-like doom-and-gloom structure that almost crippled THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, Marc Webb and his team of screenwriters (Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner) made a wise choice for putting back all the razzle-dazzle fun that truly captured the essence of the Spider-Man comic book mythology. The action are bigger and more balletic than ever, while the spectacular display of fanciful camerawork during the effects-laden fight scenes are put into great use. Even the way Spider-Man cracking plenty of jokes during the action scenes are entertaining enough to keep you occupied.

But what really makes this sequel better is the way Webb develops and strengthens the complicated love story between Peter and Gwen. Thanks to their terrific chemistry already shown in the reboot, Webb has certainly made their presences worth rooting for.

As Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield has again perfected his role with his winning charm and soulful presence. He pairs well with Emma Stone, who in turn, displays an equally wonderful performance as Gwen Stacy. The usually-charismatic Jamie Foxx is equally credible playing a nerdy role for a change as Max Dillon/Electro, while Dale DeHaan continues to show his impressive acting range as Harry Osborn ever since his breakthrough performance in 2012's CHRONICLES. Although appears only in a small amount of scenes, Sally Field manages to make best use of her role as Aunt May.

The first battle between Spider-Man and Electro in the crowded Times Square; the final showdown between Spider-Man and Electro in the power plant and concluded with the Green Goblin at the clock tower; and the achingly beautiful sequence where Peter Parker stood by the graveyard while the seasons passes by.

Despite all the good stuff, the entire story arc here can't escape that certain sense of deja vu experience. And apart from Foxx's best impression for pulling off a nerdy role, his overall character development fails to deliver much dramatic impact that can make him a memorable villain. Lastly, the inclusion of acclaimed actor like Paul Giamatti in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is supposed to be a great blessing, but his cameo appearance here doesn't leave much lasting impression.

While THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 isn't exactly groundbreaking by any means, it's an excellent sequel that truly lived up to its massive hype.

* This review is written courtesy from Sony Pictures Malaysia IMAX 3D press screening *

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