The Amazing Spiderman



By Christopher Hill –

And along came a spider . . .

For over fifty years, fans have marveled over the evolution of puny Peter Parker to the masked super hero Spider-Man. In each portrayal, he is an everyman living in the extraordinary world of the extreme. In the second installment of the rebooted film franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we find Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) enjoying life as a super hero and as a young adult with his love interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

As is always prevalent in any Spider-Man story, his great power is coupled with great responsibility. The protection of New York City and the people he loves are consistently imperiled by other powered individuals.

In this installment, we find Electro (Jamie Foxx) and an unnamed green villain (no spoilers here) who apparently must exist in any movie named Spider-Man, squaring off against our hero. Rhino (Paul Giamatti) appears briefly at the beginning and ending of the film.

The recently released Captain America film upped the stakes on super hero movies. It’s not just popcorn fare with brain-splitting special effects anymore. Now, story and characters matter just as much as explosions and capes. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 brings the explosions and action to an almost extreme level. The action sequences with Electro are some of the best seen on film. The villainous motivations, however, seem rushed and incomplete, two dimensional in form.

On a more positive note, Andrew Garfield becomes Spider-Man with this film. With quips, spontaneity and fun,  Garfield behaves the way a boy bitten by a radioactive spider should behave – something that was seriously lacking in the four previous attempts. The chemistry between Parker and Stacy shows through the screen and builds to an emotional climax. Adding to the drama, the Parker family backstory is unique and intriguing.

The film needs to be enjoyed in the theater, as the 3D is extraordinary. You soar with Spider-Man feeling every web along the way. You feel as if you are riding shotgun with him as he swings between buildings. The special effects provide truly amazing moments. You can quibble with character motivation and the fact that Spider-Man’s greatest foil, J. Jonah Jameson, is still absent, but if you liked the first one, this one will hit home for you. If you also enjoyed Captain America and wanted another deep story with strong villainous motivation, you are really going to enjoy the special effects.

This review is designed to be more than just a take on the film. It is also a look at the film’s appropriateness for families. There seems to be wide latitude on PG-13, so this reviewer looks at things that may influence your decision to go to the film and who to take.

Violence: Yes, lots of it. Cartoon-based violence and the occasional Spider-Man wise crack keeps things light, but there is maximum carnage in this one. There is, however, an emotionally packed scene and a villain origin that could be troubling for younger viewers.

Language: No foul language.

Sexuality: No nudity. Romantic suggestions but nothing objectionable.

Now Showing:  In Local Theatres

MPAA Rating:  PG-13