'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' caught in its own web
In the sequel to "The Amazing Spider-Man" reboot from 2012, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone return as the high school sweethearts with a secret. Her boyfriend, Peter Parker, is also a crime fighting superhero, and she knows it.
The best parts of "Spider-Man 2" involve Peter and Gwen Stacy's relationship. Garfield captures the essence of Peter Parker, cute and funny, yet haunted by a past he doesn't understand. He also has some hurdles in his relationship since Gwen's father in the last Spider-Man warned Peter to stay away from his daughter.
Stone as Gwen plays cute-flirty when she's Peter's paramour and capable when she's on the other side of a villain. Garfield and Stone's chemistry on screen reads like a modern day Tracy and Hepburn.
The movie, however, has so many layers of a so-called plot that it feels as heaped upon as the multiple piles of NYPD cars that get destroyed during the course of the 2 ½ hour movie. There's Peter trying to figure out what happened to his parents and why they left him; Gwen figuring out if she should take a brainy scholarship to Oxford and leave Peter and move to England. Heck, even Aunt May (Sally Field) has a dilemma — she's hiding her training to be a nurse from Peter. There are also layers upon layers of other plotlines to figure out— the secret scientific testing that Oscorp is harboring; the founder of the company's death from an odd disease, his snot-nosed son who resents his father for sending him away to boarding school, and the meek electrical engineer who is ready to go postal at any minute.
There are also more than enough villains to keep track of – the villainous star of this incarnation is an Oscorp employee who ends up having an electrical accident (it's gory, yet cool) and returns to the world of the living as Electro ( played by Jamie Foxx looking absolutely intimidating). As a regular Joe, he hero worshipped Spidey, but as Electro, he's out to get him.
After we've been stung around the streets of New York by Electro, another villain shows up. This time, it's the Green Goblin, then after that it's a bad guy in a metal Hippo suit.
"Spiderman 2" has some amazing special effects, and Electro is one of the best villains in the franchise in terms of the rendering, but like the webs that Spiderman weaves there's too much to get caught up in. The cohesion the past Spider-Man films have had in terms of being able to smoothly segue from the personal Peter Parker to the crime fighter Spider-Man are clunky in the sequel.
Here's the way to really enjoy this film: sit back and take in the visuals and forget about trying to figure out the who's who.
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