Sunday, July 9, 2017

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The sequel to the reboot expands on the backstory of Spider-Man's parents and introduces new villains in an unsuccessful attempt to build a Spider-Man universe. After a brief prologue about his parents, Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) swings through the city, a lot more comfortable in his role as a hero as he fights the criminal Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti). In the process, he saves the electrician Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx). Late for his own graduations where valedictorian Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) gives a speech, Peter Parker swings in just in time having stopped the criminal from getting away with stolen plutonium. Living at home with Aunt May (Sally Field), Peter struggles to continue to be a hero and keep his identity a secret as the city has mixed feelings about him.

Max Dillon is obsessed with Spider-Man making up voices for him as he readies for work and imagining scenarios where he worked with him. Gwen Stacy also works at Oscorp whose founder Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) has died, leaving the corporation to his son Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). Max stays behind at Oscorp tower to fix a power problem, is shocked, and falls into a tank of water filled with electric eels. Harry takes control of Oscorp assigning Felicia (Felicity Jones) a top role but taking time to socialize with his childhood friend, Peter. As Oscorp tries to cover up his death, Max Dillon awakes as Electro, possessing an out of control electrical ability.

The story takes a moment to focus on the romance between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Peter has issues with dating Gwen after her father made him promise to stay away so that she wouldn't be in danger yet he continues to stalk her. Gwen plans to go to England on a research program. Spider-Man fights Electro in a spectacular Times Square action sequence, finally subduing him with a water blast from a hose. Peter researches his father's past and webbing that can withstand electric shock until Harry calls him wanting to access the blood of Spider-Man for a cure to his genetic disease. Gwen also stumbles upon secrets at Oscorp like the cover up of Max's death. In Ravencroft prison, Electro is tortured by the mad scientist Dr. Kafka (Marton Csokas).

Peter tries to convince Gwen to stay in New York and finds his father's secret hideout. Harry also discovers his father's secret about Oscorp including a serum to make him strong and crazy. He frees Electro and together they take over Oscorp and New York City. With civilians in danger, Spider-Man uses the help of Gwen Stacy to prepare his webbing and fights Electro at a power grid. Spider-Man almost loses until Gwen shows up to help him overcharge Electro, so he explodes, and return the power to the city. Their victory is short lived because the Green Goblin arrives and captures Gwen. Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin and tries to save Gwen but she falls to her death.

While the film boasts some stunning action visual and a decent character romance, this reboot was unable to extend the franchise further. The sequel is torn between telling a captivating story and delivering enough setup for multiple further sequels that it forgets to focus the current story. The tragedy of Peter losing Gwen probably prevented this film from being a family-friendly hit as this was supposed to be darker reboot than the campy original. I wanted to see what happened if this story was extended as the multiple villains like the Rhino grow up out of Harry's revenge. It time the Spider-Man story comes close to delving deep into the world and possibly approaching the best villains, the series is rebooted, now on a third version currently in theaters. 

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