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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you’re probably aware that a certain sequel is imminent. Spider-Man, once the butt of all of our favourite jokes (Tobey Maguire in that dancing scene, anyone?) is rapidly becoming everyone’s favourite superhero, thanks to the creative talent of Marc Webb and a helping hand from rising star Andrew Garfield. Thanks to Odeon, I managed to snag a ticket to the World Premier on Thursday, and can promise that the sequel to the 2012 sensation The Amazing Spider-Man is no disappointment to the genre. With sharp thrills, developed villains and the same witty dialogue we recognise from the previous film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers on all fronts, effortlessly winding fast-paced action scenes and gut-wrenching emotion in the 152 minute runtime.

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - May 28, 2013

Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy

Standout performances include Garfield (of course), portraying Parker’s new-found confidence thanks to the events of the first film. Spider-Man, a feared menace to the public in the first instalment, now takes part in epic fight scenes around New York to thunderous applause, often under the eyes of love interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Stone also shines in her role, rejecting traditional comic book ‘damsel-in-distress’ roles and cementing Gwen as a character willing to pull her own punches and get involved in the climactic scene (which comic book fans may be anticipating)- the clash of Spider-Man versus the Green Goblin. Garfield and Stone’s on-screen chemistry is as powerful as ever, as the two navigate their rocky relationship. Arguing in one scene, teasing about cliché hiding places in the next, the sweet yet complicated love story of the pair is enough to give anyone emotional whiplash.

The choice to replace the familiar Norman Osborn in the role as Spider-Man’s most famous enemy with his son may sit uneasy with die-hard fans, but Norman does make an appearance, and rest assured that there appears to be much more to the man than presented. Norman Osborn as Green Goblin will not be happening in this franchise, but his character is undeniably connected to the bomb-throwing madman. The switch between father and son comes as a welcome change- DeHaan is outstanding in this role, not dissimilar from his breakout role in 2012’s Chronicle as Andrew, and plays the troubled friend trope with a sliver of hatred that makes his performance unforgettable. Though Jamie Foxx’s Electro can probably be considered the main antagonist, DeHaan dominates the film- even James Franco’s stab at the role previously is dwarfed.


That said, Electro cannot be ignored in discussion of this film. The weedy Max Dillon’s transformation into the formidable villain is the focus of a good part of the action, and his final ‘form’ shows off some impressive special effects. However, Electro seems in some ways to be a wasted character- his motives are developed, his powers shown, but there appears to be something missing. He is eventually downgraded into a sidekick of sorts, providing the brawn behind the persuasive skills of Harry Osborn. This team-up appears to elevate the villain status of Osborn while downgrading Electro into Spider-Man’s first boss level, a rung on the ladder to the Goblin/Spidey fight that is obviously coming. The promise of more adversaries is apparent – Rhino (Paul Giamatti) is introduced in the first scene, but doesn’t don the impressive suit, or even re-appear, until the final sequences, and nods to the Sinister Six and Venom pave the way for Sony’s announced spin-offs.

We appear to be heading into the age of comic book adaptations – Marvel’s wildly successful Avengers franchise, the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy and DC’s retaliation in the form of Batman vs Superman promise several years of action-packed films featuring all of our favourite heroes, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stands out for me as a cut above the rest. Sony has already announced plans for further sequels in 2016 and 2018, and I’m already counting down the days.

Alex is an English student at MMU. She is passionate about good coffee, boring films and ridiculously long books. She would like her writing to be seen and hopefully one day published. You can read her blog here.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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