The Amazing Spider-Man 2
***
Directed by Marc Webb
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field and Paul Giamatti
142 minutes

Peter Parker returns to wear the Spiderman’s suit and to try to reconcile his fight against extraordinary crime with fairly ordinary problems: graduation, taking care of his aunt and protecting his girlfriend Gwen. Still recovering from the death of captain George Stacy (which happened in the first movie), Peter decides to break up with Gwen; meanwhile, Harry Osborn is back in Manhattan and has inherited the entire Oscorp empire. However, he is also dying of a hereditary illness, which seems to have no other cure than Spiderman’s blood. Scared of how horrible its side effects could be, Peter refuses to comply. In the midst of all of this, a new terrible enemy threatens the city: Electro… 
 

The Spiderman saga may not be amazing per se, but it does continue to entertain and it is respectful of its core story and characters. While recent movies like Robocop heavily rely on their loud spectacle, it is a nice surprise to finally see a film with a delicate balance between its several action sequences and the silence that comes from more personal and intimate scenes.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not afraid of halting its pace and spends time on Peter Parker “the individual”, his sacrifices, insecurities and mistakes. It is a simple story that tells us that it is not easy to be twenty years old and feel the weight of the whole world on your shoulders – this seems to be the tagline of this entire Marvel saga, whether it has Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield as its protagonist. “With great power, comes great responsibility,” said Maguire in 2002.

The movie has a bittersweet taste when it comes to final messages. For it is the utopian dream that it is possible to have everything (in this case keeping Gwen while being Spiderman) that makes the final tragedy inevitable and yet so relatable, that is, Gwen’s death. But this Spiderman is more than a love story. It is the reconciliation of a son with the parents he never met — the same parents who sacrificed their life in order to protect him. It is the realization that he is not alone, because Sally Field will never abandon her nephew.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 is many things, maybe a tad too many. The narrative arc between Peter and Harry is still underdeveloped, and it is difficult to believe a friendship that we do not see being born or evolving. It is even harder to feel any real emotions towards Harry’s final betrayal… After all, we never really got the chance to meet him.

Webb’s Spiderman is both entertaining and thoughtful, but the core question remains: was it really necessary to have so many story lines in one movie?

Problematic elements: scenes of moderate violence and tension.

Gaia Violo did her undergraduate studies in Classics at University College, London (UCL) and is now a graduate student in Screenwriting at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). 

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.