Last updated: May 07. 2014 7:08PM - 36873 Views
Review by David Adams



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The Story


“Make your life count for something,” says high-school valedictorian Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone). “No matter how bad it gets or how lost you feel, promise me you’ll hold on to hope.” Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield), arrives just in time to get his degree and have serious conversation with Gwen about their future together. He’s been dealing with a runaway 18-wheeler with Russian bad guy (Paul Giamatti) behind the wheel. That’s how it goes in “The Amazing Spider-Man – 2” (TASM2), fifth film in Spidey’s 12-year career on screen: bad guys (four, by my count) to battle and young-adult angst to sort out. Peter enjoys being Spider-Man, but his other life, as he says, “is complicated.”


Will Spider-Man defeat Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), Dr. Kafka (Marton Csokas), and Rhino (Paul Giamatti)? Can Gwen and Peter stay together? Does kindly Aunt May (Sally Field) ever discover Peter’s alter ego? For answers, see TASM2.


The Actors


Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone return as high-school sweethearts Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey. Peter, as Spider-Man, fights crime in NYC (“You know what I love about being Spider-Man? Everything!” he says). She, as fatherless Gwen Stacey, is smartest in her class. She knows Peter’s secret and, luckily, aced physics, remembering, just when she needs to, how to reset Manhattan’s electric grid. Sally Field returns as ever-patient Aunt May who wonders why Peter’s wash — when he does it — always turns red and blue.


Others in the cast include Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Marton Csokas and, unrecognizable, Paul Giamatti. They play, respectively, Electro, Oscorp industrial-accident creation, Harry Osborn, aka Green Goblin, Dr. Kafka, mad scientist, and Rhino, Russian mafioso in a one-man tank. Colm Feore plays duplicitous Donald Menken. Chris Cooper and Martin Sheen appear briefly as fathers of Harry and Peter. Stan Lee is a graduation guest.


Other Comments


TASM2 is comic-book action, conflicted super-hero and multiple bad-guys entertainment. Good news, if you’re a fan, but still diverting for the rest of us. Written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci from characters created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, it’s directed by Marc Webb who keeps the action going and its many plot lines more or less clear. Father-son themes prevail, especially Peter and Harry’s absent-father issues. Peter’s discovery of his father’s last testimony (“People will say I’m a monster for what I’ve done. Maybe they’re right,” his father says.) is one of the movie’s coolest scenes.


Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, TASM2 runs 144 minutes. Parts 3 and 4 are in the works for 2016 and 2018, so plan ahead.


Final Words


Reboot number two —


Good news if you’re a fan!


Peter, Gwen, four bad guys —


“Amazing Spider-Man”!


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