The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Rise of Electro

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Rise of Electro

The big complaint – well, one of the many big complaints – about the last Spider-Man film was that in rebooting the franchise they tried to cram way too much in. This sequel doesn’t really have any less story – there are three name-brand spider-villains on the rampage here, which conventional movie logic would have you believe is two too many – but at least this time out everyone involved seems to have the information overload under some semblance of control.
Picking up roughly where the last film ended, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is still in love with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), only he’s now all too aware that anyone close to him is in a lot of danger after the death of her father. So they break up, only they’re young and still have the serious hots for each other so clearly they’re going to drift back together and that probably isn’t really a good idea. That’s pretty much the main plot thread here, but there’s a bunch of others, including: Oscorp electricity expert Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) becoming obsessed with Spider-Man after Spidey saves him from a runaway truck, which becomes a problem when he falls into a vat full of electric eels and becomes supervillain Electro; Norman Osborn dies and leaves everything to his son (and childhood friend of Peter) Harry (Dane DeHaan), who gradually becomes obsessed with using Spider-Man’s blood to cure a genetic disease that is slowly killing him; and all that stuff from the first film about what exactly Peter’s dad was doing with his experiments with radioactive spiders continues to play out.
It’s still a bit of a mess story-wise but it’s well-paced, so even when storylines don’t really add up to much they at least move fast and never become confusing. The effects are well-handled, too: there’s loads of Spider-Man eye-views as he swings through the city (with the skyscrapers giving it a sense of scale and perspective you don’t get from Superman’s zooming through the sky), while the fight scenes are largely filmed using wider frames and longer takes than is the norm these days, meaning you can actually tell what’s going on as people swoop and swing around each other.
It’s the characters that hold it all together: this version of Spider-Man is even more about the quips during the fights, and there’s real chemistry between Garfield and Stone (no surprise there, as they’re dating in real life). It’s still a bit of a mess, but it holds together well enough so that when the all-too-obvious signposts for the inevitable spin-offs and sequels crop up in the final scenes, the prospect of more of the same is more intriguing than something to dread.

Written by Anthony Morris