ReviewWriter: Casey ChongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Spider-Man” trilogy and “The Amazing Spider-Man”
After the less-than-amazing reboot of "The Amazing Spider-Man" in 2012 (but still made enough money at the worldwide box office), director Marc Webb returns for a second round with "The Amazing Spider-Man 2". From the look of the heavily-promoted trailers all over the Internet, it looks like as if Marc Webb has realized his mistake for attempting to go the Christopher Nolan route (read: comic-book movie has to be so-called "dark" nowadays) in the reboot style shaped in "Batman Begins"-like mould and finally puts all the 'fun' back into the sequel. Well, trailers can be really deceiving nowadays but rest assured that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is a much improved sequel over the draggy and flawed original.
In this sequel, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is trying to move on with his life after the event of the first movie as he finally approaching graduation day. Although he has made a promise to Gwen Stacy's (Emma Stone) dying father (Denis Leary) that he will stay away from his daughter because of his superhero identity, both of them are still together. However, the death of Gwen's father constantly haunts him from time to time and it doesn't take long before his rekindled relationship with Gwen becomes bumpy. Meanwhile, Peter's alter-ego, Spider-Man, is now facing a new breed of supervillains that threatens to wreak havoc in New York City. One of them is Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx), a nerdy Oscorp employee who becomes Electro. Then there's the psychotic Russian mercenary Aleksei Sytsevich a.k.a. Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Peter's old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), son of Oscorp's founder Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper).
While the plot above may sound like Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3" (as in too many villains crammed into one movie) all over again, director Marc Webb surprisingly manages to pull it off in a satisfying manner. Unlike the more depressing original in the reboot, the sequel is decidedly more colourful and entertaining. The effects-laden action sequences are first-class entertainment, while Webb and his cinematographer Daniel Mindel have a field day playing around with their creative camerawork (e.g. slow motion, suspended-motion effect) to ensure that the action is as dazzling and visually kinetic as possible.
But the real winner here is the way Webb and his screenwriters manage to conjure up a familiar but engaging storyline that offsets the crowded premise filled with too many characters' agendas and backstories. The romance angle between Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker and Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is especially more assuring this time around. In fact, as proven in his romantic comedy debut "(500) Days Of Summer", Webb shows a great flair of developing their love story that's easily relatable to the general audiences with lots of genuine warmth and heartfelt moments.
Speaking of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone continue to show how great and plausible they are playing onscreen couple. Individually, Garfield is perfect for this Peter Parker/Spider-Man role. This reviewer particularly enjoyed the way he displays his playful charm when he cracks jokes during the action scenes or shows a wide range of emotional flare whenever he encounters a series of difficult ordeals. As Gwen Stacy, Stone is equally delightful and earnest in her performance.
As for supporting roles, Dane DeHaan proves to be a worthy successor to James Franco's original role as Harry Osborn from Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy, but Jamie Foxx is wasted in his role as Electro. While he manages to display a certain nerdy outlook to his Max Dillon character, it's pitiful that Webb and his screenwriters failed to make him more than just a misunderstood villain. Still, Webb redeems Foxx's lacklustre performance with two big action sequences where Electro first encounters Spider-Man at the heart of New York's Times Square and again during the show stopping climactic finale. The always-reliable Paul Giamatti, who shows up in a minor appearance as Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino, is nothing more than a glorified cameo.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is a well-worth sequel that surpasses the original in many ways, and this reviewer can't wait to see what Webb and his company would come up next for the confirmed third movie, "The Amazing Spider-Man 3", due in 2016.Cinema Online, 24 April 2014