The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise Of Electro
Directed with flair by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 promises to provide the perfect entertainment for teenage boys these holidays. My 13yo accompanied me to the review showing and was the perfect target audience; enjoying the spectacle so much he wants to see it again as soon as possible. As for any stray parents that end up at the theatre, don’t despair – it’s a lot of fun.
Multiple villains, relationship troubles, a search for the truth about his parents, and the return of an old friend make for a complex plot. The film actually had three screenwriters, and this perhaps explains the slightly unwieldy storyline. Graduating from college is the turning point for a seemingly carefree Peter Parker, played to perfection by a wisecracking Andrew Garfield. Signalling perhaps the time for him to grow up, life starts to become increasingly more complicated than merely battling New York crime with occasional breaks for romancing Gwen (Emma Stone).
Peter must battle himself as he tries to honour the dying plea of Gwen’s father to keep away from his daughter. But let’s face it, what red blooded male could resist Emma Stone at her most twinkly? She’s an irresistible flame to Peter’s moth. The on again off again relationship is made even more difficult by Gwen’s sudden plan to leave for London to study at Oxford. Meanwhile Gwen’s place of employ Oscorp is busily producing villains. ‘Electro’ is the result of Jamie Foxx’s downtrodden OsCorp electrician Max Dillon being shocked by a nasty misadventure with some electric eels at work, morphing him into an all powerful electrical monster. Keen to cover up this little mishap, OsCorp ‘disappear’ Max and send him to a lab for experimentation. Cue NZ Actor Marton Csokas as cheesy German mad scientist Dr Kafka – “I am here to understand vot you are und I vill understand you!” Electro is a wonderful comic book creation, all pulsing blue with sizzling sound effects. Even though he is covered in make-up and appearing almost completely CGI at times, Foxx manages to convey Electro’s underlying paranoia and anger brilliantly.
The Green Goblin is the other main villain at large in the movie. Unlike in the Sam Raimi directed trilogy, Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn is the Goblin, rather than taking over the role from his father, the founder of OsCorp. Dane DeHaan is well cast as Harry. His pale eyes are quite eerie, making him both a much more sympathetic character than James Franco’s version, and quite convincing as the unhinged insane creature he becomes following an attempt to cure himself from his father’s hereditary illness. Speaking of the Sam Raimi films, Andrew Garfield is a vastly superior Spider-Man than the slightly drippy Tobey Maguire. Light relief is provided throughout the movie, in particular by a minor villain The Rhino, Paul Giamatti unrecognisable and hamming it up with a classic Russian accent.
Woven into the story is Peter’s search for answers about why his parents abandoned him as a young child with his Aunt May (Sally Field). I found this quite satisfying, as not having read the comic books I have to admit I was curious too. Several questions are answered, and we get to learn more about Peter’s father’s role with OsCorp.
This was the first time I have seen a 3-D movie at Imax. Thrilling leaps from high structures and web swinging between sky-scrapers were so well rendered as to be slightly nausea inducing. It felt at times as though we were perched on Spider-Man’s shoulder. The only criticism would be the feeling at times that instead of a film we were watching a playstation game, due to the sheer amount of CGI effects. There is no shortage of action, New York landmarks feature heavily and come in for quite a bit of electrifying damage. The soundtrack, a collaboration between industry veteran Hans Zimmer and a supergroup dubbed The Magnificent Six, featuring Pharrell Williams and Johnny Marr from The Smiths added to the movie, with many of the characters having their own ‘themes’. The 13yo has already downloaded some of the music.
If you are after an action movie these holidays you won’t be disappointed. Spider-Man is well worth going along to whether or not you have a teenage boy to accompany you. Explosions a-plenty, super villains, heroes and romance and a perhaps unexpected climax come together in a most entertaining way.
Rating: M Violence.
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