The Amazing Spiderman was a reboot that no one needed. While many were in the favour of Andrew Garfield pulling on the red and blue spandex, it felt too close to Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire’s successful (well apart from the 3rd one) go at the franchise. It was a movie that wasn’t aided by the strict nature of the spidey origin story, meaning that the whole thing was shrouded by a feeling of deja vu.
Where this latest Spiderman franchise was going to come into it’s own was in the sequel, when they could leave behind that strict structure and strike out on a path of their own. This second movie see’s Garfield’s Spiderman now comfortable in his role as the masked hero, enjoying his life of tackling crime but still dealing with the issues surrounding his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and the dying words of her father. While in the background we have Electro (Jamie Foxx) going from a mild mannered, Spidey obessesed worker at Oscorp to a electronic wielding maniac, a mad Russian mobster by the name of Alexsei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) and a certain Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) (two names that will be well known to fans of the Spiderman universe) all out for blood.
It’s this abundance of villains that has been the main criticism of the film and it’s true that there is a bit of that here. The Harry Osbourne storyline is essentially done to set up future films and feels more like the start of Amazing Spiderman 3, rather than a natural part of 2. Yet the casting of Dane DeHaan almost makes it worth it, as he makes the old Spideman bad guy feel fresh and exciting with his creepy manner. While Sytsevich, who starts the film as a simple mad Russian mobster, allows for an exciting opening sequence as Spiderman chases him through the streets of New York. While Electro as the central big bad does his job of being a tough enough enemy to appear a challenge to our masked hero.
Where this films main strength lies is in Stone and Garfield. Their relationship shines through on the big screen and the two of them are quite frankly adorable as Peter and Gwen. Their separate struggles with father issues may feel slightly clichéd, but they are a strong enough pairing to get through it. Garfield has also fully embraced his role of Spiderman and the film-makers have made a conscious effort to get across the wit that has been an ever present in the comics. There are some genuinely funny moments in the film and the physical comedy of certain sections is some of the best you’ll see in an action movie. This is a Spiderman who feels real, he’s a young guy with the world at his fingertips and he is enjoying revelling in that.
The Amazing Spiderman 2 is obviously not a perfect movie, it has it’s flaws. However, after the slightly damp squib of the first it is a welcome return to form. It’s riotously good fun and even if it is over long and slightly too complicated, it never stops being an enjoyable watch. This is perfect proof that superhero movies can continue to live outside of the Disney Marvel universe and it’s a safe bet that this Spiderman franchise will be continuing for a while yet.