Recorded messages, holograms, lawyers, ailing relatives, YouTube videos, and long-lost-friends: it seems like everyone in The Amazing Spiderman 2 gets their chance to explain a piece of the plot. There’s scientific research that must be described, genetic disorders, pieces of American history, how electricity works, and who has the worst memories of their dysfunctional family. Backstory and sci-fi notes are laid down like one Wikipedia summary on top of the other throughout the entire first half of the movie. Between these ninja-esque teaching moments, The Amazing Spiderman 2 does offer some fun character interactions and some fantastic effects, all set within the bright, bustling streets of New York.
The city never sleeps probably because its eye is permanently peeled for Spiderman (Andrew Garfield). I’m amazed at how quickly spectator barricades appear each time a villain starts to tear up a street. In this Spiderman adaptation, everyone cheers for the web-slinger: pedestrians love him, kids love him, cops love him, arachnophobes love that a symbol of their fear hangs from every public building in sight. Well… maybe not that last one. Unquestionably, though, the one who loves him most is Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). She is a smart, helpful, supportive girlfriend right up until Peter’s sanity wavers under the mystery of his father’s death, then Gwen is off like a rocket to England. Still, whenever she and Peter have a scene together it is nothing but pure chemistry.
Chemistry also shows up in the more safety goggle/lab coat form of Electro (Jamie Foxx). He is the fan-turned-supervillain who just wants to be noticed by those around him. The quick fix to his problem is an unscheduled tumble into a tank of electric eels (don’t try this at home) which turns him into a walking blue glow stick. Being a spotlight in the public eye is wonderful for about 60 seconds, before his electric powers and fish-like looks start scaring innocent bystanders, and Oscorp has to throw him in an asylum. Jamie Foxx splits his acting time between the shy, unassuming, schizophrenic, Max, and the luminous blue Electro. The effects budget for Electro spared no expense, warping everything from his teeth to his voice to give him that fluorescent, almost aquatic look. I found his appearance and the visual display of his sparky powers very impressive.
The other twisted character in this film (there are a fair few) is Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). Unlike Electro who suffers an accident and immediately flips the crazy switch, Harry’s genetic condition slowly drives him to desperation. DeHaan does a great job in this role, and plays the adult-child with natural skill. The catalyst that tips him over the edge, however, is a little unbelievable. He suffers from the same fatal skin condition as his father, and is worried his final day is right around the corner (even though he knows Osborn Sr. lived until at least 55). Death-by-hickey may be a rough way to go, but calm down, Crazy, you’ve got some time. His rare disease is never fully explained, which is ironic in a movie with so much exposition. You’d think they could slip in a line or two about why the Osborns mature into lizards.
Spiderman is famous for being hilarious in the face of deadly airborne objects, and this version is no different. There’s a lot going on in The Amazing Spiderman 2, all set at a jogging pace and backed by fancy effects. I give it 6.5 holographic info tidbits out of 10.
Follow the link for the trailer.