It’s no secret that Marvel has got game when it comes to superhero movies. The Avengers (2012) was a run away success along with how much Robert Downey Jr. makes every year – he is Hollywood’s current highest paid actor don’t you know – ergo, Marvel knows how to work the brand. That being said, I have never really felt that The Amazing Spider-Man franchise was part of the much larger world they were building even though it definitely should be.
What does ‘TASM 2’ feel like then? It feels like the second part of an origin story.
While Peter had definitely hit his stride with his acts of heroism and sassy swagger, artfully portrayed by Andrew Garfield, he was still very lost in his personal life. Finally discovering the true reason for his parents absconding in the night, Peter gained another piece of his puzzle and his origin gets a little less murky. With his family ties vindicated, that just leaves Gwen. While a hero’s struggle with having a life outside of being a hero isn’t anything new, this is where Emma Stone really shone. Her incredulity to Peter’s behaviour was stark against the amazed faces of the crowd but at the same time it was wonderful to see how she plays Gwen’s realisation of the role that Spider-Man fills in people’s lives. Great stuff.
Now something that I didn’t enjoy in this TASM origin: part deux was the spectre of George Stacy. Had I just watched the first film I’m sure I would have felt differently towards his ghostly presence, but given the time and space between movies, it felt a little strained and somewhat misplaced. Particularly, since it was Peter’s decision to flout Captain’s Stacy’s wishes and date Gwen that caused him to see Stacy in the first place. The whole concept serves to explore the guilt Peter feels but all it ends up doing is undermining it — because how guilty can Peter feel if he keeps making the same choices over and over again? However, as a plot device it is justifiable because it exists to pay off the most heart wrenching scene of the movie: Gwen’s premature death, just like her father predicted. Her death brings us full circle and completes the cycle that The Amazing Spider-Man introduced: the birth of a hero. With Peter’s dues finally paid, I’d be interested to see what tone a possible Amazing Spider-Man 3 would bring.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars. As a Spider-Man fan, I’m always happy to see how they adapt and appropriate the source material but, for me, Foxx as a villain was a bit wishy washy and Dane DeHaan was a better Harry than Green Goblin.