Spidey’s No Run-of-the-Mill Superhero
By Skip Sheffield
Spider-Man is no run-of-the-mill super hero. Spidey’s got heart and soul as portrayed by Andrew Garfield.
This is Garfield’s second time around as the Spandex-suited good guy in the unimaginatively-titled “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
This is also the second time around for director Marc Webb, who directed the first “The Amazing Spider-Man” in 2012 and was responsible for one of my favorite movies of 2009: “(500) Days of Summer.”
It was that film that proved Webb’s grasp of the fleeting, elusive nature of romantic love. This sequel to the 2012 re-launch returns Garfield to the dual role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Emma Stone as his girl friend Gwen Stacy. The star-crossed lovers are graduating from Mid Town Science High School and planning for college.
It is that graduation that starts the story off with a shot. Brainy Stacy is school Valedictorian and is scheduled the deliver the keynote address. Peter is busy saving New York City from various catastrophes and is running late for his own graduation.
“Spidey 2” is surprisingly funny and jammed with CG special effects, but its heart is the relationship between Peter and Stacy. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is palpable. It comes as no surprise they are a couple in real life.
Denis Leary returns as Stacy’s disapproving cop dad, Capt. Stacy. It is he who provides the initial conflict in their storybook love affair.
Peter’s aunt (Sally Field) is still mourning the death of her husband, Peter’s Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), who was killed off in the first film.
Peter is still trying to solve the sudden disappearance of his parents when he was 10. It is linked somehow to the leviathan Oscorp, whose co-founder Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) is dying of a fatal genetic disease.
The mantle is passed to Osborn’s son Harry (Dane DeHaan) who was a childhood of Peter’s before being shipped off to private school. Harry becomes the new head of Oscorp at age 20, but the real power behind the throne is wielded by board president Donald Menken (Colm Feore), who has dark intentions for the company’s future.
“Spidey 2” was filmed completely in New York, and it makes wonderful use of real and imaginary locations in New York City. Set pieces include real vintage subway tokens, an abandoned subway station and imagined skullduggery on Roosevelt Island.
Jamie Foxx is great fun as nerdy electrical engineer Max Dillon, who after and accident that lands him in a pool of electric eels, morphs into the hulking, enraged Electro. "Sparkles" as he is called has a particular grudge against Spidey. So does Harry Osborn, soon to devolve into a Green Goblin.
Sally Field’s part is not large, but she makes the most of it with a heartfelt pep talk to Peter that centers on hope.
Hope is what Spider-Man gives to people. He may be imaginary but the message can’t be bad.