Certificate 12A, 142 minutes
Director: Marc Webb
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man and sees Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) return as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. As with the first film, this one starts around the time of the break-in at the Parker's house, when Peter was left with his aunt and uncle. The sequence in this film actually starts slightly before, as Peter's father, Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) is destroying both the records of his research and the experimental spiders at OsCorp Genomics, before leaving Peter behind while he and his wife, Mary (Embeth Davidtz), flee in a plane. This covers what happened to them and gives some more background information.
Back to the present day and Peter's relationship with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, Birdman, Zombieland) is a bit shaky, as Peter is troubled by the promise he made to Gwen's father as he was dying that he would keep her out of things. Peter is therefore conflicted by his feelings for Gwen, as they mean he wants to both keep her safe and out of his life, and be with her as well.
OsCorp, and its subsidiaries, again feature heavily in this film. The head of OsCorp, Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper), who was off-screen for the entire first film, even though he was referred to, only appears briefly in this one before dying, which results in the appearance of Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, Chronicle), Norman's son and a friend of Peter's when they were both younger. His father's death results in Harry getting some rather upsetting information that has a direct result on his behaviour in the rest of the film.
The film is available in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D with the 2D version being the one seen. At a number of points in it, there are certain scenes that have clearly been designed to utilise 3D, especially those that are paused or slowed down. In one of Electro's initial appearances, after he has gained his powers, where he is wearing a hood and blasting things with bolts of electricity, it looks like he is channelling Star Wars' Emperor Palpatine.
There are quite a few strands to the story, as there is what actually happened to Richard and Mary Parker, and Richard's research, the main supervillain plot with Electro and the developing one with the Green Goblin. Like its predecessor, the sequel takes a while to get started. With there being multiple strands, there is also quite a bit of plot development, including the interesting "coincidence" that the son of a man who was experimenting on spiders has himself gained the abilities of a spider, rather than just non-stop action sequences.
There are a couple of glimpses of what appear to be potential future supervillains for a sequel, such as Doctor Octopus's arms and what could be Vulture's wings and, of course, a brief appearance by the Rhino. The Rhino's costume is rather more impressive, and believable, in the film, being essentially an armed and armoured mech suit rather than the formfitting grey suit familiar from the comic books, and watch out for a mid-credits scene that ties this film in with the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. One particular, significant, element from the Spider-Man comic books is kept in the film but others are, of course, not, such as the actual occupations of Richard and Mary Parker, and the identity of the first Green Goblin. Stan Lee, Spider-Man's creator, again makes a cameo, this time at Gwen and Peter's graduation ceremony, and Peter Parker's ringtone is the tune to the Spider-Man theme song ("Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can").
Andrew Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man continues to be quite good (although the hair is a bit too impressive). He's awkward and uncertain as Peter Parker, yet much more confident as Spider-Man. There is humour in the film, which is only right, given Spider-Man's tendency to make quips at everything, yet there is more than humour too. J. Jonah Jameson is still noticeable by his absence though. The film gives a definite feeling that this latest reboot is building up to a conclusion - and one that can be guessed at too, for those familiar with Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a good, action filled film that does keep some of the spirit of the original character.