Peter Parker confronts his daddy issues in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But in this latest appearance by America’s favorite arachnid, he’s not given much time for self-analysis.
As usual, in this high-tech summer blockbuster, the emphasis is on the action, the thrills, the computer-generated special effects that will turn pacified stomachs into queasy ones.
And, for the most part, Spider-Man 2 breaks new ground with striking images that seem to capture the work’s comic book origins, thanks to the ace special-effects team. In addition to Spider-Man’s now standard, albeit impressive, flights through faux Manhattan, the film also features garish new villains, massive Midtown auto pileups, and a visual assault of bursting pyrotechnic displays. All that goes along with Hans Zimmer’s unobtrusive yet appropriately provocative score and Dan Mindel’s colorful photography.
Marc Webb returns as director, following the 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man (not to be confused with the three Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films from 2002 to 2007). And if that’s not sufficient, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 will be along in 2016. Webb works from a screenplay from Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner, a trio of experienced superhero writers.
The story sees a conflicted Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, again) as he is about to lose his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, again), about the time he learns of the corporate entanglements of his late father (Campbell Scott, seen primarily in the opening sequence). It seems Pop had once teamed with evil scientist Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) on some nefarious scheme, all of which leads to the tragic condition of his son, Harry (Dane DeHaan), the head of massive Osborn Industries, who now finds himself fatally sick.
The pressure is enough to force Harry to experiment on himself, which turns him into the Green Goblin, and the deadly enemy of his childhood friend, Peter. And, lest we forget, Jamie Foxx languishes nearby in the near-anonymous role of Electro, a human Energizer Bunny who can suck a power grid dry. And poor Paul Giamatti can be found inside some strange robotic machine that takes perverse pleasure in shooting off its big guns.
But that’s the kind of talent that a big-budget opus like Amazing 2 can dismissively dispose of when it’s all in the service of a boy working out his daddy issues.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Rated PG-13, 142 minutes.