The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro fares well as Marvel’s latest superhero instalment, but the 140-minute film devotes plenty of screen time towards establishing the story-arcs and villains for a multi-sequel movie franchise.
Andrew Garfield returns to a role that seems to fit him as snuggly as that red and navy spandex suit does. Spider-Man not only battles two new enemies in Marvel’s latest superhero blockbuster, he also struggles with finding a balance between his two identities, particularly when it comes to his relationship with Gwen Stacy.
As with all superhero franchises, there comes the inevitable plot of the public eventually turning on the hero. While The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does dabble in this, thankfully, it isn’t an overshadowing storyline.
The film is fantastic in 3D, although that might have more to do with Andrew Garfield in aforementioned spandex, than the motion sickness inducing sequences of Spider-Man freefalling and swinging through New York City skyscrapers. The 3D was also beneficial for the bright, static electricity used as a new weapon to wreak havoc on iconic NYC locations and its inhabitants, courtesy of Spider-Man’s newest enemy, Electro.
The powers were cool, the villain himself, was not. Given the magnitude of extreme badass-ery exemplified by Marvel’s other villains (Loki, The Avengers/ Malekith, Thor 2), Electro, whose main motive for antagonising Spider-Man was rooted in low self-esteem, was an uninspiring villain.
His former Max Dillon ticked every single box on the cliché nerd trope list and so the lightning fast transformation from an introvert to power-hungry, raging supervillain is unconvincing and frankly, disappointing.
However, in this film, we meet Harry Osborn, Peter’s best friend (played by Dane DeHaan), a character whom the phrase ‘Cunning as a fox’ has never been more fitting. His desperate attempt to cure a fatal genetic disease results in the formation of a worthy villain, the Green Goblin who causes more catastrophe and devastation in five minutes than Electro does throughout the entire film.
Furthermore, it’s Osborn’s unravelling of Oscorp’s secret files that opens the door to a wide world of villains on which to base future film sequels.
Garfield’s co-star Emma Stone returns as Spider-Man’s on-again-off-again girlfriend Gwen Stacy and the chemistry between the two hasn’t dwindled since the first film. Humorous dialogue and some pretty big romantic gestures between the lovebirds are peppered throughout the film, which works well to offset all the car chases, fight sequences and explosions.
Given that our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man didn’t make the Avengers cut, it’s nice to see his return in a standalone film. With clever acrobatic fight choreography, quick and witty dialogue, impressive visual effects and heart-stopping drama, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 definitely gives Marvel’s other superhero flicks a run for their money.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro opens in cinemas on April 17.