There is always pressure when doing a sequel, but toss on top having your sequel as part of a reboot to a hugely popular franchise that ended in critical shame. That’s the situation Sony Pictures found itself in this weekend with this Fridays release.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 picks up with Peter Parker haunted by his promise to keep Gwen Stacy safe from the danger of his superhero life. Caught between his love and his loyalty he tries to live without her, yet once more danger finds it way to him, so does she. Spider-Man does battle with a new powerful nemesis, Electro, his one-time best friend Harry Osbourne, and a brief appearance from the brute force destruction of The Rhino. Can he handle them all, plus keep Gwen safe? Could anyone?
I always get concerned when the studio decides to add in more villains in the sequel. There is a certain logic since they no longer have to spend the screen time to establish the backstory of the hero, but instead of just adding more people for them to fight, I want them to use the extra minutes to give the villain depth, history, and reason. Luckily, this is exactly what The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does. The build up, rise and unleashing of Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, is very well done and makes his struggle and anger all the more impactful.
Continuing his role as the web-slinger, Andrew Garfield brings out the torture inside the character most people only know as a wise cracking acrobat. The pathos of Spider-Man was something I felt was sorely missing from the first trilogy, but it was likely added after the viewing public went completely bonkers over The Dark Knight. The Christopher Nolan-led franchise proved that even the young fans of these comic book movies can handle and enjoy the darker and more morose sides of these heroes.
Gwen Stacy is continued by Emma Stone and you can argue that the chemistry on screen between her and Garfield is much stronger than the previous coupling of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, but it’s a touch unfair since Garfield and Stone are actually a couple off-screen as well.
As this chapter comes to a close the audience is let in on where the franchise is going. For comic book fans who are in the know, it’s an exciting time. Yet I wonder if this is leading Spider-Man to another trilogy ending with a bang or if this time around it will continue onward. You might say time will tell, but in truth the box office will tell.