Web Of Lies
By Adam Sturrock
The Amazing Spiderman (2014)
Director: Marc Webb
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinker (Stan Lee, Steve Ditko)
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane Dehaan, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti
It seemed almost as soon as Tobey Maguire awkwardly strutted his stuff in Spiderman 3, the executives at Sony were eyeing up a fresh start for the comic book hero. This restart came in 2012 with apparent long time comic fan, Andrew Garfield donning the famous spandex as Spiderman versus Rhys Ifans as the Lizard and the film mostly met good reviews. The film was praised for its closer adaptation of the comic book series, but its choice for villain was questioned.
Returning in the sequel we get more of the quick humor and chemistry between Stone and Garfield but the story is unnecessarily muddled.
The story picks up about a year after the first film, with Peter (Garfield) and Gwen (Stone) graduating from High School and with the events of the last film creating an unerring desire for Peter to keep his loved ones safe from the crime on the streets, thus distancing himself from everyone. Peter is still spindly in stature but he has matured inevitably, but his crusader persona is still cracking the jokes and has the can-do attitude of a cheesy commercial (“You can do it!”, “I need you!” etc), which personally grates a little. Foxx plays Max Dillon as an over emphasized engineer outcast at Oscorp, complete with gap-teeth and a bad comb-over, but no matter how awkwardly innocent he is, it seems as if his social problems are rubbed in our faces too often; with him mumbling to himself and fantasizing about Spidey visiting for his birthday as an example. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he becomes the antagonist of the film, Electro – an egotistical, electricity hungry, juggernaut who admittedly, I feel for at times due to his treatment by his employers.
While the battle between Spiderman and Electro is an interesting one – with the reasons behind the feud somewhat vague – the writers have felt that one villain is not enough. Step in two more challenges to Spiderman, one albeit played by Giamatti as a last minute afterthought. Brooding character actor, Dane Dehaan (Chronicle, Place Beyond the Pines etc) plays the heir to the Oscorp throne, Harry Osbourne, who suffers from a mortal family disease. His often angsty portrayal of characters is given a short interval when interacting with Parker as an old friend of his. The writing is quick witted and for once the tone steps away from the gloom and doom undertones often hovering over the characters. His later portrayal is bordering on pantomime, with a sneering, high pitched delivery as the Green Goblin, worryingly only a fleeting nod in the general scheme of the film. What we get is an overpacked plot that could have been easily a Spidey versus Electro affair but with a Sinister Six film possibly coming out, the script seems obliged to set the film up.
500 Days of Summer director, Marc Webb, seems to have a mixed idea of where he is taking the film. While the action sequences are spectacular, Webb seems hell-bent on adding the quirky romantic elements from the aforementioned film with the chemistry between Garfield and Stone, a joy to watch.
Overall, the film could have been slightly slimmed down with many story lines carelessly added on. A somewhat decent film nonetheless.