Amazing Spider-Man 2 does its showdowns with skill
Starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Jamie Foxx. Rated PG. Now playing
A delicate, nuanced art film...this is not. Obviously.
Even without seeing a trailer or poster, you know what this movie must be. It’s Spider-Man! He’s going to swing on webs and rescue people! The question is not whether there will be stunts, explosions, and showdowns, but how well they are done.
For the most part, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 does them with skill. The 3-D glasses that are normally just a burden to your face and wallet are finally put to good use. Aptly named Spidey-director Marc Webb has composed battles that show off the dimensionalization effects and help to approximate the magic of spidey-sense.
On the technical front, the conversion to stereo imagery might be the most impressive yet, with bullets, rubble, and villains flying towards the audience in remarkable clarity. Primary baddie Electro (Jamie Foxx), cribbing his look and powers from Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen, is seen to lay waste to New York in superb detail.
But when waste is not being laid, the movie sags. A who-cares mystery about genetic research is extensively dramatized. This subplot takes time away from the central romance of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), here reduced to a handful of moments.
The packing-in of story elements feels conspicuous in a film that already came with a liturgy of mandatory Spider-Man elements (many of them recently done in the Sam Raimi trilogy) such as Peter being a quippy science whiz, Aunt May (Sally Field) being saintly, and the web-slinger’s complicated, unlikely friendship with tormented business scion Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). It’s a lot of extra weight even for a character that defies gravity.