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Amazing Spider-Man 2, The (3D) (AF)


Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, Chris Zylka, Frank Deal, Marton Csokas, Max Charles, Mark Doherty, Felicity Jones, Sarah Gadon, B.J. Novak, Kari Coleman, Chris Cooper, Jim Gunter, Denis Leary, Stan Lee.

Director: Marc Webb

There are no flies on Andrew Garfield who returns as Peter Parker and his alter ego Spider-Man and delivers the entertaining multiplex action goods in appropriately named director Marc Webb’s 2012 comic book-inspired superhero-reboot.

It say much for star and director alike that the film isn’t simply another orgy of action burnished with state-of-the-art special effects, while the screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkne (inevitably Spider-Man’s comic book co-creator and frequent movie extra in Marvel Comics movies appears briefly in in front of the the cameras) makes a splendid skeleton for Webb and his cast to flesh out with movie magic and dramatic emotional sequences.

The storyline finds Garfield up against various villains threatening New York, notably the glowing high voltage-hurling Electro who starts off as a somewhat daffy human played by Jamie Foxx before he is transformed into a glowing golem-like super-villain after an unfortunate close encounter of the nasty kind with mutant electric eels. Understandably, before losing it, Foxx says morosely “I don’t know what’s going on with me”.

Also on hand to keep the soaring Superhero busy in his gaudy costume are podgy Paul Giamatti, playing a Russian villain whose attempted heist is brought to nought after motorised mayhem through the streets of New York and there’s further stress on hand when Spider-Man falls out with childhood friend Dane DeHaan who inherits a huge corporation and comes between Spiderman and his love Emma Stone.

Webb, who opens fast with a thrilling battle to the death inside an airborne plane, maintains a good balance between character-driven drama centred on Garfield and Stone and stunning set pieces – the sequence of Electro’s extraordinary destruction of New York’s Times Square is alone worth the price of a ticket.

Garfield is excellent in and out of costume, his relationship with Stone convinces and there are no poor performances to tarnish a blazing blockbuster that does what most moviegoers want which is to entertain them from beginning to end without dressing up the story with intellectual-aspirant subtexts.

The 3D cinematography is excellent. And the pace and story are strong enough to sustain the storytelling very well even when shown ‘flat’.

The cinematic art on display here is the all to often under-estimated and sneered at art of Hollywood moviemaking at its most effective and appealing action-narrative best.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour.
142 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 16 Apr 2014