May 2, 2014, - 8:56 am
I liked “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” in movie theaters today, more than any other superhero film I’ve seen in the last five to ten years. That’s because the other superhero movies of late were so bad, so unmagical, so uninteresting. This one returns to the classic superhero movie formula I remember as a kid.
I’m not normally a fan of Spiderman (my favorite superheroes are Superman, Captain Marvel, and Wonder Woman) or of Andrew Garfield, whom I think of as kinda nerdy. But ASM2 recaptures the magic, the classic, stark good versus evil plot, and it is engrossing and suspenseful from beginning to end of its overlong 2.5 hours. But even with the length of the film, every moment of it was suspenseful, exciting, and entertaining. I wasn’t bored for a second. The plot is simple and easy to understand, unlike many of the confusing jumbles and crazy plots in many recent superhero movies. Plus Garfield is very good in this as a self-deprecating, funny, morally upright Peter Parker/Spiderman.
I could have done without several scenes of him with tears in his eyes. But at least one of these scenes has to do with finding out what happened to his father, and learning that his father was the loving, righteous man he thought. That’s another plus with this movie: the fathers–though absent in physical body–shine through as their love and concern for their kids (Peter Parker and his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, who is played by Emma Stone) is made clear.
If you are a parent concerned with whether or not to take your kids, this movie is completely clean. There’s no sex or dirty language. None of that. It’s a wholesome reincarnation of the superhero movies from decades ago in that respect. And, unlike some other recent superhero movies, there are no left-wing politics hidden in any messages as far as I could see.
But when it comes to special effects, it’s wholly modern. I don’t usually recommend shelling out the extra bucks for a 3D, but this is one of the rare instances, where I say, go for it. The 3D effects in this movie are particularly good and make the movie even more engrossing.
There are many plots and several villains in the jam-packed 2.5 hours. So don’t drink an extra-large Coke at the beginning. You won’t want to leave for a bathroom break, or you’ll miss something. Also, don’t worry if you haven’t seen the first installment of this incarnation of Spiderman movies. This movie explains what happened in the backstory and you will understand exactly what’s going on.
There are three villains. Electro is a nerdy OsCorp employee played by Jamie Foxx, who is electrocuted and vows to steal all of the power from the city and make New York a very dark place. I should note that in the comic books, Electro is White (so is Nick Fury from Captain America, who is played by Samuel L. Jackson in the movies). Then, there is Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), the kid CEO of OsCorp, who has taken over after his father dies. He’s dying of a mysterious disease and wants Spiderman’s blood. He ultimately becomes the Green Goblin. He is the more interesting and intriguing of the villains (and played by a better actor than Foxx). And, finally, there is Aleksei Sytsevich, a Russian with a Soviet Union “Hammer and Sickle” tattoo, played by Paul Giamatti (I didn’t realize it was Giamatti until the credits ran). Please, Hollywood, put the stale Russian villain narrative to bed.
Amidst his battles with the villains, Spiderman/Parker is also battling the demons of his father who “abandoned” him as a kid and the demons of Gwen Stacy’s deceased police chief dad, who wanted him to stay away from her because Parker puts her in danger with his many battles against criminals and other villains. He stays with Stacy, then breaks up with her, and then she wants to go abroad, to his regret.
Yes, there’s a lot going on. A lot. But it’s a return to the classic, fast-paced, good-versus-evil, evil-is-vanquished formula of the past. And I liked it. No, it’s not as good as some of Christopher Reeve’s “Superman” movies or anything like that. But it’s pretty good.
And it’s a great start to the summer movie season.
Watch the trailer . . .
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