Long luscious pans of the back of Spider-Man's new costume, with fabric rippling from the wind as he sails down into the streets between the skyscrapers. A goofy, irreverent take on the bedlam. A Spidey that's true to his comic book persona. And then they kind of ramrod the rest of the movie.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 feels like director Marc Webb wanted to throw in the Sinister Six already but needed a gap film to set something up for the rest of the villains to centre around. Squeeze three in now, making a little more room later on like a competitive eater chowing down heads of lettuce days before the main event.
Batman & Robin would be proud of a Marvel film (though a Sony Pictures film and not from Marvel Studios) in this decade veering toward its territory. But it fails to go full Schumacher, with a still beating heart here and there between the gaudy and gauche.
Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) work better together on screen than Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Their chemistry as the former notches better over the latter from their banter, their solutions to work together, and the beautiful tragedy of their pairing.
There is something about a villain's origin background of them dropping their blueprints in the street that if they were French it would be baguettes. Jamie Foxx takes his Max Dillon out for a bumble-athon and as much as he hams it up as the under-appreciated Oscorp employee, he's far more effective in his creep mode back in his apartment, fanboying all over that chance encounter with the webslinger. His motives aren't all that clear, and less so when he evolves into Electro (now with super powers of fixing a gap tooth).
Electro as a pure energy being would have been great, and naked. Given that, he has enough time to find some kind of containment suit with a fitting lightning bolt emblem on his arm. This cat knows how to dress at least.
The point of Electro really is to raise the question of, "What the hell is up with Dr. Kafka?" Marton Csokas found a German accent, some speckles of makeup and went to town on the mad scientist trope prodding and poking his new found guinea pig.
Not to be outdone in overt accents, Paul Giamatti goes the whole hog as Aleksei Sytsevich in his Rhino gear. Just enough to sell the character, not too much to overstay his welcome.
Dane DeHaan doesn't get enough time as Harry Osborn, moving things along as quick as possible in order to get him crazy into that Green Goblin suit. We're to believe he and Peter have a long standing best friend relationship, shoved in a foyer and taken as fact. It's a shame we don't get to see more of Harry struggling and flopping about filling his dad's shoes. Of the time DeHaan is on screen, he sells the lost boy in a world too big for him to handle.
Sally Field dotes and is a delightful Aunt May. And who has also figured out that she can help pay for Peter's tertiary education by way of incurring debt through nursing school.
Visually, it's a gorgeous spectacle of a fluid and kinetic array of punches and flailing bodies. Fight scenes dashing in and out as quick as that. The real meat and savoury treat just happens to open the film.
It's a fun affair still, and when the actors get time to breathe in a scene they really bring out their character. As far as the conspiracy goes on what happened to Peter's parents, it has a potential to be all consuming, and at least for now makes us all forget there ever was an Uncle Ben.
Reviewed on Thursday, 15 May 2014