The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (12A)

Contains spoilers

Akin to the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes, if people respect you enough they will tell you that your shit smells of roses.

Marvel have created some masterpieces in their time but their latest offerings, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, are complete let downs. It’s time people started to look past the Marvel stamp and see these movies for what they are, disappointing.

I took my rose-tinted Marvel glasses off a while ago and I suggest that you do the same.

Spider-Man’s most important battle has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. I mean it must be great to be Spider-Man. For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen.

But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city.

The movie starts as scientist Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later he and his wife Mary (Embeth Davidtz) are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate them. In his last moments Richard uploads his video to a secure location. Then with the pilot dead, the plane crashes.

Flash forward to present day and Richard’s son Peter (Andrew Garfield) continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), who attempted to steal a truck containing plutonium vials. During the chase, Spider-Man rescues OsCorp Industries employee Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx).

He makes it to his graduation just as his name is called, but misses his girlfriend Gwen Stacy’s (Emma Stone) valedictorian speech. With the promise that he made to her father, police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary), to “leave Gwen out of it” Peter tells Gwen that he can’t be Spider-Man and keep her safe, so she ends their relationship.

Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHann) returns to Manhattan to see his terminally ill father Norman (Chris Cooper), CEO of OsCorp. On his deathbed Norman explains that his illness is hereditary, and that Harry is at the age where it first develops. He gives Harry a small device containing his life’s work and pleads with him to find a cure. Upon his death Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.

Meanwhile Max, thinking that he and Spider-Man are best friends starts to become ridiculously fanatic, bordering on insane. Whilst tending to some maintenance in an OsCorp laboratory, he loses his balance and falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator.

Elsewhere Peter is attempting to win Gwen back, and manages to make her swoon when he admits that he has been following her at least one a day. Stalk much! But she puts a spanner in the works when she reveals that she may move to England for university.

Before they can discuss it, Max wanders into Times Square and accidentally causes a blackout. Police fire at him which makes him lose his temper and attack the inhabitants of New York. Spider-Man manages to calm him down and Max is to the Ravencroft Institute.

Harry’s symptoms start to show. After analysing the data on the device his father gave him he deduces that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. So he asks Peter, who he knows has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, for help finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have.

The OsCorp board-members frame Harry for covering up Max’s accident, and remove him as CEO. But before he is removed from the building Harry’s assistant Felicia (Felicity Jones), explains that the company has equipment that his father commissioned that could help him.

So he makes a deal with Max (now calling himself Electro) to get him back inside OsCorp HQ. There he finds a suit of armour made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically altered spiders. Instead of curing him, they transform him into a hideous, goblin-like creature.

With the emergence of Electro, and the return of Harry, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.

Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman Osborn’s biogenetic weaponization plans.

He then receives a voicemail from Gwen, telling him that she was offered the scholarship in England and is heading to the airport. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and they agree to go to England together.

But then Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him. Afterward, the transformed Harry arrives equipped with Norman’s armour and weaponry upon the Goblin glider and laughing demonically.

After seeing Gwen, Harry deduces Spider-Man’s true identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her. He fights Spider-Man at the top of a clock tower. But despite his best efforts to save Gwen, she is sent falling to her death by the collapsing gears.

Five months pass and the Peter we see now is a deflated one. Harry is healing from his transformations, and his associate Gustav Fiers, the man in the shadows from the first film, breaks Sytsevich out of prison and equips him with an electromechanical suit of armour. Calling himself the Rhino, the villain rampages through the streets.

Peter has given up being Spider-Man and spends most of his time at Gwen’s grave. That is until he finds a recording of Gwen’s graduation speech inspires Peter to return as Spider-Man and fight back.

This movie is full of plot holes. The first one being Richard Parker inexplicably managing to upload his video confessional using an internet cable that is attached to a plane with a gaping hole in its side and an engine engulfed in flames.

The next face palm moment was when police began to haphazardly shoot at Sytsevich who happened to be inside a van packed to the brim with plutonium. Come on guys!

I wasn’t a fan of the first Amazing Spider-Man movie when it came out in two years ago. Director Marc Webb’s initial take on Marvel Comics’ renowned superhero didn’t justify its existence as a reboot. It unnecessarily retold an origin story.

There was not real character development in this instalment for Harry Osborn. He’s simply plonked in the movie and we are just told that he is Peter’s lifelong friend and that is supposed to be sufficient. A flashback would have been a good starting point. It means that you don’t really feel as though Peter is battling against his feelings of friendship for Harry versus his love for Gwen.

You don’t need Spidey senses to realise that this reboot is a disaster, you just need common sense.

By Ruth Walker
★★☆☆☆

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