"Let's go catch a spider."
Marc Webb's first feature film, 500 Days of Summer, was a successful small indie romantic film with a lot of heart. He went from that to the huge production of the Spider-Man franchise which I thought didn't necessarily need a reboot so soon. However the film did work thanks to Andrew Garfield's portrayal of Peter Parker. His natural charisma and confidence translated really well to the character and his sense of humor makes him the perfect candidate to play Spier-Man. I began my review by mentioning that Webb directed 500 Days of Summer because for me the heart and soul of this film is the love story between Gwen and Peter. I can't think of any other superhero film with such a great love story and believable chemistry than this one. Garfield and Emma Stone are incredible together and I loved their scenes. Webb knows a thing or two about young romance and it is the film's strongest asset. The sequel is entertaining and has some great action scenes, but I could've watched this film for the romance alone. The flaws are actually the villains in this film. They don't crowd the film like the trailers led me to believe, but they really don't seem to menacing until we reach the final third act. For a film that runs at 140 minutes it went by really quick and that is always a good sign. Spider-Man 2 might not be as good as this year's Captain America, but it does have its solid moments and clever one-liners. At times the CGI took me out of the film as it looked more like a video game, but there were some interesting shots as we got to follow Spider-Man swing across the New York City landscape. The film works better as a romantic comedy than an actual superhero movie but that was fine with me because it was a really good one. It makes most other recent rom-coms look ridiculous and unbelievable.
After a short flashback where we see what happened with Peter's parents, the camera follows Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) swinging across NYC as he tries to stop a Russian mob criminal, Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), who has stolen something from OsCorp. In the midst of all the action he receives a call from his girlfriend, Gwen (Emma Stone), who is reminding him that he's going to be late for their graduation. Somehow Spider-Man manages to take care of business and arrives in the nick of time to receive his degree as Peter Parker. His Aunt May (Sally Field) is the only family he has left, but she's there for him like she's always been. Peter however has been having visions of Gwen's father reminding him of the promise he made to not date his daughter in order to keep her out of danger. Apparently it has been a conflict they've dealt with over the last few months and Gwen decides it's time for the two to break up. Gwen continues to work at OsCorp which is now managed by Norman's son, Harry (Dane DeHaan), after his passing. Harry seems to suffer from the same degenerative disease of his father and wants to continue researching for a cure in OsCorp. Peter is glad to see his childhood friend back, but when he realizes what he's up to things get complicated. When an employee from OsCorp suffers a freak accident he becomes Electro (Jamie Foxx), a dangerous foe for Spider-Man and the city.
The Amazing Spider-Man has some flaws but it still entertains thanks to the great chemistry between Stone and Garfield. They are perfect together. DeHaan is also great as Harry and he does look like a believable threat for Spider-Man. I had a problem with Foxx's clumsy performance as Max but once he becomes Electro he does look menacing. I didn't care too much about the villains or the action set pieces despite the fact that they were well crafted. The inner struggles that Peter Parker faces with his family drama and relationship with Gwen is at the heart of this film. The final act is more than just a gigantic action face-off, there is actually a lot of emotional elements at stake and that is what lifted this movie as it finished on a high note. There was a very emotional scene scene near the end of the film that left the entire theater in silence. The best thing about this sequel is that it was much more emotionally involving than the original and it banks its strength from Andrew Garfield's charismatic and spot on performance as Peter Parker.