The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro has a lot of things going for it, but this comic book adaptation ends up getting bogged down in its own complex web.
“It’s complicated,” Peter Parker aka Spider-Man says when asked about girlfriend Gwen Stacy, and the same can be said of the film itself.
While director Marc Webb maintains the sense of fun and amps up the visual spectacle, between the main plot, Spider-Man’s various relationships and the number of baddies, it can feel a bit messy.
Not that there isn’t a lot to love about The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Andrew Garfield is a much better Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire (from the Sam Raimi films) and he again stars alongside real-life girlfriend, the ever-likeable Emma Stone, who’s a strong presence as the brainy Gwen.
Sally Field is also worth mention, giving an emotionally charged performance as Aunt May.
There are some great new villains, although too many are crammed in. Dane DeHaan as the new Harry Osborn feels much more unhinged and dangerous than James Franco’s version as a teenager with a lot to lose and it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for Jamie Foxx’s supernerd Max Dillon, before he becomes supervillain Electro. Some are a little too over-the-top, including Paul Giamatti’s Russian The Rhino and Marton Csokas’ evil scientist.
Despite the various exciting elements about The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as a whole the film doesn’t gel.
The pacing feels off, meaning that in between interesting moments or action set pieces, it drags, upsetting the momentum. At 142 minutes, it would have really benefitted from some streamlining, which might have also given the emotional moments more impact.
Unlike the 2012 reboot, there’s no need to rehash known storylines about radioactive spider bites and the sequel picks up with Spider-Man swinging through New York (in some visually dazzling 3-D shots) and happily catching villains with his trademark humour.
However, he’s haunted by the promise he made to a dying Captain Stacy to stay away from Gwen, for her own safety. That’s made even harder, because Gwen’s so keen to help in moments of trouble. The film spends a lot of time dwelling on their relationship, which while sweet, doesn’t have a lot of chemistry.
When Electro does turn up on the scene, in a thrilling entrance on Times Square, it gives the film a much needed jolt of energy. The Green Goblin, who helps drive the plot about self-healing genetic research, is suitably twisted when he returns.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 wraps up in a slightly odd place, but leaves room for interesting storylines in future Spidey films.
* The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro is released in Australian cinemas on April 17.