Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is the most recent film adaptation of the acrobatic comic-book hero, and it definitely does not disappoint. Directed by Marc Webb and written by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the movie sustains the adventurous nature that won viewers for “The Amazing Spider-Man.” This sequel additionally adds themes of family, particularly capitalizing on the prevalence of unfulfilled father-son relationships.

The movie stars Andrew Garfield, who reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Emma Stone, who plays Peter’s love interest, Gwen Stacy. Jamie Foxx portrays a bumbling electrician who becomes a terrifying villain called Electro after an experiment goes wrong at Oscorp. With a concoction of new, compelling characters and the return of some old favorites, the film ensnares viewers and makes their hearts soar and plummet frequently.

As promised during “The Amazing Spider-Man,” the beginning of the movie sheds much-anticipated light on the life of Peter Parker’s father, Richard, and the events leading to his death. A theme of secrets that can be deadly is introduced, and this creates a darker, more foreboding mood that follows characters to the end. The storyline primarily focuses on the conclusion of Peter’s childhood as he graduates from high school and prepares to adapt to life as an adult. However, Peter’s life as Spider-Man also contains the extra pressure and responsibility of keeping the city safe and the love of his life out of danger. Danger predictably emerges, but there is something more to the villains that enter the storyline. The multiple antiheros electrify the audience with daring plans to upend Spider-Man’s world, but they also have the ability to stun viewers into a mixture of terror and pity. It must therefore be said that the character development in this film surpasses the highest expectations.

Peter’s character in particular has changed drastically and he is no longer the whimsical and playful boy he was in the first movie. Peter fluctuates between his desire to be with Gwen and his motivation to protect her by staying away. Their relationship changes significantly because of Peter’s indecision, and, as with most modern superhero movies, viewers wait with baited breath for the characters to throw caution to the wind and fall in love despite the odds of failure or gruesome death. While this happens to some extent in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the results nevertheless prove satisfying, shocking, and worth watching despite the massive twist at the end.

One plot piece worth noting is the wonderful depth given to Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s long-lost childhood friend, who is played by Dane DeHaan. DeHaan’s performance alone sells Harry’s tragic backstory as the child neglected by his father, Norman Oscorp, the founder of the genetic research lab, Oscorp. In addition, the scenes that take place between Harry and Norman beautifully parallel the struggles Peter faces with his past and his own father. Norman Oscorp provides an excellent foil for Richard Parker, as Harry does for Peter, and these relationships raise profound moral questions about right and wrong, sickness and health, and the price of genetic alteration.

Between action-packed battles against Electro, thrilling discussions between Spider-Man and Harry Osborn, and touching moments between Peter and Gwen, viewers will learn much about what it means to be a hero in the face of losing everything. This film, while heart-wrenching, certainly is one to be recommended the next time a respite from studying is needed.

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