Much like the X-Men series, Spider-Man is another Marvel franchise which I’ve never really got into. The Toby Maguire trilogy was painful for me to watch; I think they took the geeky Peter Parker character to an awfully cheesy level. But director Marc Webb has worked wonders with his reimagining of the web-slinging hero, moving away from the cheese and right into the cool end of the spectrum. Introducing an edgier, darker and more dangerous aspect than ever before, we finally have a Spider-Man who wouldn’t look out of place in the Avengers line-up.
The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 brought the Spider-Man franchise back to life, an exciting and thrilling reboot, and TASM2 (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is even better. I went to see this in IMAX and 3D at the cinema and it was truly amazing, the scenes where Spidey swings between skyscrapers are breathtaking, as are the slow-motion fight scenes. Following on from the first film, TASM2 sees Peter Parker haunted by the promise he made to Gwen Stacey’s father, to keep away from her and in turn keep her safe from his dangerous life. Parker sacrifices his own happiness and true love to keep Gwen safe and as a result, we see a deeper, more emotional side to the coolest ‘geek’ in comic book world.
Andrew Garfield is perfect as the cool, funny, likeable protagonist, and is equally adept at conveying the troubled, dark nature of his character. Alongside Emma Stone, the pair provide excellent on-screen chemistry as one would expect. The key to a great superhero movie, however, is a great villain. Thankfully, this film has two. Jamie Foxx is superb as oddball Max Dillon and is even better when he transforms into the ruthless Electro, expertly portraying the obsessive split personality of the quirky villain. Then, from friend to foe, Harry Osborn undergoes a haunting Jekyll and Hyde transformation into the Green Goblin.
The first live-action depiction of Electro is one of the many highlights in this film. Craving attention and celebrity status, Max Dillon becomes a bitter and highly dangerous villain for the modern era. The special effects used throughout the film are truly impressive, and Electro epitomises the success of this work. Even the scene where Max falls into the electric eel tank that decides his fate, which threatened to be rather slapstick, was actually presented just within the boundaries of the absurd. In addition, the music used to accompany Electro’s attacks is acutely matched to the tone of the scenes, adding another dimension to the whole viewing experience. Add to this the classic Spidey villain Green Goblin, and you have a formidable team. Dane DeHaan is just as chilling and terrifying as the malignant Osborn, as he is after his decaying illness takes hold and he turns into the evil goblin. DeHaan brings to life a character capable of Joker-esque terror and excels in providing a deadly performance alongside Electro.
Indeed, it is hard to imagine quite how Spider-Man can overcome this challenge. Nevertheless, thanks to a few moments of perfect timing and clever moves, our hero does come out of the battle victorious, albeit without Gwen. This film does have some humorous moments and some of the silliness you’d expect from a Marvel film, but the tragic ending and the new powerful, gritty Spider-Man leave the door open for an exciting third instalment to the series. Oh wait. Turns out Marvel decided they do want Spider-Man now. Never mind.
DIRECTOR: MARC WEBB
STARRING: ANDREW GARFIELD, EMMA STONE, JAMIE FOXX, DANE DEHAAN