Sequel spins an entertaining web

by Gazette Reporter

INITIAL heckles raised against another string of Spider-Man films so soon after the Sam Raimi series were quickly silenced when Mark Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man hit the screens last year and showed that old arachnids can be taught new tricks.
The sequel –The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – follows up on some loose threads, and sees a far more confident Peter Parker who has fully embraced his alter-ego, Spider-Man.
Andrew Garfield proves more than capable of the job as a Spidey with swagger. With the soul-searching set aside, we have an edgy, energetic, and upbeat Spider-Man who whistles his own theme tune as he disarms crooks and isn’t averse to stopping for a selfie with fans afterwards.
The action is brash, CGI-heavy, and not afraid to appear cartoonish. While there are inevitably darker undertones in this rebooted franchise, it is refreshing to see that Webb has kept a sense of playful lightness, even if that same lightness causes friction when more sombre elements of the story are introduced.
This outing sees Spider-Man contend with two sprouting super-villains, while trying to untangle his relationship with Gwen, who is ditching Manhattan to study at Oxford.
Jamie Foxx enters as the mild-mannered Max – an obsessive Spidey-fan and bullied worker at Oscorp. A freak accident sees him evolve into Electro, a super-charged villain who alternates between vulnerability and megalomania.
Foxx’s exaggerated performance pre-transformation taps into his comedy roots, smoothly complementing Webb’s cartoonish vision.
And, at the same time, Dane DeHaan steps into the story as Peter Parker’s friend from the other side of the tracks, Harry Osborn.
The tightrope act of presenting and progressing multiple villains simultaneously is skilfully handled by Webb, who ensures that the story unfolds – for the most part – as smooth as silk.
Spider-Man’s villains may be monsters, but they are also remarkably human – they never resort to being evil for evil’s sake.
Moral ambiguity reigns, rather than the black and white days of yore. And it is these shades of grey that can clash awkwardly with the colourful, light-hearted tone of the film.
The story of Spider-Man is a difficult one to weave, and it seems that Peter Parker may not be the only one struggling with balancing two identities.
Nonetheless, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a strong, entertaining film that compounds the validity of the rebooted franchise and sets things up for an interesting third instalment.
Verdict: 7/10

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