`A god named Sparkles?` quips Spider-Man/Peter Parker before launching his attack on the enemy that has arisen to threated New York this time. Not only does this line work to infuriate said enemy, it also works perfectly as a quote here – setting the tone of the film in a far more effective way than trying to describe it.
Directed by Marc Webb and released in 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 picks up a few months after the first one ended. Peter (Andrew Garfield) is coming to terms with his new position as the city’s superhero, saving the day in the nick of time to then make it to graduation. But he also must deal with teenage problems – namely the fact he promised Gwen’s (Emma Stone) father he would stay away from her. That’s made slightly awkward when he realises he is in love.
But there is no time for a teenager’s broken heart when old friends and new enemies are in town – and it’s hard to say who is more dangerous. There is more tension in the second film due to being thrown straight into the danger at the start rather than having to explore Peter’s journey of becoming a hero. But the feel of the film is the same. Peter might be a superhero but he is also a teenager. And as such, his methods of catching the `bad guys` include shooting webs inappropriately and coming out with one liners that only someone his age would say. His flippant attitude is contrasted by the emotional scenes scattered throughout the entire film and works as a break to the tension. The lines are cheesy and have the audience rolling their eyes, but they work to bring a smile when danger is imminent for the entire city – meaning they must work.
Garfield’s acting is strong. While he can carry out the cheeky, nonchalant superhero well, his strength lies in the emotional scenes. Being able to look so much like a lost puppy is a skill by itself and Garfield certainly creates empathy for Peter due to the way he handles moments of pain and loss. It was present during the first film and is reassuring to see Webb knew it was effective and developed those scenes further. The contrast in Garfield’s acting keeps the pace of the film rapid as he switches effortlessly between the two.
When it comes to his more flippant side though, it is mainly shown when he is Spider-Man. It means the lines are used as a way of making the audience remember there is supposedly a teenage boy in the suit. Long sequences of never seeing his face while he pulls off impossible stunts to save the day runs the risk of distancing the audience from the character. However, there are just enough moments when Peter shines through the mask that it keeps them grounded in the film rather than forgetting who Spider-Man actually is.
A thoroughly enjoyable film. It had its moments of weakness, but in general works well for the entertainment factor.