‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’
There’s too much of everything in “Amazing Spider-Man 2,” from emotional agony to ultra-spectacular super-combat, and there are at least one too many super-villains on the loose, but it still manages to amaze more often than not.
Especially if you include the time you spend gaping at Jamie Foxx’s comb-over.
Foxx plays Max Dillon, a lonely, nerdy, gap-toothed and prematurely balding electronics engineer who idolizes Spider-Man and basically seems to be representing the Hollywood nightmare of deranged fandom. Because after being accidentally zapped by mega-wattage at the evil, multinational Oscorp, and zapped yet again after falling into a giant vat of electric eels (no kidding), he turns into the awesomely powerful Electro. And levels awesomely powerful resentment at Spider-Man for an imaginary slight.
Which is aggravation Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) doesn’t need because while he’s having a blast zinging around the city doing arachno-acrobatics, he also has major Peter Parker problems. Namely whether or not to break up with his girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) in addition to nursing ongoing abandonment issues regarding his deceased father — and the continually troubling contents of his father’s briefcase.
The best thing about 2012’s “Amazing Spider-Man,” the entirely unnecessary yet still enormously lucrative reboot to director Sam Raimi’s spidey-trilogy, was the way director Marc Webb took the drama at its heart seriously. While also delivering the requisite super-heroic thrills. And the same is true in “Amazing 2,” though the story is distractingly over-complicated, just as the action is distractingly over-abundant.
It’s still there — the dramatic oomph — mostly because of Garfield’s ability to go deep during one of the most tragic scenes in comic-book history and Stone’s effortless charm. (Though the make-up/break-up tension gets a bit tedious, as does Denis Leary’s glowering presence as the ghost of Gwen’s dad.)
The action scenes also are first rate, with the exception of a few CGI battle scenes that don’t incorporate actual human beings and fall artificially flat. There are just way too many of them, each one attempting to top the one before, with exhausting effect. And way too many costumed bad-guys, while we’re on the subject. Electro should have been more than enough to keep the momentum going until the finale, but no such luck. The lengthy “Amazing 2” feels we won’t be satisfied unless the Green Goblin (played this time by Dane DeHaan as Peter Parker-pal-gone-wrong Harry Osborn) makes an appearance.
OK, granted, the Green Goblin has a vital role to play here, tragedy-wise. But what’s up with the decision to toss in poor pachyderm-suited Paul Giamatti at the last minute as the rampaging Rhino?
Maybe the powers that be wanted to spare him the embarrassment of being the featured super-villain, but it would have been more merciful not to let him out of the pen at all.