Flying along its redundant pathway like its predecessor did two years ago, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” frequently goes up and down in its uneven plot hampered by too many things stuffed into it. While I did care about some of them, I began to lose my interest whenever the other problematic things appeared, and I cannot erase my dissatisfaction in spite of its good parts. To be frank with you, if there had been some sort of MRI machine which can monitor the degree of my interest during the screening, it could have fluctuated as much as our Spidey does above the streets of Manhattan in the film.
After saving New York from a big danger as depicted in the previous film, Peter Parker(Andrew Garfield) has been enjoying his role as the friendly superhero neighbour of New Yorkers. Whether it is a bunch of Russian gangs hijacking a truck containing plutonium or a nerdy boy needed to be rescued from bullying, he is always ready to use his superpower, and he feels good about that, but he also finds it difficult to manage his normal life while being active as Spider-Man. He is very late for his high school graduation ceremony at one point because he was busy with another usual superhero work, and it is also not so easy for him to hide his newly acquired identity from his dear aunt May(Sally Field) as living with her under the same roof.
At least, he does not have to hide anything from his girlfriend Gwen Stacy(Emma Stone), but things have been pretty complicated between them. Right before his death, her late father asked Peter to stay away from Gwen for protecting her, and that has bothered Peter a lot although both want to continue their relationship. Gwen eventually decides to break away from Peter for relieving his guilt, and she seriously begins to consider leaving New York for her study, but, as shown during one humorously awkward scene in which they meet each other as ‘friends’, they only come to find their mutual feeling remained same as before.
The movie works best when it focuses on their relationship matter. The director Marc Webb, who previously directed wonderful romantic comedy film “(500) Days of Summer”(2009), brings some genuine feelings to their private scenes, and Garfield and Stone are engaging to watch thanks to their good chemistry between them. While many of us already have a pretty good idea about their eventual decisions in the end, they are a likable romantic couple we can care about, and there is a nice romantic scene on the Brooklyn Bridge in which Peter and Gwen fully admit how they feel about each other despite all these complications in their relationship.
Meanwhile, New York happens to face another big danger. After a very unfortunate laboratory accident, Max Dillon, a pathetic Oscorp Industries employee who is broadly played by Jamie Foxx with big glasses and distracting overbite, is transformed into a powerful electromagnetic entity who looks like Dr. Manhattan’s distant cousin. He is initially scared and confused about what has happened to his body, but, after experiencing how unkindly NYPD responds to a blue guy like him, it does not take much time for him to become a vengeful supervillain determined to get rid of the superhero he once worshipped. His main plan for that is taking control of New York through the network of electricity lines provided by his company, and I must say that is quite a modest one considering his superpower ability to go and appear anywhere as bundles of electromagnetic pulses to be transported. If he can seize the system so quickly like that, why not going for, say, the World Wide Web?
We are also introduced to another trouble associated with the Oscorp Industries. After its shady CEO Norman Osborn(Chris Cooper) died, his young son Harry Osborn(Dane DeHaan) immediately becomes the new CEO of the company, and he soon faces two problems threatening his new position; like his father did, he begins to suffer an inherent viral disease which will soon take away his life, and the board members led by Donald Menken(Colm Feore) are looking for any excuse to fire him.
After discovering what his estranged father has done for finding a way to cure the family disease, Harry realizes that Spider-Man may help him, and Peter finds himself in a difficult circumstance when his childhood friend pleads for a possible chance to cure his illness. He wants to help his friend, but he also knows that what Harry asks for can possibly be fatal, so he is reluctant about that even though he is aware of how desperate his friend is.
There are many other things I have not described yet, including the mystery involved with a secret biological study of Peter’s father who disappeared along with his wife under a suspicious circumstance, the conspiracy inside the Oscorp Industries, and, above all, a mysterious bad guy who appears again at the end of the movie like he did before in the previous film. All could have been juggled well, but the screenplay feels messy, incoherent, and half-baked as busily going around its multiple storylines, and the expected climactic sequence is not as powerful as intended in spite of some surprise it throws to us in the end.
I appreciated the technical aspects of its big, spectacular CGI action scenes, and I was excited for a while as watching Spider-Man joyously going up and down among those Manhattan skyscrapers, but I was disappointed to see good actors like Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, and Paul Giamatti being wasted in their stock villain roles. As many of you know, superhero movies are as good as their villains, and none of these bad guys in the film is not particularly interesting or memorable; that is one of the main reasons why its big climax seriously lacks dramatic flavor or tension despite being decorated with all the sound and the fury which can be expected from a big-budgeted blockbuster film.
When I watched “The Amazing Spider-Man”(2012), I enjoyed it while having reservation and concern over this rebooted franchise, and its sequel sadly confirms my concern at that time although it has several good aspects I liked as disappointed with it. After finding his own area to be explored in the previous film, Andrew Garfield comfortably wears his role with more ease and confidence, and he is convincing even when his character is entangled with the web of the weak story. I hope he will get a better story to hang on when his character goes out again for whatever comes next.