New Spidey more 'above-average' than 'Amazing'
If there's a tie that binds most of the characters of the Marvel Universe together, it's the mutability of the supposedly immutable human body. Characters are poisoned by radiation, zapped by electricity, bitten by spiders or broken, crushed, ruined or whatever.
And as Spider-Man cracks in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” just “shake it off. It's just your bones, muscles ... .”
But the real world doesn't work like that. That's one reason this comic book world has such a lasting appeal. Bullies are foiled, criminals are caught and great wrongs righted with supernatural intervention by supernaturally augmented humans.
“Amazing 2” is kind of about that. It's a violent film, with blood and death in between the digitally-animated brawls. Human bodies are tortured and broken, and there's not always a webslinger there to stop that flipping police car, that hurtling bus, that Russian psychopath or that jet that's about to crash.
It's not an altogether-pleasant experience. Things tend to drag as director Marc Webb has problems with focus, keeping the many story threads straight.
But Andrew Garfield finds his voice as the character, making his second try at Peter Parker a caffeinated wisecracker, enjoying his notoriety, talking to himself just like the guy in the comic book.
Peter hums Spider-Man's theme song and hurls himself into situations with a teen's recklessness. He almost misses his and Gwen's (Emma Stone) high-school graduation, dealing with a villain named Aleksei (Paul Giamatti).
But even though he doesn't carry the angst of Tobey Maguire's Spidey, Peter has problems. He sees Gwen's late dad (Denis Leary) everywhere he looks, and remembers his promise to the dead cop to distance himself from his daughter, due to the danger.
Peter hasn't seen the opening scene in the movie, in which we flash back to Peter's parents' (Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz) grisly deaths. And Peter has no idea that his great chemistry with long lost rich-kid pal Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) will go nowhere.
Jamie Foxx is an ignored, humiliated electrical engineer who has an accident involving electric eels and power lines. That transforms him from a Spider-Man fanboy into a glowing blue guy in a hoodie.
Peter / Spidey reasons with the tormented villains, trying to connect with the doomed rich kid or this “nobody” engineer. “You're not a nobody, you're SOMEbody!”
While Garfield and Stone have a nice sass to their scenes, Webb can do nothing to give this relationship the longing and heat of the Kirsten Dunst / Tobey Maguire moments from the earlier films.
And, Webb's team of screenwriters don't find any pathos in all this computer-animated flying and fighting, not until the finale.
Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Going inside Big Bird, a film takes wing with Caroll Spinney
- Review: ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ a period-piece love quadrangle
- Review: ‘I Am Big Bird’ a gentle peek at the guy behind the yellow feathers
- Review: Tomorrow isn’t what it used to be in ‘Tomorrowland’
- Review: ‘Poltergeist’ solid remake of haunted house classic
- Review: Amazing Randi pulls back the curtain in ‘An Honest Liar’
- Review: New doc puts own ‘Lambert & Stamp’ on Who history
- DVD reviews: ‘American Sniper,’ ‘Leviathan’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series’