Spoiler free version: The strengths and weaknesses of this sequel are comparable to the original. We get more of Spider-Man’s humor, but the structure gets a bit sloppy for an important 20 minute sequence. Recommended, but not as strongly as Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Also, for the first time ever, I’m actually going to recommend consciously looking for the 3D version instead of the 2D. It really does make that much difference this time around.

Cast and Crew Information

Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man / Peter Parker
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Jamie Foxx as Electro / Max Dillon
Dane DeHaan as Green Goblin / Harry Osborn
Colm Feore as Donald Menken
Felicity Jones as Felicia (Hardy?)
Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich
Sally Field as Aunt May Parker
Embeth Davidtz as Mary Parker
Campbell Scott as Richard Parker
B.J. Novak as Alistair Smythe
Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn
Stan Lee as… ah, you’ll know him.

Written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt
Directed by Marc Webb

Premise

Peter is struggling, torn between his love and his ethics. Meanwhile, changes, both accidental and deliberate, are causing major changes as Oscorp that are going to cause massive problems for Spider-Man.

High Point

The chemistry betwen Garfield’s Peter and Stone’s Gwen is fantastic, and really carries much of the film.

Low Point

One of the primary adversaries shows up rather conveniently in the end. It feels like a third film was compressed into the last 20 minutes of this one.

The Review

This is the fifth major big screen Spider-Man, but it still feels original, largely because it’s the first time they really captured the feel of the comics, with the emotional ride, the serial storytelling, the wit of our hero and Peter’s casual use of his abilities when alone or with those who share his secret. While the details diverge pretty dramatically from the source material, particularly with Electro, the tone is spot on. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are excellent. With the exception of Aleksei’s final on screen sequence, I can’t tell where the real actor ends and the CGI begins. (Some portions are obviously CGI, but where the shift occurs is difficult to make out.) I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is great for the first two hours, tightly plotted and effectively balancing a large cast of characters. The last 20 minutes should have been a movie unto itself. It’s not a problem that spoils the movie (this is not the last 20 minutes of A.I. by any means) but it is an issue. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is great. DeHaan defines this version of Harry, and Foxx gives Electro an actual personality for what may be the first time ever. Everything pales in the face of the Garfield/Stone chemistry, though. They fit their roles individually, and are utterly convincing as young people in love every moment they are together. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is great. Everyone filming in 3D should make a serious case study out of this movie. Webb and his team have a great handle on why and how the depth should be used. The rushed ending is the only failing point here. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is excellent. Comic fans will see some moments coming, but they still resonate as intended. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a strong film. Despite the issues near the end, it is arguably the best Spider-Man film to date. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Amazing Spider-Man 2 receives 37 out of 42.