Today I had the pleasure of seeing the latest web-slingng offering to cinema, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Following on from the success of the first in this series, it picks up a short while after we left it (spoilers to follow).
In a flashback, Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. He and his wife Mary board a plane, but the flight is hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard, with the pilot dead, the plane spins out of control and crashes.
In the present day, Peter Parker continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich, who attempted to steal a truck containing plutonium vials. During the chase, Spider-Man rescues Oscorp Industries employee Max Dillon. While talking to Gwen Stacy on the phone, Peter sees a vision of her late father, Captain George Stacy, reminding him of the promise he made to stay away from Gwen. Afterwards, Peter meets Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony, and they share a kiss. However, he insists that he needs to keep his promise to her father and ends their relationship.
Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn returns to New York to see his terminally ill father Norman, the CEO of Oscorp Industries. Norman explains his illness is hereditary, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Before he dies, he gives Harry a small device which he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new Oscorp CEO.
Assuming they are now friends, Max develops an obsession with Spider-Man. Whilst tending to some maintenance in an Oscorp laboratory, he loses his balance and falls into a tank of electric eels being used for experiments. The electricity mutates him into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter tries to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she tells him she is moving to England for school. Before they can discuss it, Max wanders into Times Square and accidentally causes a blackout. Spider-Man attempts to calm him down, but the police try to shoot Max, making him lose his temper and attack. Spider-Man eventually stops him, and he is taken to Oscorp to be experimented on.
The first symptoms of Harry’s illness show, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been sending photos of Spider-Man to The Daily Bugle, for help finding Spider-Man. Peter initially refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. He visits Harry again, this time as Spider-Man, only to refuse again. Members of the Oscorp board frame Harry for covering up Max’s accident, and remove him from his position as CEO. Harry’s assistant Felicia Hardy informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Max (now calling himself “Electro”) to get him back in to the Oscorp building. Inside, he finds a suit of armor and other equipment made by Norman, as well as bio-weapons called “symbiotes”.
Peter uses information left behind by his father to locate the video message he left. In it, Richard explains he had to leave New York because he was unwilling to go along with Norman Osborn’s plans to use what they had created for biological weapons. Peter then receives a voicemail message from Gwen, telling him she was offered the job in England and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and they agree to go to England together.
Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him. Gwen follows, and they are able to defeat Electro by overloading his electricity supply, causing an explosion. Afterward, Harry arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry; upon seeing Gwen, Harry quickly deduces Spider-Man’s true identity and, wanting revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps Gwen. He fights Spider-Man at the top of a clock tower, and while Spider-Man manages to subdue Harry, Gwen falls to her death.
Months later, Peter has given up being Spider-Man and spends every day at Gwen’s grave. Meanwhile, Harry breaks Alexsei Sytsevich out of prison, gives him the code name “Rhino” and equips him with a mechanical suit of armor. Rhino rampages through the streets, and a recording of Gwen’s graduation speech inspires Peter to return as Spider-Man and confront him.
It was a terrific film, getting stright into the action with interesting dialogue and some incredible fight scenes. The way that Spider-Man is written and portrayed in this film is truly brilliant. Andrew Garfield deserves a massive amount of credit for his excellent portrayal. The rest of the cast also all performed terrifically, but special mention should definitely go to Jamie Foxx for being a great Electro, Emma Stone for Gwen Stacy, and especially Dane DeHaan for a truly spectacular and sinister Harry Osborn. I cannot recommend the film highly enough to anyone, and it’s definitely something that both children and adults can enjoy.
Thanks for reading.