The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review
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After surviving an exceptionally frigid winter outside theaters—and yet another unexceptional few months inside theaters—many of us movie lovers are eager for the start of another Summer Blockbuster Season. This year, Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does the honors, ushering in a season full of big-budget excess—with somewhat less than amazing results.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 finds Andrew Garfield once again donning the iconic spandex suit to play the web-slinging hero and his mild-mannered alter ego, Peter Parker. As Peter settles into his new life as a superhero, he also struggles with his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone)—and the promise that he made to her father, swearing that he’d keep her safe from his dangerous lifestyle.

Meanwhile, as Peter and Gwen deal with their on-again, off-again relationship, a pair of tragedies at Oscorp turns two of Spider-Man’s former allies into powerful adversaries.

Most comic book adrenaline junkies will be expecting non-stop action, thrills, and budget-busting effects from this first big superhero adventure of the summer. And, in a way, they’ll get just that. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 certainly gets off to an explosive opening—and it’s loaded with high-flying action (in IMAX 3D, of course!). But there’s more to it than just action and effects.

As in the 2012 original, this web-slinging sequel once again seems to focus more of its energy on Peter’s personal relationships than on his crime-fighting action. It’s no wonder, really, since director Marc Webb picked up the franchise after directing the adorable rom-com (500) Days of Summer—and he definitely knows how to tell a charming love story. But while it was understandable in the series reboot, it seems to go too far in the follow-up. Tragic back stories and drawn-out romantic quandaries are the things of franchise introductions. Now is the time to ramp up the action and get right down to the business of taking down a new batch of over-the-top super-villains. The ongoing drama distracts from the action while also putting a damper on the unlikely hero’s lovably geeky, one-liner-slinging swagger.

Meanwhile, it seems as though Webb attempted to compensate for the added relationship drama with extra villains. But instead of creating extra action and suspense, the dueling stories take away from each other. Neither villain gets the development he deserves—and, as a result, both storylines feel weak.

Fortunately, though, there’s still a fair amount of web-shooting and villain-fighting. There are plenty of explosions and some eye-popping effects, too. And Garfield is as lovable as ever, making the focus on Peter’s history and relationships easier to endure.

In the end, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a movie of excesses: too much melodrama, too many villains, too lengthy runtime. While it’s an enjoyable popcorn flick, it’s not necessarily the most explosive way to kick off another Summer Blockbuster Season.

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