Watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was like being in the middle of one the world’s most awesome video games. Speaking to another “Spidey” fan two weeks prior to this advanced screening, we both agreed that the first of the Spider-Man remakes felt as though the filmmakers had taken a leaf out of the video game Mirror’s Edge. For those who have not played the game, it was the “first” first-person action/adventure platforming game and it was developed by EA Digital Illusions CE.
Watching the first film felt a little like the audience were being treated to a first person’s view of slinging webs and flying through the air after criminals, or Gwen Stacy. The sequel offers even more of this first person coverage of the superhero’s day to day web-slinging.
The second in the film franchise also offered up another video game comparison, that cannot be coincidental. When Jamie Foxx’s character becomes the new super villain Electro, his appearance and the way that the villain recharges his powers, are virtually the same as the protagonist’s in the video game Infamous, the Sucker Punch Productions/Sony Computer Entertainment developed game released in 2009. The same year that Mirror’s Edge was released in a Microsoft Windows version.
There can be no denying that while watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the IMAX 3D theatre it felt as though we were all sitting in the middle of the most awesome video game ever. Leaving the gaming allusions behind, for a moment, it should be pointed out that it is not often that after watching the latest blockbuster from Hollywood that one can truthfully write “I laughed and I cried,” and truly mean it.
To be brutally honest, this film was as near perfect as any that this film-lover has seen. It could immediately be added to the list of other near perfect films, which is not a long list but it does contain some classics; Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and The Searchers are just two of the films on this very short list, and both are damned near perfect for different reasons. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 should be added to the list because everything in the film is mixed equally and brilliantly to make the film an experience versus a chore to watch.
Not only was it an experience, but, the moment the end credits stopped rolling, at least one audience member was ready to watch the film all over again. This feeling, of the immediate need to be re-submerged in the film’s verse all over again, is a rare one and only two, possibly three, people have the ability to recognise a film’s specialness via this feeling.
Considering that I was one of the biggest opponents to the whole idea of remaking the Sam “we are not worthy” Raimi Spiderman films starring Tobey Maguire as the web-slinger and Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane, it is all the more amazing that I am now one converted to the Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield, and Emma Stone fan club.
Stepping away from singing the praises of new “team Spidey” it needs to be pointed out that in this second in the franchise, casting for the film surpassed gold and ended up in platinum territory in terms of brilliance. Before singing praises of Garfield and Stone, again, let’s look at Dane DeHaan as well as Jamie Foxx.
Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, the doomed offspring of Norman Osborn, nearly stole the show. DeHaan, who made waves in the sci-fi morality film Chronicle and the indie film The Place Beyond the Pines, a Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes crime drama, immediately brings to mind a young Brad Pitt circa Twelve Monkeys.
DeHaan’s performance feels so like the role that Pitt played in the Bruce Willis science fiction mystery thriller that it wouldn’t be hard to see the younger actor in Pitt’s part if Monkeys were ever remade. The 28 year-old actor has the same knack of having an almost humorously insane look in his eyes, when needed, and his way of phrasing things also brings Pitt to mind. He also resembles Brad as he looked back then, so much so that one hopes he can find his own “Angelina Jolie.”
Jamie Foxx effortlessly puts on the electrifying skin of Max Dillon, the “invisible” man behind a lot of the success of Oscorp in terms of “clean energy” who is also a little strange. When a chance “meeting” with the webslinger ends with Max being saved by his favorite superhero, the event takes on a personal meaning that later turns deadly with the introduction of all that electricity. The Django Unchained star played both iterations of Dillon with spellbinding ease.
Now back to the love crossed protagonists. Andrew Garfield, like DeHaan, brings to mind another actor when he’s on screen. The late James Stewart around his Destry Rides Again and Mr Smith Goes to Washington days could be Garfield’s great grandfather. Andrew has that same rough edged charm that promises to mature into full steamed handsome as he ages. The talent pool he possesses seems deep enough for him to spread his wings just like Stewart did.
Emma Stone. Just two words, but what a punch they pack. From filling the spot of a nerd’s-dream-girlfriend, to her role as Spider Man’s first real love, sorry M.J., Stone has proven that she is way more than a dweebs idea of the perfect woman. This actress shows acting chops that left “impressive” behind by the time of that first screen kiss.
There was a lot of comedic moments in this second film of the Spider Man franchise. Moments that, combined with the more “touching” interaction between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey, help to set the audience up for that last act. That perfect touch of humor helps in more ways than one to keep this film firmly grounded in Stan Lee’s verse of “everyman” turned superhero.
Marc Webb does another more than able job of bringing this world to life. Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Johnny Marr, and the “holy, or unholy,” six made the film’s soundtrack weave seamlessly throughout the film and helped to increase the illusion of being in the middle of the best and most awesome video game ever. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 also saw the obligatory Stan “the man” Lee cameo at the beginning of the film and overall this film left viewers full of hope that the webslinger will to continue thrilling for a long time on the big screen.
By Michael Smith
Brenden IMAX 3D Theatre