Got a chance to see Amazing Spider-Man 2 this afternoon, and I have to say that it's definitely better than the first Andrew Garfield outing as Peter Parker.
Having said that, it's still nowhere near as good as 2004's Spider-Man 2 with Tobey Maguire as the web-slinger and Alfred Molina as his most awesome nemesis, Doc Ock. It's a lot to live up to, but ASM2 does give it a shot (and it's still better than 2007's Spider-Man 3 to boot.)
Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker, still somehow dating Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, reprising her role) and living with his Aunt May (still the excellent Sally Field). Graduating with Gwen, she's trying to get into Oxford, he's trying to juggle all this with his responsibilities as Spider-Man, defending New York City from bad guys big and small. Things are going pretty well for Spidey, less well for Peter, but he's managing his promise to keep Gwen safe at the cost of his relationship with her.
All that goes to hell when an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), shows up back in Peter's life, wanting to know why his father Norman (Chris Cooper), the head of tech giant Oscorp Industries, was so interested in Peter's dad and the research he was working on. Peter too has a lot of questions concerning his missing parents and what kind of research his father was doing for Oscorp at the time. Each of the two digging into their respective father's past eventually leads to a collision.
That collision plays out in the life of Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx), a nerdy Oscorp electrical engineer and Spidey fanboy who ends up in a freak accident involving, of all things, electric eel powered bio-batteries, turning him into the lightning-powered villain Electro. A big theme in any Spider-man story is the web-slinger taking on bad guys way above his weight class, and Electro is no exception. When Harry starts to figure out that his old buddy Peter may be the man behind Spidey's mask and that he may be the key to curing the genetic disease that affected both father and son, he eventually takes matters into his own hands as the Green Goblin, giving Spidey seemingly well more than he can handle.
If "With great power comes great responsibility" was the theme of the first ASM, the sequel is "With great decisions come great consequences", a far more applicable lesson to the rest of us not able to swing from webs and crawl up walls. It seems like everyone in the film has made some sort of momentous choice, and have to now live with the consequences of that choice, both good and bad. Seeing all this play out on the screen does get a little stale in the movie's 2:21 running time, but the action and special effects (particularly with Foxx's Electro) help move the film along to a conclusion that Spider-Man fans should expect, knowing Gwen Stacy's role in Spidey's universe.
Not as good as last month's Captain America: the Winter Soldier, but still a good matinee comic book popcorn flick. Your next Sony Marvel flick: X-Men: Days of Future Past in three weeks (stick around for the ASM2 end credits stinger for more on that one!)
Make Mine Marvel, as they say...