Saturday, 17 May 2014

Review - The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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     It’s no secret that superhero films have seen a huge resurgence over the past few years, in particular those featuring Marvel characters. Yet Spider-Man seems to be a particularly iconic character – after all, the series was re-booted only five years after completing the original trilogy. Peter Parker is perhaps, one of the more relatable superheroes, whose powers were thrust upon him without consent, and who faces just as many ordinary teenage struggles as he does villains.

     The Amazing Spider-Man (Amazon link) is a rollercoaster of a film, both hilarious and heart-wrenching. I also take it as a good sign, when a film makes me as emotional as this did. There is a lot going on in the plot, but I felt it was just balanced enough so as not to overwhelm the audience. As well as facing not one, but two villains, Peter has to cope with the turmoil in his own life as well, primarily his relationship with Gwen, providing scenes of tenderness and heartache; and his desire to find out more about his parents, whose story is mysterious and fascinating. I enjoyed seeing these more human storylines mixed in with the heart-pounding action sequences.

     Andrew Garfield is by far my favourite incarnation of Spider-Man, as he so perfectly captures all sides of him, from Peter’s awkwardness to Spider-Man’s confidence, and all his shades of intelligent, caring and fearless in between. Spider-Man’s humour is one of my favourite things about him, as he continually fires witty remarks at his enemies, even in the direst circumstances, and it never fails to make me smile. And Spider-Man is a flawed character, who makes mistakes, and that makes him all the more relatable. Emma Stone is also wonderful as Gwen Stacy, beautiful, smart, kind and brave to the end. She is no mere damsel in distress, but insists on helping Peter, and her tragic story is fundamental to his character development. Sally Field, in her portrayal of Aunt May, brings warmth and nurture to the film, and her scenes with Peter are truly touching.

     Both villains faced in the film are excellent, Electro played by Jamie Foxx and the Green Goblin played by Dane Dehaan. I enjoyed getting to see their origin stories, and understanding why they did the things they did. Foxx moves easily from bumbling and pitiable to utterly terrifying, and Dehaan brings a unique charisma to his role, making his character both charming and devious. I did question the decision to include two villains in one film before seeing it, but it actually works well, and their transitions are well-timed so as not to be overwhelming or confusing.

     The cinematography was stunning throughout the film. 3D is becoming so common, that I often forget I’m watching it in some films, but here it was utilised to its fullest effect. Scenes were carefully orchestrated to make the most of 3D technology; and combined with the excellent special effects I felt immersed in the film and frequently flinched as objects flew towards the screen. The action sequences were well choreographed as well, and I really liked the use of slow motion to show the intricacies of the fast-paced fighting, allowing you to truly appreciate Spider-Man’s abilities. The Times Square scene was a particular favourite of mine, in everything from the character portrayal, to the action sequences, to the gorgeous orchestral soundtrack. I was unsure about the more modern tracks used in the film’s soundtrack, but the orchestral pieces were wonderful.

     All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and I think it’s the best Spider-Man film to date. Spider-Man is a character that resonates with us all, as an underdog that rose up to become something more. Even when he isn’t saving lives, he is an icon for people to look up to. You only have to search online to find a wealth of stories about how this character has helped so many fans in the real world, because, as this film reminds us (in a beautifully worded script towards the end) he brings us hope. And the world would be a far sadder place if we didn’t have hope.


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