Vil­lains aplenty and plenty of chem­istry

Bray People - - ENTERTAINMENT -

TWO IS com­pany but three su­per-vil­lains are a crowd in Marc Webb's ac­tion-packed se­quel to his 2012 block­buster, which suc­cess­fully re­booted the Marvel Comics fran­chise.

A Rus­sian mob­ster in rhi­noc­eros-shaped ar­mour, a ma­ligned Os­corp em­ployee who can shoot elec­tric­ity from his fin­ger­tips and an iconic green-skinned imp with daddy is­sues all vie for our at­ten­tion dur­ing a rough 'n' tum­ble 142 min­utes. The film's spe­cial ef­fects wiz­ards oblige with daz­zling se­quences of Spi­der­Man swing­ing at breath­less speed through the sky­scrapers of New York.

For all the se­quel's tech­ni­cal prow­ess, which is con­sid­er­able, it's the screen chem­istry of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, who met on the first pic­ture and have been dat­ing ever since, which pro­vides more bang than the dig­i­tally-ren­dered py­rotech­nics. When the two ac­tors stare into each other's eyes, we can feel the elec­tric­ity crackle be­tween them.

The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man 2 opens with a pro­tracted flash­back to the night Richard Parker (Camp­bell Scott) and his wife Mary (Em­beth Davidtz) leave their young son in the care of Aunt May (Sally Field) and Un­cle Ben (Martin Sheen). The rea­son for this sud­den dis­ap­pear­ance continues to haunt Peter (Garfield). So too does the ghost of Cap­tain Stacy (De­nis Leary), whose daugh­ter Gwen (Stone) is Peter's on-off-on-off girl­friend.

While Peter hones his pow­ers, child­hood friend Harry Os­born (Dane DeHaan) re­turns to the Big Ap­ple to as­sume con­trol of Os­corp in the wake of the death of his bul­ly­ing fa­ther, Nor­man (Chris Cooper). Harry's as­cen­sion co­in­cides with an in­dus­trial ac­ci­dent that trans­forms nerdy em­ployee and Spi­der-Man fa­natic, Max Dil­lon (Jamie Foxx), into an elec­tri­cally-charged monster. Thus Peter must po­ten­tially give up his life to pro­tect Gwen and Aunt May from harm.

The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man 2 fleshes out the back story of the Park­ers and their in­volve­ment in se­cret ex­per­i­ments. Foxx's por­trayal of the pa­thetic bad guy with unimag­in­able power cours­ing through his veins is more miss than hit. The script doesn't spend enough time with his cor­po­rate nerd be­fore the meta­mor­pho­sis into Elec­tro. Con­se­quently, gear changes be­tween ac­tion, ro­mance and com­edy are not as smooth as they could be.

Thank­fully, DeHaan is ter­rif­i­cally tor­mented as the heir to the Os­corp em­pire, who clings for­lornly to the hope of a trans­fu­sion of Spi­der­Man's blood to cure his ge­netic woes.

The sins of two fa­thers weigh heav­ily on their sons, lay­ing the foun­da­tions for a bat­tle royale be­tween the wily web-slinger and an iconic ad­ver­sary in a third in­stal­ment, ear­marked for re­lease in sum­mer 2016.

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