The release of a fifth Spider-Man film just 12 years since Sam Raimi’s Tobey Maguire-starring first suggests a near infinite excess of narrative ideas for our web-wielding hero. That, or perhaps it means that Spidey’s real special power is a licence to print money. The motive matters not, for Andrew Garfield’s second outing in the title role does exactly as you’d expect it to.
Unfolding over the course of over 140 minutes, as if grandiosity is a desirable trait in its own right rather than a misfortune, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 masks the paucity of its largely obvious A-Z plot with enough visual spectacular to trick your mind into believing that a whole lot more is happening than it really is.
This time around, Peter Parker’s relationship with Gwen Stacy becomes more on than off, especially when Jamie Foxx’s stalky Max has an accident so severe that the authorities would need a record-breaking bribe to stop them from closing down Oscorp on the grounds of lax health and safety. And so Spidey’s new foe Electro is created: a malevolent force who could so easily have been a powerful ally.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is almost a comedy warped into a superhero caper, especially with numerous puns based on the idea that Parker’s powers would bring him first world problems. Often, though, the comedy and the baddies veer towards the kitsch, which is especially true of Paul Giamatti’s Rhino. Surely a misanthropic alcoholic would instead be the perfect basis for a superhero’s nemesis.
By the end, though, you’ll remember the sizzling spectacle of Electro; a huge scale set-piece in Times Square; the cataclysmic climax; and, erm, Gwen being impressed that Parker used his Spidey skills to stalk her. It’s big, bold and mostly fun.