With the relentless onslaught of superhero movies that have flown through our cinemas in the last few years it is easy to forget that a mere decade ago there was only a handful of household names in the spandex wearing community. One of the biggest of these was Spider-Man – a character who achieved much of his popularity because many of the audience found it easy to identify with a geeky teenager who just happened to have superhuman strength, agility and disturbingly sticky hands. After all, Clark Kent is a god like alien and Bruce Wayne is a tortured millionaire but Peter Parker is one of us.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swings its way into Birmingham’s Giant Screen this week like it’s eponymous hero. The special effects that convinced us that web slinging was a feasible commuting method have been taken to a whole new level that, when combined with the massive 70 feet plus Giant Screen and state of the art 3D effects, left me feeling as if I was hanging on for dear life as our hero swooped, swung and sprang through the city.
There are a number of villains led by a sparkly Jamie Fox as Electro (a man who laughs in the face of rising electricity bills) although the acting honours are taken by Dane DeHaan who gives a searing performance as Peter’s friend/enemy Harry Osborn. This film is an attempt by Sony to emulate the success of Marvel Studios in creating their Marvel Cinematic Universe and if the film has a problem it is in its attempts to spread itself too thin while setting up both future Spidey sequels and the proposed Venom and Sinister Six spin offs. Poor Paul Giamatti barely gets a look in as the Rhino despite what some of the marketing implies but no doubt we shall see more of him later.
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone make appealing leads as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey but I think it fair to assume that cinema goers won’t be flocking to see this movie for what it has to say about relationships for teenagers in the 21st Century. It’s all about bangs, flashes, chases and fights liberally sprinkled with humour (some of which works well and some less so) and some darker moments that communicate a sense of real peril that may have been lacking from the first movie in the series.
By “Numbers” Mike Ward who can be contacted on Twitter