The Amazing Spider-Man 2

120px-film-strip2Despite a night with no sleep courtesy of a vomiting baby, we staggered into the Glasgow IMAX screen for the 11:00 showing. Best seats in the house, as well!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

“Soon, everyone in the city will know how it feels to live in a world without power, without mercy, without Spider-Man!”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: The continuing adventures of Spidey, the return of Harry Osborn and the rise of Electro

See it if you like: Seriously? You need this information about a superhero film?

This films seems to be dividing the film-going public, at least as far as those I know who’ve caught it. Personally, I really enjoyed it. Gillian pretty much enjoyed it. One of my pupils labelled it “alright, I suppose” while a facebook friend dropped it into the “****” box. Even so, the one thing most people do seem to agree on is that it’s better than the previous installment.

One point to make clear – and a thing that was worrying me from the trailer – is that the film doesn’t feature that many villains, at least certainly not all at once in a big battle or anything. It’s all the better for it, too. You can have too much of a good thing, and with a character like Spiderman, plot is as important as action. I’d not want to see him battling four villains simultaneously – it would just be messy.

Instead, we have one main villain in Electro (Jamie Foxx) whose development and origin are paced and explored much as Spidey’s was in the last film. I won’t spoil too many details of the others in the film!

Visually, this is one of the best superhero films I’ve seen bar none. Especially in 3D on an IMAX screen, the web-slinging scenes of Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) swooping and tumbling from location to location are staggeringly well done. Perilous drops, acrobatic flips and physically accurate (as a “proportionate strength of a spider human being” can be, I guess) movement.

There are moment where I felt that the pace dropped a little too low, but this was offset with plenty of little references to keep an eye/ear out for and the excellent comic timing and intonation of Garfield. People have generally responded negatively to his portrayal of the Webbed Wonder, but in this film I think he’s nailed it. Definitely not trying to be Tobey Maguire, instead marking his own territory.

When I’m absolutely exhausted, I usually don’t enjoy watching films much as I’m too tired and fidgety. Despite this, I really did enjoy this outing for the Webslinger and would happily recommend it. But, as I say, you may not fall on the same side of the fence as me.

One disappointment – the mid-credit teaser for another film (I won’t spoil the surprise) is not included in the IMAX presentation. You’ll only see it on regular screens. Boo.

The Amazing Spider-Man

With the surprise additions of Little Miss who decided to extend her “world’s latest bedtime” record until after 11pm, we opted for cheap-o-vision rather an IMAX to see the umpteenth version of the Webbed Wonder. Astoundingly, there were more 2D than 3D performances at the local Cineworld so we didn’t have a problem getting tickets.

The Amazing Spider-Man

“You seriously think I’m a cop in a skintight red and blue suit?”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Seriously? OK… boy gets bitten by spider, gets spider powers, faces big nasty bad guy. Happy?

See it if you like: Comic book adaptations with a very strong story, which don’t stay as close to the version you’re used to as you may expect

First things first – did they deliberately hunt out a director called Marc Webb purely for this film or did he change his name for publicity reasons? Either way, he’s done a good job and even turned a doubting Thomas like me into a believer. I simply couldn’t believe they were “rebooting” a franchise that was barely ten years old, with the last instalment not even five years ago.

Reboot they did, though, and relative unknown Andrew Garfield was cast in the Peter Parker role. A part, incidentally, he’s very good in. He has all of the confused teenagery-ness that Maguire had… and then some. Parker’s “proper” girlfriend as per the older comic history, Gwen Stacey, is drafted back in in the form of Emma Stone. Pretty, yes, but definitely doesn’t pass for a high school pupil. At all. Denis Leary is superb as her dad, Captain Stacey, and it’s great to see him in a film role for the first time in ages (not counting voicing animated sabre-toothed tigers).

There are many other differences between this and the last series, which is a good thing. I really enjoyed the previous trilogy, and it’s a welcome thing to see that they’re not effectively being remade. The basic story is still there (MINOR SPOILER: orphan who lives with aunt and uncle is bitten by spider, develops powers, has fight with uncle, uncle dies, boy tries to hunt down killer) but beyond that we’re in fairly new territory.

Despite appearing in the previous films, Dr Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) never actually featured as a villain. In this, he’s the central one and a great character with two very interesting sides to his story. There are many nods to other parts of Spidey-history that fans may be familiar with, but they are really just on the periphery – The Bugle, OsCorp and so on.

Oh, and of course the obligatory (in fact, I believe contractual) Stan Lee cameo. This is the best one he’s done so far. Even better than that from Thor (which was, let’s face it, the only good bit in that film).

If there’s a problem with the film it’s that it’s a bit too drawn out and slow to get going. Gillian and I felt it, but it didn’t bother us too much. Little Miss, on the other hand, definitely needed the action to kick in a little earlier. At 137 minutes long, it’s a long time to wait to see some ass-whupping. Having said that, once it gets going the action sequences are superb. Not too fast, while still being clear and imaginative. Much use was made of acrobats and actors rather than CGI and it shows in the character movement making them all the more realistic and enjoyable to watch.

Would this have been worth the extra cash to see in 3D at the IMAX? Yes, I think it would. There are enough huge scenes that I think it would benefit. However, there’s nothing wrong with seeing it in good old-fashioned 2D.

A cracking film, and a good take on what’s becoming a very familiar story.

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