Yes, Sony has already released its sequel to the Spider-Man reboot, winking this time at the historic name of the long-running comic-book title; calling this installment The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro.
Some of you might be asking who this Electro guy is. In the comics he is just a poor nobody that got beaten as a kid by his own dad and who as an adult, through a fluke of fate, gained control of electricity, using this power for evil purposes. The question, then, is, why make your new Blockbuster around this villainous (if completely classic) B-list character?
It could make sense when you think that, out of all the rich gallery of Spider-Man’s nemeses, neither the Sam Raimi directed trilogy or the reboot by returning director Marc Webb, had featured Max Dillon, a.k.a. Electro. However, after almost two and a half hours of movie, I left with the impression that Electro’s “rising” had not been as spectacular or impressive as it should. And this inability to convey a sense of grave and imminent danger, among other glaring mistakes that this movie offered, was mainly the fault of a less than stellar script.
Make no mistake, most of the actors’ portrayals were spot-on, with a very comic-book-esque Jamie Foxx, who perfectly shows us what being a nobody in a city like New York, and working for a big conglomerate like OSCORP, could do to you if you had no great amount of confidence or self-esteem to begin with. Again, here, it is a pity that this great performance gets blurred by the fact that the script exaggerates the character’s traits to the point of sometimes making him unbelievable.
However, the true heart of this movie lies in the ups and downs of the teenage love between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and how he juggles being Spider-Man with the guilt that chases him since Gwen’s dad died.
Though this dynamic is a recurrent theme in the Spider-Man mythos – We both suffer because I push you away but I cannot have you by my side because you may end up dead – somehow that wonderful, innocent and sweet love between the two youngsters does not strike as it should; the sweet romance from the comics being replaced by a series of unfortunate encounters that do not show the sparkling chemistry one would expect.
Also, as hinted in the trailers – and by the developments of the previous film – the undercurrent of this version of the cinematic Spider-Man revolves around the figure of Peter Parker’s dad, and the mysteries surrounding his disappearance. The movie starts strong, shedding some light on this issue, and promising viewers that the flick is going to have a healthy dose of mystery in it, apart from super-heroic swinging and wallcrawling, and that Richard Parker’s story is as important as Peter’s.
However, the movie fails on the execution of this promise, falling flat when it’s supposed to blow the viewers’ minds with the big reveal.
Keeping a tradition, I’m saving the best for last, as rising actor Dane DeHaan deserves a special mention. The actor has an impressive acting registry, and his performance as tortured Harry Osborn, Peter’s best friend and son to OSCORP’s CEO Norman Osborn, is without a doubt the best performance the movie has to offer.
He makes the dark path that Harry follows completely believable, and expertly conveys the sense of loss and desperation that has always haunted this character in the comic-books. The character doesn’t feel forced at all, and more than that, plays a very important role in the developments of the movie, and in what’s to come for Spider-Man in the next installment of the saga.
Above all, the movie is entertaining and character-driven, which is appreciated. It has amazing special effects that might have given us the best Spider-Man swinging experience to date. It is a popcorn movie, no doubt, and if you enjoyed Marc Webb’s Spider-Man there’s a good chance you will also like this one.
However, Sony’s Rise of Electro suffers by comparison – an ugly thing to do – with the Rise of Marvel Studios, and feels more like a very long, elaborate way to get to the third part of this Spider-Man reboot instead of like a movie of its own.
With talks of at least two spinoff movies based on Spider-Man villains – The Sinister Six and Carnage vs. Venom – and another two Spider-Man movies to come, there are plenty of things to be excited about in the upcoming Spidey Universe.