“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” proves that more is less

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Overstuffed and bloated, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s” convoluted plot hinders it from reaching the heights of the original “Spider-Man 2,” despite its stronger casting.

In this mediocre sequel, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues to relish his spidey powers and role as a superhero. However, Peter soon finds that he must choose between his everyday life with his love, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and his life as Spider-Man. All the while, conflict has sparked in the confines of Oscorp, an experimental science company, as Electro (Jamie Foxx) rises to villainy and Peter’s bestie, the sickly Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), claims his title as the successor of Oscorp.

20140319151353!The_Amazing_Spiderman_2_poster“The Amazing Spider Man 2” opens strongly, flashing back to the last moments of the lives of Peter Parker’s parents. The scene is full of hearty sentiment as the couple is tormented by their decision to leave their son and struggle to get to safety. In this scene, there were no flat supervillains or outrageous CGI to obstruct the flow of raw emotion. However, as the movie immediately cuts to Spider-Man parading through the streets of New York City, eliciting cheap laughs and beating down some more boring, useless villains, the beginning scene is left forgotten.

Therefore, the charming, lovable and funny Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are forced to keep the movie from bursting at its seams following the opening scene. Garfield’s understated charisma, believable nerdiness and overwhelming sassiness combine to form the ultimate portrayal of Spider-Man, thereby blowing the babyfaced Tobey Maguire of “Spider-Man 2” out of the water. Stone, with her adorkable awkwardness, is also an asset as she overshadows Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of Gwen Stacy in “Spider-Man 2.”

But most of all, the duo meshes well together as their clever banter induces “aws” amongst audience members. However, this endearing dialogue is constantly, rudely interrupted by  rumbling, borderline ludicrous fight scenes, and the swollen plot suffocates the two talented actors under its own monstrous weight.

Regardless, the gorgeous special effects make up for the plot to some degree. For example, the special effects used for Electro can only be described as magnificent. Electricity seems to flow through Foxx, lining every muscle with an incandescent, beautiful blue glow. Foxx breathes electricity. However, his character lacks the spark of his physical design. Electro tries to be multi-sided and complex. He tries to fit the mold of an unfortunate innocent who was forced into villainy by betrayal and deceit and tries to be the hero of his own story while serving as the villain of Spiderman’s, but he falls flat. Electro is boring and melodramatic and, as the story goes on, we lose every shred of sympathy for the awkward villain.

On top of that, the great excess of characters, namely Harry Osborn, overstuff the film and flush Electro out, preventing him from developing into a strong, complex villain. Although DeHaan effectively creates Harry’s dark and brooding persona, his character merely serves as a distraction and, therefore, convolutes the plot even more. Harry appears as just an afterthought and, even though we are constantly verbally reminded of his close relationship with Peter, we are shown nothing to truly make us believe in their friendship. Viewers, consequently, are torn between the two separate conflicts involving Electro and Harry and are unable to effectively distribute their attention between them due to the movie’s narrative failings.

With its bloated plot, uninteresting villains and surplus of unnecessary characters, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” fails to capture audiences as effectively as its predecessor. Not even the superb effects and acting talents used in the movie are enough to keep the plot’s web from falling apart.

My conclusion: 5/10

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