Flawed Spider-Man still delivers

Every now and then you watch a movie that’s so fun and entertaining, that in the moment, you forget that it has flaws. That was my reaction to “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” the first time around. I never thought it was perfect, but little seemed to bother me. Having seen the movie a second time, it is, admittedly, deeply flawed. But that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable summer blockbuster with many things to appreciate.

This Spider-Man adventure finds our hero, Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield), struggling to balance his relationships with his crime-fighting habits. Sound familiar? Probably because you saw it in the last sequel to this same story.

In addition to dealing with his complicated relationship with his girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) and finding out more and more about the mysterious past of his parents, Peter has to fight off a new enemy: Electro (Jamie Foxx).

You’ll hear people tell you that there are too many villains in this film, but I’d argue there is really only one. Paul Giamatti shows up as The Rhino, but only gets minimal screen time, so he’s barely worth even mentioning. He ends up being nothing more than a glorified thug, though his scenes are exciting to watch.

Then there’s the Green Goblin, who doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time either, which I imagine will disappoint hardcore fans.

As for our main villain, Electro, he was interesting to watch. He didn’t end up being an antagonist with a lot of backstory or heartfelt moments to make you care about his motives, but he still lit up the screen (literally) whenever he was there. Jamie Foxx definitely played the character to the best of his abilities, and you even forget that it’s Jamie Foxx once he’s all decked out in blue CGI.

Thank goodness Marc Webb knows how to handle chemistry between actors (as evidence from the wonderful “(500) Days of Summer”), because that’s really the driving force behind this story, and one of the biggest things that worked. I love the chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone so much that I almost forget I’m watching a huge billion-dollar movie when viewing their scenes. There’s also a scene between Peter and his Aunt May (Sally Field) that was surprisingly heartbreaking.

Even the action is handled well in most scenes. It gets slightly chaotic and CGI-heavy towards the end — so much so that it could be mistaken for an animated film at parts. Still, the beginning chase scene and Time Square showdown put a huge smile on my face.

Many fans are comparing this film to 2007’s Spider-Man 3. The similarities are there, but it deserves a lot more credit than that. At least this one didn’t have Peter Parker turning into a psychotic punk dancer. That said, it does seem overstuffed at times.

With everything that happened in this movie, it really could have been two movies. I was really excited to see the friendship between Peter and Harry Osborn grow and learn some more about them as kids, but their relationship came off as a total afterthought. It didn’t help that I didn’t like Dane DeHaan in the role of Harry. He’s not a bad actor (He shows great talent in Chronicle and The Place Beyond the Pines), but his delivery often came off as smug and robotic. Despite DeHaan’s weak acting, all the other actors put in strong performances.

If you are a fan of the first “Amazing Spider-Man” film, you’ll definitely find a lot to like in this sequel. And if you are a fan of superhero films in general, this has a lot of what you come to expect from the genre, along with a lot of really great surprises and heartfelt moments.

I just wish the filmmakers had a clearer focus as to where they were going with this universe. A lot of cool things happened, but it didn’t all come together in the end. Instead, it seemed more like a set-up for the next string a movies Sony wants to produce, trying hard to pump-up the audience with “what’s to come next” rather than making you happy with what you have now.