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Monday, July 28, 2014

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Susan Granger's review of 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

Published 10:18 am, Saturday, May 3, 2014
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This superhero sequel soars primarily because of its charming romantic chemistry, coupled with several stunning acrobatic-action sequences. Andrew Garfield returns as photojournalist/vigilante Peter Parker who, when not battling crime in New York City, is coping with the mysterious death of his parents (Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidz), plus a complicated relationship with his high-school valedictorian, Oxford-bound girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), whose late father (Denis Leary) warned Peter to stay away from her.

Meanwhile, his old frenemy Harry Osborn (Dean DeHaan), heir to the secretive, mega-billion-dollar OsCorp, discovers that an unfortunate industrial accident involving electric eels turns mild-mannered engineer Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) into the villainous, high-voltage Electro. In addition, the wiry webslinger must fend off DeHaan's Green Goblin, who believes his genetic anomaly only can be cured by absorbing some Spidey blood, and a superfluous Russian mobster, Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), known as the Rhino.

Wittily scripted by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner from a story by Spidey vet James Vanderbilt, based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, it's adroitly, if erratically directed by Marc Webb ("(500) Days of Summer"), who concludes with a foreshadowing of adventures to come. Andrew Garfield's swinging Spidey evidences far more humor this time around -- and his quips enhance the predictable plot.

Sally Field is back as Peter's supportive Aunt May, Colm Feore embodies a duplicitous Oscorp exec, along with slinky Felicity Jones, and ubiquitous Stan Lee can be spotted in a cameo.

Hans Zimmer's score is augmented by the Magnificent Six, featuring Pharrell Williams, and a guitar ballad from "American Idol" Phillip Phillips. Yet -- with a running time of 141 minutes -- it's a shame editor Pietro Scalia didn't do more judicious snipping. And if you don't remember "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012), reacquaint yourself; otherwise, repeated references in this current installment might be a bit confusing.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" spins a sinister 7, as an adrenaline-pumping popcorn picture aimed at a youthful audience.