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‘Spider-man 2,’ most thrilling film this year

Peter Parker/Spiderman is the Marlon Brando of superheroes. Brilliantly acted by Andrew Garfield, Spiderman inhabits a substantial world of angst. Like any well-written character Brando has ever portrayed, Garfield brings an amazing reality to Spiderman. Within this comic book adventure is a touching love story that is the glue that holds this movie together. For those looking for high adventure and sweeping special effects, not to worry. It’s all there to be savored. But what elevates “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is its humanity.

We are given three young characters – all with father issues. They are all so appealing and likeable, even the semi-villain Harry/Green Goblin. Dane Dehaan’s debut as Harry lights up the screen with originality and a compelling pathos. Equally compelling is Emma Stone as Gwen, the object of Spidey’s affection. This trio of young actors interacts with great chemistry. They will make you care, very much so. They feel deeply. They love fully. And they live the adventure.

This film is far superior to its predecessor. The first Spiderman with Garfield was very good. This follow up is great! With kinetic direction by Marc Webb and a smart screenplay by a team of writers led by Alex Kurtzman, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is the most thrilling movie of the year.

The film opens with a flashback showing Peter’s parents and their supposed fate. This bit of exposition will figure in to the plot later. We then are brought into the present. Peter is enjoying his alter ego’s crime-fighting but is unhappy, due to his promise to Gwen’s dying father to stay away from her – for her own good, he pleaded. Well, how can one break a promise to a dying man? This is Peter’s main conflict throughout the film. Staying away from Gwen is an impossible feat for Peter. Keeping away from Peter is equally impossible for Gwen.

Along the way, we meet new opponents for our beloved crime-fighter. Jamie Foxx turns in a fine performance as a good man who is transformed into a monster – namely Electro. He becomes a very formidable nemesis to Spiderman. The maniacal Rhino, played by an unrecognizable Paul Giamatti, fills the screen with terror and perhaps a small snicker of delight.

Yet, with all the battles and fireworks, at the very heart of this movie is the towering love story – beautiful and sad. For fans of the Spiderman saga, there is a shocking development to grapple with. I am still grappling with it. Frankly, I was stunned.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a uniquely balanced film – love, betrayal, adventure, comedy and thrills – thrills and chills galore. Perhaps the movie should have been called “The Thrilling Spiderman 2.” Peter Parker inhabits a world we care about. For all the superhero trappings, this movie is not flighty – pardon the pun. It is a rich narrative – fully satisfying especially because Peter Parker has promises to keep.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is in theaters.


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