Spider-Man 2 spins an amazing tale of romance, action, and promises of the future

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Ok, first question out of the way- yes, it’s worth seeing Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 3-D. The audience is treated to joining the Web Head as he swings through the New York City streets, albeit at the awkward perspective of a camera strapped around crotch level and pointed directly at his face.

Emma Stone embodies the emotional struggle which is the core of the cahracter of Spider-Man as Gwen Stacey. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is wracked with guilt over breaking his promise to Gwen’s dying father. That guilt pulls him from her side, because no matter how much he wants a life with her, he cannot bear the thought of losing her to his enemies. This is what Spider-Man is all about, and it is juxtaposed with accusations that Spider-Man is a menace, and him saving people to reinforce Peter’s own view of himself as a savior and one who brings hope.

One fender bender at a time

Ultimately, Stacey is a much more effective symbol of this struggle than Mary Jane ever was in the Tobey Maguire movies. Her job at Oscorp brings her into contact with Max Dillon, soon to be transformed into Electro, and puts in her hands knowledge which helps Spider-Man fight Electro and undo the damage done later in the movie.

Just as Gwen Stacey is an effective symbol of the emotional struggles and turmoils of Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a good example of the difference between Marvel’s and DC’s film properties. Even when Marvel isn’t at the reigns, it’s characters are doing far better in theaters than DC’s. Whereas Christian Bale’s Batman series reduced the character from The World’s Greatest Detective to a decent detective who just happened to be rich enough to afford cool toys, whose female counterparts more frequently stood around to be saved (Catwoman not withstanding), Marvel’s characters are aided by their female counterparts, and the need for them to be saved occurs scarcely more often than male characters need to be saved. These women are active participants in the movie, fighting for their lovers both emotionally and physically, and filling vital roles in the climaxes. Try as he might to keep her away and safe, Spider-Man cannot stop Gwen from joining him at the Oscorpower plant in his fight with Electro.

My real “problem” with the movie is that a movie with Gwen Stacey and Green Goblin both appearing in the same movie can only end one way. After the movie spent two hours making me identify with the young couple, with Peter pushing her away and Gwen realizing she has to move on with her life, all the way to England, I was pleading with the screen that it not end the way I knew it would.


Everyone knows where this is going…

But it’s not all bittersweet doomed romance for comic book fans who know the lore, however. The movie scatters little morsels of Spider-Man mythos, ready to be picked up in the future. Oscorp’s head of security is named Smythe. Harry’s assistant inherited from his father is named Felicia (though given no last name). While there is no stinger scene, Harry is shown walking with a man, identified only as Mr. Fiers, past the Oscorp special projects vaults, as they talk about a small, six man team to attack Spider-Man with, the first of which is the russian mobster who Spider-Man pursues early in the movie, Aleksei Sytsevich, as the screen reveals a weaponized powered suit with a large, horned head suitable for charging. The vaults also contain metal wings and a four-armed harness. The credits show a blank mask from the eyes of which pour smoke. It would seem that the series is setting up for a Sinister Six, possibly without Kraven and Sandman, though apparently in their own movie.

Everyone heard about this, right?

All in all, the movie truly was “Amazing,” and I higly recommend it.

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