FLIX: 'THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2'
OPENING FRIDAY AT CINEMARK 12, SHOWPLACE 3, TWIN DOLPHIN
• STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Chris Cooper, Paul Giamatti, Felicity Jones, B.J. Novak
• DIRECTED BY: Marc Webb
• RATED: PG-13 for stylized violence and action
• RUNNING TIME: 2 hours, 22 minutes
What made the 2012 reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise so invigorating was the perfect casting of Andrew Garfield in the title role.
His goofiness, boyish charm and right amount of brooding is more in line with Stan Lee's creation than the dark, angry and dull version Tobey Maguire brought to the screen.
In "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," Garfield expands on the comical side of our superhero, which makes the character seem even more human and realistic.
You've got to remember Spidey is not only a superhero, but he's also a teenager, and so he's naturally going to do immature and silly things.
This is evident during the first few minutes of the film as we see Spider-Man cracking jokes, whistling his theme song (it's also his ringtone), talking to himself and making light of serious situations.
He may be young and reckless, but like any good superhero, he still manages to save the day.
The film starts off with Peter Parker (Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) graduating high school. They really love each other, but Peter keeps seeing images of Gwen's late father asking him to stay away from his daughter to keep her safe, and so he keeps pushing her away.
It's their relationship that serves as the heartbeat of the film.
The chemistry between Garfield and the charming Stone is so good that you would swear they're not acting, and they're not. The two began dating after meeting on the set of the first "Amazing Spider-Man" film.
Let's talk about villains.
Spider-Man takes on three in this movie, but it's not overwhelming and rarely do they cross paths.
Jamie Foxx plays a nerdy and shy Max Dillon, who after a nasty run-in with some high-voltage electric eels, is transformed into Electro.
He resembles a glowing version of the emperor in "Star Wars," from the hoodie to the thunderbolts shooting from his fingertips.
Spider-Man's former classmate Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) gets his hands on some Spidey-related serum and starts turning into a green, sinister-looking goblin (of course, we all know what happens to him), and Paul Giamatti briefly shows up as the armor-wearing super-villain Rhino.
The special effects are impressive and go overboard a few times, but that's expected.
I do recommend seeing the film in 3-D and IMAX if possible, especially for the scenes with Electro and Spider-Man free falling through the air.
Director Marc Webb stays in line with the comic books, giving us a funny and tragic film that makes our protagonist seem much more human than superhero.
RATING: 3 stars
Joe Friar is a member of the Houston Film Critics Society, juror at the Victoria Texas Independent Film Festival (VTXIFF) and host of the Breakfast Buzz morning show on Hit Radio 104.7. Contact Joe at email@example.com.