Northampton Press

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Movie Review: 'Spider-Man' amazes yet again

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

How amazing is "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"? Pretty amazing.

Thanks to terrific casting, "TASM2" pulls you in and makes the characters and storyline stick.

Andrew Garfield ("The Social Network," 2010) is a slender, tentative, conflicted Peter Parker-Spider-Man. He is tremulous of voice, with a perplexed look, complete with furrowed brow, and body language that's more puppy dog than pit bull. Even in the Spider-Man suit, Garfield projects world-weariness and a snarky attitude.

Emma Stone ("The Help," 2011) is a luminous, chirpy, strong presence as Parker's girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Her huge lovely eyes are a special effect all on their own. The slight lisp in her voice only adds to her charm.

Even more amazing in "TASM2" is Emmaus High School graduate Dane DeHaan ("The Place Beyond The Pines," 2012), who carves a major presence, with boyish face and slim physique as Harry Osborn. He exudes the self-possessed power of a David Bowie, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson. He transitions from sweet smile to malevolent grin as Green Goblin. We haven't seen the last of DeHaan in the "Spider-Man" franchise.

Jamie Foxx is a shy, put-upon, insecure nerd as Max Dillon only to become a living, breathing Frankenstein monster as Electro.

Sally Field is fun as Peter Parker's Aunt May.

Paul Giamatti is nearly unrecognizable as Aleksei Sytsevich, a Russian villain who becomes Rhino, of whom we'll no doubt see more in "Spider-Man 3."

Director Marc Webb ("The Amazing Spider-Man," 2012; 500 Days Of Summer," 2009) creates an entertaining balance of incredible action scenes (an opening New York City truck chase scene) and cozy character interactions.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 3" and "The Amazing Spider-Man 4" have been announced. "The Amazing Spider-Man" continues to spin its web.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2," MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.) for sequences of sci-fi action-violence; Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy; Run Time: 2 hours, 22 min.; Distributed by Sony-Columbia Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous. Marvel Comics "Spider-Man" co-creator Stan Lee makes his cameo early on in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" as a high school graduation guest. A scene from "X-Men: Days of Future Past," opening May 23, is included in the closing credits.

Box Office, May 9: "The Neighbors" moved into No. 1, with an amazing opening of $51 million, sticking it to "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," which dropped to No. 2, after only one week at No. 1, with $37.2 million, $147.9 million, two weeks.

3. "The Other Woman," $9.2 million, $61.7 million, three weeks; 4. "Heaven Is For Real," $7 million, $75.2 million, four weeks; 5. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," $5.6 million, $244.9 million, six weeks; 6. "Rio 2," $5.1 million, $113.1 million, five weeks; 7. "Moms' Night Out," $4.2 million, opening; 8. "Legends Of Oz: Dorothy's Return," $3.7 million, opening; 9. "Divergent," $1.7 million, $145 million, eight weeks; 10. "Brick Mansions," $1.4 million, $18.3 million, three weeks

Unreel, May 16:

"Godzilla," PG-13: The nuclear mutant giant lizard is back bigger and more destructive than ever, thanks to computer-generated imagery. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Jones, Ken Watanabe, Ellizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche and David Strathairn star in the sci-fi action film.

"Million Dollar Arm," PG: Jon Hamm of TV's "Mad Men" stars as a sport agent who recruits cricket players from India to play Major League Baseball. Alan Arkin and Lake Bell star in the biography drama.

Read Paul Willistein's movie reviews at the Lehigh Valley Press web site,; the Times-News web site,; and hear them on "Lehigh Valley Art Salon," 6 - 6:30 p.m. Mondays, WDIY 88.1 FM, and, where they're archived. Email Paul Willistein: pwillistein@ You can follow Paul Willistein on Twitter and friend Paul Willistein on facebook.