“Go bigger” is generally the philosophy embraced by blockbuster sequels, especially on superhero franchises, and that is certainly the case with this year’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci – who already have their fingers in such pies as the Star Trek movies as well as the ongoing TV series Sleepy Hollow – were brought onboard for this installment, in order to help director Marc Webb blow the lid wide open on the potential of the Spider-Man cinematic universe.
However, in order for that to happen, Amazing Spider-Man 2 needs to tell a compelling Peter Parker story, and that’s what the first of two new featurettes released for the movie focuses on: Peter’s (Andrew Garfield) struggle to maintain a double-life, even while his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) keeps moving forward in her academic/professional career and Pete gets held back by his past in more ways than one, when he discovers more of the truth about his dad’s old workplace, OsCorp.
The second of these Amazing Spider-Man 2 previews highlights the movie’s other major selling point, i.e. the action, be it CGI effects-assisted and/or practical in design. Much of the attention here is paid to a set piece of the latter nature, in the shape of a truck chase that involves Spidey, the police, and Russian mob enforcer Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) – a sequence that’s been heavily teased during pre-production, through photos and videos leaked from the film’s set (or officially-released, in some cases).
Glimpses at Pete’s troubled homelife (visions of the late Captain Stacy, secrets kept by his Aunt May) are welcome here, as a reminder that our superhero’s emotional baggage is piling up as fast as his enemies are increasing in number. There’s a risk that the Amazing Spider-Man sequel may get tangled up in its dense web of subplots – both new and carried over from its predecessor - but at the same time, this might be the swift kick in the butt that this comic book movie franchise needs in order to really take off and keep up with the heavy-hitters at Marvel Studios (The Avengers) and Warner Bros./DC (Man of Steel).
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in U.S. theaters on May 2nd, 2014.