With Columbia Pictures recently announcing plans to expand the Spiderman universe with Venom and Sinister Six spinoffs, it’s become increasingly clear that the new films aim to be big blockbuster cash grabs. The second film in Spidey’s reboot certainly lives under that header, bringing fantastic visuals and digital effects to showcase its onslaught of action.

The cinematography is more of what was seen in the previous film – quick, stylish shots, dizzying pans, and a lot of eye-catching slow-mo to showcase Spider-Man’s more intricate movements in battle. This is Spider-Man at his best, and the fight scenes are pure summer spectacles. Although I’m not a fan of 3-D films, I gave it a chance and found that it really enhanced the picture; unlike a lot of other films, I rarely caught myself self-aware of the format.

Unfortunately, the film’s script follows the same formula as its cinematography; it attempts to juggle three or four different storylines, and although it certainly does so with more care than Spider-Man 3, it still comes across as unfocused and uneven. Peter (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen (Emma Stone) have great chemistry together, but in moments of turmoil, the acting takes a turn for the worse and ends up being comically over-dramatic. On the other end of the spectrum, we don’t see nearly enough of Harry to justify such a large role in this film; the backstory and appearances of Harry and Norman Osbourne are suspect at best, and the relationship between Peter and Harry is shaky and rushed. Had they introduced Harry in the first film, his appearance here would have been much less superficial.

And what’s up with his hair, anyways? Harry Osbourne

The only storyline that I can comfortably back is Electro’s. Jamie Foxx plays an entertaining Max and gives the first 30 minutes some life in between the mushy-gushy of Peter’s relationship with Gwen. As Electro, he looks fantastic, and the effects are pretty eye-catching. What really stands out during Electro’s scenes, however, is Han Zimmer’s soundtrack. The soundtrack is heavy on the electronic/dub sound and gives off a really intense, modern vibe. The action on screen intertwines with the beats and drops of the soundtrack, making Electro’s presence truly unique and memorable. Yes, the logic behind Electro’s resentment of Spider-Man isn’t exactly fool-proof, but his action scenes stick out in my mind as the best parts of this film.

Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a great, action-packed blockbuster with beautiful visuals and a clean, modern soundtrack. Unfortunately, the plot suffers from being too jam-packed with material, and it is pretty obvious that the writers were forced to rush some of the storylines to plant the seeds for future sequels. As a Spidey fan, I look forward to the next few movies – with great hopes for the action, and little hope for the plot.

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