Director: Marc Webb.

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field, Campbell Scott, Colm Feore, Embeth Davidtz, Paul Giamatti.

Running Time: 142 minutes.

Certificate: 12A.

Synopsis: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

The speedy reboot of Spider-Man after Sam Raimi’s disappointing third was always a gamble, but having relaunched successfully with Andrew Garfield in 2012, they’ve spun THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 and it’s the best Spidey film so far – albeit with a few rough edges.

Director Marc Webb opens the film with a flashback to Peter’s parents – a necessity for what’s to come – and gives us the first emotional attachment as it starts to explain why they left him when he was just a child. The first inklings of this ‘untold story’ were promised in the first movie, but you’ll be pleased to know that this is fully told and investigated. Then, before you know it, we’re swinging through the streets of New York City with Spider-Man, becoming him in that moment as the vibrancy of the colours and the moment itself impact beautifully. We’re right where we want to be.

What sets this apart from the previous outings of our web-slinging hero isn’t just the immensely enhanced action and unanticipated realism, but it’s also down to the superb Andrew Garfield bringing to life the comic-book Spider-Man we adore. He’s the epitome of charming, his underlying geek spun together with an emotional punch to effortlessly capture the essence of our neighbourhood hero.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 isn’t all about Garfield, though, because without the vital co-starring accompaniment of Emma Stone, we wouldn’t have the depth to the story or the truth their relationship portrays. Stone isn’t a pawn in proceedings. She’s an unstoppable, strong female lead who’s rightfully equal with Peter Parker as the two characters become one of the most natural and understandable relationships we’ve seen in a comic-book based movie.

For all those concerned about an excess of villains, you can relax, because beyond the development of Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn and his Green Goblin alter-ego, the full focus here is on Jamie Foxx’s Max Dillon – aka Electro. Dillon works for the Oscorp Corporation and after a rather nasty BATMAN (1989) style fall into an experiment becomes Electro, an electricity-loving, angry antihero. From a tremendous Times Square sequence that shows off his power (and Spidey’s super senses), to the big showdowns as he goes full Dr. Manhattan, the action is delivered at the highest level, all the while accompanied by Electro’s pounding, deep-bass electronic theme courtesy of the Hans Zimmer-led score.

Dane DeHaan’s take on Harry Osborn is explosive. Channelling the best of DiCaprio at his angriest, but also giving us a mix of the fury within from both his CHRONICLE and THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES roles, he continues his rise as one of the best young actors around. There’s also a special mention for the glorious Sally Field as Aunt May, her love for Peter and her desire for the best for him (plus some very touching moments) bringing another bond to reality. She is vital for Peter’s growth as Spider-Man, as well as Parker.

The only frustration is an unneeded side story regarding the city trying to land aeroplanes during a blackout, which feels unnecessary and takes away from an otherwise intelligent progression of plot. It’s similar to THE DARK KNIGHT ‘bomb-on-a-boat’ moment and perhaps could have been better handled. But don’t let that distract from anything, as THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 has genuine emotional intensity, alongside vibrant web-slinging action and a tremendous cast, delivering a fun and feisty Marvel escapade.

[usr=4]  THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 16th April and hits the USA on 2nd May, 2014.