Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

April 29, 2014

CALLERI: 'Spider-Man' doesn't quite amaze, but some dancing children do

Niagara Gazette — You know a movie’s important when Hollywood’s major motion picture studios decide not to open anything against it. In most of the United States, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has the weekend all to itself.

In larger cities around the country, an independent drama, a foreign film, or a documentary may open, but mostly, the Marvel comic book adventure is going it alone. Metro Buffalo will be seeing a hybrid – a foreign-language documentary. It’s called “Dancing In Jaffa.”

After three tries, beginning in 2002, Sony Pictures Entertainment decided not go for a fourth effort and continue the story with Tobey Maguire as the spidery superhero. Instead, the concept was given a reboot, which is movie-speak for same characters, different actors.

Therefore, in 2012, audiences were treated to “The Amazing Spider-Man” with Andrew Garfield donning the spandex red and blue costume in place of Maguire.

Where Maguire brought a softer, gee-whiz quality to the roles of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, Garfield is more hard-edged. The gee-whiz factor has been replaced with intense teenage angst. If they ever make a movie about the life of actor Anthony Perkins of “Psycho” renown, Garfield should play Perkins.

This new incarnation surprised me in one regard. It’s the first time while watching one of the five “Spider-Man” movies that I felt as if I were truly reading a comic book. Too many people dismiss comic books as fluff, but fans know they are multi-dimensional. Not only is there action, but there’s also some depth on an intellectual level.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” scores best when its characters are talking to each other about serious issues. The action sequences aren’t necessarily mundane, they’re simply familiar. There are two quick bursts of action in the beginning. The first explains the fate of Parker’s scientist father. It’s acceptable. But the second one, with a parade of police cars chasing a speeding truck filled with something dangerous in Manhattan is just plain silly and as repetitive as most movie car chases are these days. The expected film-ending action scenes are not particularly special.

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