'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'
(Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Chris Cooper, et al / PG-13 / 141 mins)
Overview: The web-slingin' wall-crawler hits the screens once again in this follow-up to Marc Webb's 2012 reboot of the series. Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker, who squares off against the villainous Electro, played by Jamie Foxx. Emma Stone heads up the rest of the starring cast, which includes Paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaan, and Chris Cooper.
Verdict: Deep into 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' my 11-year-old companion was confused about a certain plot point — justifiably, I'd say — and demanded an immediate and thorough explanation.
"Shhh, not now. Later!" I hissed. Because, though I didn't admit it, I really didn't want to miss an Andrew Garfield-Emma Stone kiss. And who knew when the next one was coming?
With great chemistry, you see, comes great kissing!
Let's just say this unequivocally: Whether or not my young Spidey fan would agree, the best thing about the 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' the second installment of director Marc Webb's series reboot, is that infectious chemistry between Garfield and Stone. In fact, given that this overstuffed, overly long film is a sequel to a sequel, and that it spends a gazillion dollars retelling a story (in 3-D and IMAX) that the world already knows, you could argue that the Garfield-Stone dynamic is the real justification for the whole enterprise.
This isn't just because the two happen to be real-life partners — though it can't hurt. Garfield is a sensitive actor who brings a quirky blend of intelligence and goofiness to Peter Parker, and a welcome hipster edge to the role that the wide-eyed Tobey Maguire didn't have in the earlier incarnation of the Marvel character.
As for Stone, she's just so darn charming. And though it's again a stretch to imagine her as a high school student, heck, we'll take it. (In fact, Stone is 25 and Garfield is 30, so we're just gonna have to give them a pass on this. At least they get their diplomas this time.)
Another winning presence is that of Sally Field, touching as the now-widowed Aunt May. The reliable Field gets one terrifically emotional scene with Peter that may have you reaching for a tissue.