The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (****)
Pete goes to college
Three is a lot of villains
Don't betray Harry
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of Spider-Man, at least, not the Spider-Man that's portrayed in the movies. I adored the Spider-Man: The Animated Series that ran in the mid-90s; Peter Parker is a fantastic character; and I think there are some great stories and villains in the series. The movies just don't ever seem to do the characters or the stories justice. The latest edition of the Spider-Man film franchise wasn't awful, however, and I actually liked it a bit more than it's predecessor. (Here's how I felt about The Amazing Spider-Man, in case you're curious.)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 catches up with Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey as they graduate from high school and transition into college. Peter's still struggling with Gwen's father's death, and splitting his time between being Peter and being Spider-Man. Of course, anywhere Spidey goes, there are bound to be villains—in this movie he comes face to face with the main bad, Electro, and has briefer run-ins with the Rhino and the Green Goblin.
That seems like a lot of villains. Going in to the movie, I was worried that it would turn into another Spider-Man 3, but the focus was more on Electro and less on the Rhino and Green Goblin. The movie served as sort of an origin story for those two, and I'm sure they'll show up in The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (or the Sinister Six movie that's now in the works). The balance was actually quite good.
Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were again great as Peter and Gwen. They have such excellent chemistry, which isn't really surprising. They are ADORABLE in real life. Dane DeHaan and his wacky hair made a great Harry Osborn. Sally Field is such a perfect Aunt May. Even Jamie Fox was good in the Electro role. I am not a fan of the Rhino, though. Something about the character just grosses me out. And I usually like Paul Giamotti. Also: Peter would not listen to Phillip Phillips.
And although I wasn't surprised by the ending—I mean, the Internet was abuzz with it for months before the movie came out—I'm going to miss Emma. And I really hope they cast someone other than Shailene Woodley in the Mary Jane role before the third movie in the series. She just doesn't seem right for it at all. (White text, #becausespoilers.)
I think that, if you go into seeing this movie without too high of expectations, you'll enjoy it.