Conversely, though, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" is strongest when it’s at its quietest and most intimate. One revelatory exchange between Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker and Sally Field as Peter’s Aunt May is so poignant, it made me want to cry. And every scene between Garfield and Emma Stoneas Peter’s sharp and assured girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, leaps off the screen. These are the real 3-D effects, the ones created by the flirty sparks between these two actors.
Garfield gets to be a bit lighter and more playful this time around, but his inner struggle over the use of his arachnotastic powers—and the larger consequences of them—remain palpable. What made his performance in the original "Amazing Spider-Man" work so well, and what made it such a pleasing difference from the way Tobey Maguire played Peter Parker inSam Raimi’s "Spider-Man" trilogy, was his innate rebelliousness. Garfield’s Peter already had a restless, restless streak in him—a chip on his shoulder for his outsider status—which made his choice to become a vigilante crime fighter make more sense.
Here, Garfield is the cheeky, wisecracking superhero of Marvel Comic lore. He has become Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Yet the tag line on the movie’s posters and billboards says: "His greatest battle begins." How many times can he have his first, greatest battle? Haven’t we already covered much of this territory?