Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Great for Fans, Great for Non-Fans – Special Effects Are Show Stoppers!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in theaters now, much to the delight of fans world-wide. This film explores the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man and Peter experiences his greatest battle yet. Keefer B., age 13, comments, “The special effect’s department really gets creative on how Spider-Man moves and fights, especially when he’s in spider-sense mode and everything slows down.” “I love this fast-paced, emotional and action-packed film,” comments Raven D, age 16. Gerry O, age 12 adds, “The CGI is off-the-chart and extremely realistic! With both 3D and IMAX, I felt as if I was in the film with Spider-Man and Gwen flying from one building to another.” See their full reviews as well as our coverage from the red carpet and the “Be Amazing” event at Larchmont School in LA.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, age 13, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
I was blown away by the groundbreaking effects, huge action scenes and memorable characters and actors! Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man / Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is back on the big screen in this gripping story about a boy who has the powers of a spider. He’s up against Electro / Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a man seeking attention, Harry Osborn / Green Goblin (Dane DaHaan), Peter’s best friend and Spider-Man’s foe, while still having to keep a promise and not uncover his parents’ secret.

In this film, the writers allocate time to explore the alter-ego of Peter Parker without making the film run too long or lose action. The strong relationship between all the characters, whether it’s love or hatred is all 3-Dimensional. It helps when you have capable actors filling these roles.

The story creates a darker look at being a hero and throws in some comic book jokes once in a while. This movie had a chance of becoming too unfocused but does’t. It has two villains to establish, the romance between Peter and Gwen, Peter trying to figure out the truth about his parents’ past and more. However, with the help of a very talented director, Marc Webb and wonderful writers, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner, they pick a goal for the plot and follow through with it, while bringing all the characters’ stories together naturally.

The special effects in this film are beyond amazing! Electro’s design makes him the most unique villain. The special effect’s department really gets creative on how Spider-Man moves and fights, especially when he’s in spider-sense mode and everything slows down.

I gained a new respect for Jamie Foxx who portrays my favorite character Electro / Max Dillon. He plays a menacing villain, but also shows the tragic and even pathetic side of Max Dillon. On the Google+ Hangout which I was fortunate to be part of, Jamie confided that he “based this character on a person he knew.” Behind all the CGI you see Jamie honor this person.

The battle in Times Square between Electro and Spider-Man is my favorite scene. It encompasses all the incredible CGI effects mentioned. It’s where Max finally gets attention, once he gets his powers and he sees himself on T.V. When Electro says, “You see me?” You genuinely feel sorry for him.

The moral of this story is, “It doesn’t matter how hard you fall, it matters how fast you get back up.” Peter goes through a life changing event and can’t move on. However, in a clever and Marvel way, Aunt May gives Peter some advice that changes things.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 10- to 18-year-olds. There are violent and intense scenes that some kids may not be able to handle, but this is a marvelous adaptation of Spider-Man. It is a great summer flick to share with your kids and kids-at-heart so, don’t miss it.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Reviewed by Raven D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

It’s the end of senior year and Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, is busy saving the streets of New York while also managing to graduate on time. Life seems to be working out for him when all of a sudden fate throws a series of misfortune his way. He is forced to distance himself from the love of his life in order to keep her safe. He discovers mysterious clues to his parents’ past. An old friend of his is back in town and causing a bit of trouble for him. And to top it all off, there’s a new super villain on the streets that is about to change Peter’s life forever.

I love this fast-paced, emotional and action-packed film. It is visually stunning in IMAX and 3D. I am quite impressed by the CGI, especially since so much of the film consists of special effects. This film is electric, quite literally and the way they capture the vivid blue electrical currents shot off by Electro is beautiful. Even though the electricity is obviously a very menacing aspect of the film, it adds an element to the film that makes it aesthetically pleasing. Not only are the effects in this film spot on, but the camera work is done very well. The use of lighting, camera angles and especially camera placement is executed strikingly. I love the direction that cinematographer Daniel Mindel takes with this piece and seeing it in IMAX makes the experience even more enjoyable. Another thing that blows me away in this film is the soundtrack and use of music mixed in with the sound effects. I find myself tapping my feet and on the verge of rockin’ out on many occasions throughout the movie. It is interesting to hear how music is used during fight sequences and explosions to aid the sound effects in a big way and make the entire scene even more intense. And I’m not talking about the classic slew of string instruments and brass section that we hear in the background of most films, I’m talking about loud, intense bass you’d experience in the front row of a trap concert and the beats you’d hear booming out of the speakers of a teen’s new car. To put it quite simply, I will definitely be purchasing the motion picture soundtrack ASAP.

I am really pleased with how this series of Marvel’s “Spider-Man” franchise is developing. I am a devoted fan of the “Spider-Man” trilogy that captured the hearts of the of comic book fans in the early 2000s and I love the interpretation of the comics done by Tobey Maguire and Director Sam Raimi. Those films will always have a place at the top of my DVD shelf and in my heart, but I very much enjoy this modern take on the story. There are so many Spider-Man comics, so many adventures, so many super villains for our favorite Spider Guy to defeat, so I think it’s a really wise decision that director Marc Webb is creating films about the stories and villains we haven’t yet seen in major motion pictures. The way technology and the film industry has advanced in the last decade, it is inevitable that these more recent films are a bit more flashy than the older Spidey movies. Because of the added visual appeal, the attractive leading roles and the witty comical phrased peppered throughout “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” it has a younger target audience, mostly teens, than Tobey Maguire’s “Spider-Man.” I also like the way Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker. He treats the character very comically and gives Spider-Man a dose of sharp wit which is very entertaining to watch.

Something that I think is strange about this film, and honestly all superhero films in general, is that the amount of civilian fatalities is never addressed. It’s always a main focus to save the woman falling from a building or the little kid who happens to be crossing the street in the middle of a battle and, that’s all fine and dandy. But what about the dozens of cars filled with people that get crushed or flipped on their hoods or exploded? What happens to all those families in the building that’s destroyed? I feel like it’s something to think about when watching a film like this.

It’s really difficult to pick just one favorite character from this film, so I’ll just cover my top three. Obviously, Andrew Garfield’s character Peter Parker/Spider-Man is a favorite. After all, the film is named after him. I really like Andrew’s rendition of Spider-Man because he gives the character a very charismatic personality and a lot of charm. I am especially impressed with Jamie Foxx in this film. He plays the super villain Electro and his performance is impeccable. I appreciate Electro as a villain because he’s not just some evil guy, he’s a real human, with real feelings who’s been hurt over and over again in his life. All he wants is for someone to need him, to show him kindness, to value all he has to offer. Instead he is walked all over one too many times and, when given the opportunity to get back at the world, he takes it. It reminds me that every person that has hurt me or others or maybe has gone down the wrong path and done things that we may view as “evil” was once someone who didn’t get what they needed. It’s a message to be kind to everyone, even those who might seem insignificant to you at the time. And last, but most definitely not least, on my list of favorites, Harry Osborn. Harry is played Dane DeHaan and, my goodness, do I love every performance he’s done in every film he’s been in. Dane’s take on this character is a lot more twisted and dark from the very beginning than James Franco’s spin on the same character. I love both versions of this millionaire bad boy equally but, it’s really interesting to see Harry in a more destructive light. I am a huge fan of Dane DeHaan. He always plays characters that are twisted or flawed in some way, so I was pleased when I read he was cast in this role. The only issue I have with Harry Osborn is that he and Peter’s relationship is not granted enough time in the film. I feel like, all of a sudden, they are best of friends after not seeing each other for eight years and then their dynamic is completely changed in an instant. I would have liked to see a bit more development between the two of them so that when Harry turns against Peter it has more of an emotional impact.

This film is rated PG-13 however, I plan to take my 9-year-old brother to see it. A few things to take into consideration when deciding if this film is right for a child under the age of 13 is whether or not they have seen other Marvel and or superhero films. It has just about as much violence as most films in this genre and doesn’t have any profanity I can recall. What makes me think twice about considering this film for a younger audience is the emotional aspect. Because, although this is a movie about a spider kid fighting an electric monster, which seems pretty far fetched to just about everybody, one thing in this film does stay very realistic, and that is that the humans are not invincible and good people don’t always make it to the end of the film.

I give The Amazing Spider-Man 2 five out of five stars and I plan on seeing it again. So be sure to check it out this summer.

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