Peter Parker is living his life to the full; fighting crime as his alter-ego, Spider-Man, and happy in his relationship with the beautiful Gwen Stacy (although still haunted by the promise he made to her late father to stay away from her). When Peter’s old school friend, Harry Osborn, returns, Peter finds out that Harry is dying. Harry believes that Spider-Man’s blood will cure him. After a failed attack on New York, new villain, Electro is put into a maximum security prison but is helped to escape by Harry when OsCorp betrays him and throws him out of the company. Now, Peter must defeat both Electro and stop his friend before they can destroy the city.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – Director Marc Webb

Is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 142 mins

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx

Genre: Comic Book, Action

REVIEW

The second instalment of the new Spider-Man franchise sees Peter Parker fighting against three major villains; Electro, The Green Goblin and The Rhino. While Spider-Man 3 (2007) did this with Sandman, The Green Goblin and Venom and got all the ingredients wrong, this movie manages to give each villain their own storyline without everything happening at once. As plenty of time is given to Electro (played by Jamie Foxx), the movie can focus on his life before his accident and in so doing, shows that his character is very sympathetic and tragic.

The friendship between Peter and Harry is very believable and Harry’s anger and frustration towards Peter shows that even the strongest of bonds can become fragile in times of need. There is also a sinister plotline of secrecy and lies at OsCorp with people being watched and threatened when they try to look too deep into the company’s files. However, with all these plot threads weaving their way through the film, it still manages to stay light-hearted and Andrew Garfield’s performance as the eponymous hero is excellent at being both happy-go-lucky and serious whenever the situation calls for it.

With all the villains attacking Spider-Man, the movie does seem a little confusing at times and certain things do seem a little rushed but this does not detract from the otherwise great story, direction and acting. Spider-Man has always been much more accessible for kids than other superhero movies and while there is plenty of violence to keep the action moving, this is still mostly a kid-friendly film.

IS ‘THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

Perhaps the strongest scene in the movie is when Max Dillon has his accident which turns him into Electro. Max is used to being treated badly by his colleagues and his birthday is no different. Forced to stay behind at work by himself to fix some electrics and unable to find anyone willing to make it safe for him, Max gets electrocuted and falls into a tank full of electric eels. All the eels then attack him, biting and electrocuting him; there is a close-up shot of an eel as it turns to face Max, bears its teeth and aggressively attacks him – this is particularly scary in 3D. This scene is very intense and lasts a few minutes so could be quite frightening for children.

Most of the subsequent scenes with Electro are quite scary. The most frightening is probably the second time he is seen at the prison. He escapes and kills all the guards who try to stop him, one of these guards is shown in close-up with several red burns on his face although this is not too gory. The doctor who had previously been experimenting on him is put inside Electro’s constraints and can be seen in the background crying out in pain as he is slowly lowered into a tank of water. This only lasts a few seconds but could be quite distressing for younger viewers. Later, another of Electro’s victims has a hole burned into his chest. This is shown on camera and the man falls to the floor dead.

One character is injected with an untested serum. This substance begins to hurt him and some of the veins in his body turn black. He screams in pain and claws at his clothes to remove them (no nudity is shown). This scene is quite sustained and the character suffers greatly, there are extreme close-ups of his face which is contorted in pain. There is also a lot of strobe lighting in this scene so we would recommend caution for anyone who is sensitive to this.

The final battle towards the end of the movie is very intense although the action does not go further than what has already been seen and so if a child has been ok up until this point, they should be fine with this. However, the Green Goblin has a creepy, wide smile and cackles menacingly and could be quite frightening for younger kids. Also, one part of this scene shows two bodies on the floor, another character looks over to them and there is close-up of a dead hand with keys dangling from it. This shot lasts a couple of seconds.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ has clearly taken on board the criticisms of ‘Spider-Man 3’ and made a good job of juggling a three-villain storyline. While it is mostly child-friendly, the character of Electro could be a bit too frightening for younger children, therefore we feel that this movie should be appropriate for most kids aged 8 and over.

  • Violence:  3/5 (mostly comic book style action, the scene where Electro breaks out of prison is quite intense)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5 (a major character is killed and the people who care for them struggle to come to terms with their death. The story of Peter being left with his Aunt and Uncle by his parents is expanded upon from the last movie and there are a few emotional moments)
  • Fear Factor: 3/5
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (Peter and Gwen have a very innocent relationship, there is some kissing but nothing more is shown or mentioned) 
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (some mild curse words and blasphemy)
  • Dialogue: 0/5 
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of family, friendships, relationships, fighting crime, how mistreatment and disrespect can affect someone, protecting the people you care about and making hard decisions if it is the right thing to do.
  • There are two scenes where strobe lighting is used. Both scenes last several minutes and therefore anyone who is sensitive to this may struggle with them.

Words by Laura Record

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