Of all the comic-book-turned-into-movie superheroes, Spider-Man has always been my favorite. Despite the launch of this new franchise in 2012 with director Marc Webb at the helm, my favorite film about the araneae homo is Sam Raimi’s 2004 “Spider-Man 2.” It’s one of the best interpretations of creator Stan Lee’s teenage hero as a young man of character and virtue.
Ten years later, we have “The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Rise of Electro,” and the title says almost everything about the film except that it’s also about the rises of the Green Goblin and one more imminent threat to Spider-Man, the people and the city that I don’t want to mention lest I give away hints about “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” — and 4, 5 and 6, too.
It’s high school graduation day for Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Although Gwen’s late father, Police Captain Stacy (Denis Leary), made Peter promise to stay away from Gwen, they are still close friends. She is the valedictorian and wants Peter there for her speech, and he is in a very good mood as he saves people and helps the police (who are not so grateful) stop criminals from stealing containers of plutonium that sunny morning.
When Spidey saves one of his greatest fans, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an employee for Oscorp, the man cannot believe Spidey actually knows his name. He is so used to being invisible to co-workers that he is super-pleased.
Gwen gives a strong, moving speech about the power of hope, and Peter arrives just in time to grab his diploma.
Meanwhile, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), Peter’s childhood friend, comes home from boarding school just in time to speak with his father, Norman (Chris Cooper), the founder of Oscorp, before he dies. Norman speaks in a cruel manner to his son, telling Harry that he will die of the same genetic illness that is killing his father. Harry becomes convinced that Spider-Man’s blood can heal him, and he asks Peter for help.
Max is a good man, and people take advantage of him all the time. One night, they ask him to stay late at the company and, while trying to fix something, Max falls into a vat of electric eels, starting a chain reaction that plunges the city into darkness and has a drastic effect on Max.
And we are off and running through a special-effects extravaganza that is possibly the loudest movie I have ever experienced. (No one will notice through their 3-D glasses if you use earplugs; just put them in after the lights go down.) I predict an Oscar win (skip the nomination, head straight to “Go”) for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” for special effects.