Amazing Spider-Man 2: About The Movie

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“It’s hard to be Peter Parker, but it’s great to be Spider-Man,” says Andrew Garfield, who returns to the role in The Amazing Spider-Man 2™, after launching a new chapter in the hero’s story in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man™, a worldwide hit that went on to take in over $750 million at the worldwide box office. “As Peter Parker, he has all of the same problems that we all have – girl problems, money problems. But when he puts on the suit, it’s a massive release. He can breathe. Spider-Man always knows the right thing to do – he’s a vessel for good, heroic energy and saving people. He takes joy and pleasure in it, and a playfulness comes out of him.”

“We wanted this film to be more playful, more fun,” says director Marc Webb, who returns to the helm. Capturing Peter Parker’s natural wit – especially as Spider-Man – was one of the keys to the film that Webb wanted to make. “You look at the comic books and you see it – his quips, his funniness, his lighthearted qualities. That’s part of what so many people love about Spider-Man – and certainly what I love about him.”

But it’s not all fun and games for Peter. His vow to keep his fellow New Yorkers safe will lead him right into the heart of the most powerful and important company in New York: Oscorp. The company that once employed Peter’s father and played a role in his parents’ disappearance now seems to be behind new enemies that are emerging, all of whom have advanced technology and powers. “The stakes have never been higher for both Spider-Man and Peter than they are in this movie,” says producer Matt Tolmach. “Spider-Man, because he is facing enemies that have joined forces against him – all with some connection to Oscorp – and Peter, because the choices he makes and the promises he tries to keep have real consequences.”

“In this Spider-Man film, it’s clear that Spider-Man loves being Spider-Man,” says producer Avi Arad. “As in all Spider-Man movies, being a hero clashes with Peter Parker’s everyday life and wishes. A major villain emerges and it is Oscorp. His life, his father’s life, Harry’s life and all the villains emanate from this tower of evil. The stakes are higher as Peter finds himself up against an institution that is all-powerful.”

“Oscorp was built for a single purpose – to preserve Norman Osborn’s life,” says Webb. “He has a terrible disease, and the wealth of the company has been used to create the company’s Special Projects division – crazy solutions to a very simple problem. But Norman Osborn is not an ethical man, and in Special Projects there exist a lot of hidden, dark, nasty things that the rest of us do not want to see unleashed on the world.”

When it comes to Electro and the Green Goblin – two of the enemies that Spider-Man will take on – not only do the villains have different motivations for taking on the wall-crawler, but in some ways, they consider themselves fighting a different enemy. “You’ve got two guys, one who hates Spider-Man, and one who hates Peter Parker,” says one of the screenwriters, Alex Kurtzman. “They want to kill the same person, but for different reasons. That’s why the two of them team up – they are driven by their emotions.”

Jamie Foxx, who plays Electro, says that joining the Spider-Man franchise isn’t quite like taking on any other role. “It’s a great feeling to come to work on a Spider-Man movie,” he says. “I remember the moment I first stepped on to the set and I saw Andrew in the suit. For me, it was like a moment in history. We’re doing something that people really love. It’s a part of our fabric, part of our culture. That was very meaningful to me and it was a responsibility I took seriously – in crafting Electro, I wanted to be a formidable opponent.”

For Webb and his fellow filmmakers, it was important to keep in mind that even as Spider-Man takes on these villains, it is the boy behind the mask that makes Spider-Man who he is. “As Spider-Man, Peter thrives on fighting crime, trouncing bullies and swinging from the high rises of New York – but as Peter Parker his challenges are more familiar,” Webb continues. “Peter is just a kid who loves a girl. And when Gwen gets an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream, Peter has to confront a difficult truth that we all understand: that sometimes the most difficult part of loving someone means letting them go.”

“As always, Peter Parker is trying to balance being a young man, a boyfriend, and a superhero – he’s trying to make it all work. He thinks he can have it all. But life is about having to make choices and compromises,” says Tolmach. “This is fundamental to any Spider-Man story. This is always going to be his dilemma. And in this movie, events are going to conspire to force Peter to make some big choices that are not necessarily in his control.”

Though Peter promised Gwen’s dying father that he would protect Gwen by staying away from her, it’s clear that the two share a romantic bond deeper than any promise. Simply put, she’s his match, in intellect and in emotion. “This is what should be a wonderful moment in Gwen’s life – she’s valedictorian, she’s about to go to Columbia, she has an offer to go to Oxford – but in the midst of that, she’s dealing with the loss of her father and trying to find her way with this boy who clearly has a lot going on,” says Emma Stone, who returns as Gwen Stacy. “I’m so glad that the audience is getting the Gwen story – it’s so rich and exciting to play.”

Part of the reason the Gwen Stacy story was so interesting to the filmmakers was that it marked a turning point in comic book history. The chance to go back to the comic books, to present that story on the big screen in an emotionally honest way, was very appealing. “The Spider-Man movies have paid cinematic reference to this story before, but we wanted to pay homage to it in a different way,” says Webb. “We’re taking some cinematic liberties, but we’re going back to the comic books for our inspiration. Amazing Spider-Man #121 is one of the most profound issues in the canon – profound in the way it affects Peter Parker. Gwen’s fate directly derives from the choices of the hero. It’s the story that allowed comic books to take a more complex turn, and from that, we were able to give the movie a tone that is Shakespearean or operatic.”

* * *

Marc Webb returns to the director’s chair after helming The Amazing Spider-Man and the indie romance (500) Days of Summer. Arad says that Webb has proven that he is a master of all of the aspects of directing that a Spider-Man film demands. “One of the many aspects of Marc’s genius is his love of character and storytelling, but he also has a genuine understanding of how to make an action movie, a big popcorn story,” says Arad. “He also has the skills and the ability to make a very large, action-filled Super Hero movie. He never loses sight of what’s happening for the characters, even in the most crushingly enormous action sequence. And that gives these movies a whole other layer. Recognizing that at the heart of a Spider-Man movie is the character’s story has to be in every frame, even the big action ones. Marc’s keen sense of humor gives us the true Spider-Man story in which we enjoy one of the most famous characteristics of Spidey. Fun and a funny sense of humor.”

“The superhero genre is built on creating extremes – physical extremes, but also emotional extremes,” says Webb. “The thing about Spider-Man that I most identify with is that he’s not stoic – he’s a kid. I think it’s important for heroes to express their emotions, to let that flow in a way that is true, and authentic, and honest. In my films, I like to see people crack open, when life is at its most brutal but also at its most joyful.”

“At the heart of this film is Peter Parker’s relationship with Gwen,” Webb continues. “Spider-Man’s destiny is crucial, but it comes at the expense of Peter Parker’s identity, and that’s a really tricky thing for Peter to deal with. As Peter fights the growing specter of Oscorp, the power of which he doesn’t even fully comprehend, the real difficulty he’s going to have to face is how to handle his love for Gwen. That’s the most relatable and important part of the film.”

For Webb, that is what separates out the Spider-Man films. “Our film has as much or more spectacle and action as any film out there. It is extraordinary in its scope. But none of that dynamic visual conflict, action, means anything if you don’t care about the characters. The conflicts that surround Peter Parker create an incredibly tender, human story about a kid trying to grow up in the world. We expand that into an epic, operatic form, but the heart is alive and well, protected, beautiful, funny, and entertaining in its own right.”

Put another way, Webb says, “Peter’s powers are only part of his heroism – and not even the most important part. It’s his character, his integrity, that makes him who he is.”

For this film, the filmmakers have turned to the screenwriting team of Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner – writers who have been responsible for such franchises and groundbreaking television programs as Star Trek, Transformers, “Alias,” “Fringe,” and many others. (The screen story is by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt.)

Arad says that the screenwriter trio brought a new vitality to the franchise. “This movie is very different from any other Spider-Man movie – different in scope, different in intensity, but most important, different in humanity,” says Arad. “It’s in the way people really behave, in the humor – think of the scene in which Peter and Gwen are making the rules for their relationship. It’s not about what is said; people fall in love with a gesture. This team of writers created a story of hope, a story that will relate to all of us and make us wanting more.”

“When we started developing the story, we talked about where Peter Parker is in his life,” Webb says. “The writers are brilliant at delving deeply into parts of the character we haven’t seen before.”

Still, as Kurtzman, Orci, and Pinkner joined the franchise team, they took care to ensure that their screenplay felt like part of the same world that was established in the first Amazing Spider-Man film. “We loved that movie for its tone,” Kurtzman says. “It feels grounded in the real world, entirely fresh, and yet it didn’t betray at all what Spider-Man is; in fact, it only enhanced it in a new way. So our challenge was to live up to that and build it to new and exciting places. There were so many unanswered questions from the first movie – that was a real drive for us.”

Pinkner adds, “This movie is very much a maturing process for Peter – not only in his relationship with Gwen, but also what it means to go from being a young man to a young adult. One of the things that Peter is going to have to face is that life is short, and always transient; relationships are coming and going, and the best we can do is try to enjoy the journey and make the most of the time we have.”

Kurtzman notes that though the screenwriters took some liberties in telling the story, some basic elements from the canon are immutable, and they paid homage to those. “It was an interesting challenge – how do you stay totally truthful to the spirit and origin of the characters, while also updating it? We’re standing on the shoulders of giants – we have to honor what came before. For us, Marvel’s ‘Ultimate’ series helped us a lot – they laid the path.”

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