Summer Movie Preview 2014: Blockbuster expectations don't bother 'Spider-Man' star

The Fresno BeeMay 1, 2014 

Film Review Spider-Man 2

Scientist Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) is fan of Spidey (Andrew Garfield) at first in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 then becomes his nemesis Electro.


It's tough enough that Spider-Man has to battle three villains while trying to sort out his love life in his latest big screen adventure, but he also is carrying the weight of the movie world on his shoulders.

When The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens Friday, it will officially kick off the 2014 summer movie season — a spirited four-month barrage of big-budget offerings looking for box office supremacy.

This is the third time a Spider-Man movie has kicked off the summer movie season, a weekend that always coincides with the Kentucky Derby: Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3, both starring Tobey Maguire, did it in 2002 and 2007.

Andrew Garfield, the man behind the Spider-Man mask in this series reboot, says he doesn't feel any added pressure being the opening act for the summer.

This year, the summer offerings include big-budget action movies, comedies, romances and special effects-heavy films, and Garfield's film has all of those elements.

"The beauty of what I do is I just get to let it go," Garfield says. "I do my job and then let people have their feelings about the movie. I don't have to ram it down their throats. All I can do is leave everything I've got in the film. It's like an athlete. They can't score 50 points every game. So, you learn to take the ups and downs. None of that means anything as long as I've done everything I can while making the movie."

He has a calm way of looking at the profession he fell in love with when he was 16. That doesn't change the fact that his film follows a string of comic book-inspired movies that started their respective summer seasons dating back to 2007.

The summer movie season is important to studios because of the profits generated by mega movies. Six of the top 10 box office hits of 2013 were released between the beginning of May and Labor Day. Last year's summer season opener, Iron Man 3, was the highest grossing movie of the year, taking in about $409 million.

It's natural that Amazing Spider-Man 2 would lead the way this year. The first Amazing Spider-Man opened July 3, 2012, and took in more than $262 million, despite dealing with some big problems.

"We really struggled with the first film," Garfield says. "The situation with the script was always in flux, and in the end it was really patched up and sewn together. I didn't sleep very much. It was hard to identify one voice for Peter. This time, we had a full script when we started."

The patchwork writing was avoided because Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci wrote the screenplay. The pair have established themselves in the genre with their work on projects ranging from the big-screen Star Trek to TV's Fringe.

Their script brings together the rumble of a big action movie, with Spider-Man battling Electro (Jamie Foxx), Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), plus the continuing battle to work out his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

Garfield's confidence in the sequel also comes from humor he gets to do as the wise-cracking superhero.

"We were restricted in the first one, and that made it hard to explore that side of the character," he says. "This time we really get into the whole teenage rebellion idea. There's a kind of joy to the way I get to play the character, and that joy was something we all agreed this movie needed."

Opening up the summer movie season is nothing compared to taking on a comic book character that has legions of fans. Garfield, 30, says he has handled the pressure by focusing on the work, which was easy since he's been a fan of the character since he was 3. His first Halloween costume was Spider-Man.

Garfield says he doesn't worry about the opinions of others. Staying true to his own commitment and vision is what matters, he says.

"Our duty as actors is to put our soul into the work rather than reflect the soul of everyone else. If you try to do the appeasing game, you are going to get further away from the truth," says Garfield, who loves everything about playing Spidey.

"I love being the mess of Peter Parker and by extension of being Spider-Man. He is a flawed superhero. He's a kid and imperfect. I can appreciate all aspects of the role," he says. "I haven't changed playing the character. The opportunities are different and fantastic. But, I don't feel I've changed at all.

"I feel blessed by getting this role."

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