If early reviews of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 are anything to go by, the on-screen chemistry between real-life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone sparks brighter than the outfit of Jamie Foxx’s villainous Electro.
The duo have been dating since they met on the set of the first film, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which launched a new chapter in the superhero’s story and claimed $750 million at the box office. While there’s been the odd paparazzi shot of the pair, they remain low-key. That said, it doesn’t stop Stone ribbing Garfield, reminding him of the time he attempted to play basketball with a group of children near the NYC set.
“Andrew played with some kids in his Spider-Man costume,” reveals the husky-voiced 25-year-old, who hails from Arizona. “You were way more excited than they were,” she adds, grinning at her boyfriend.
“I was like, ‘These kids are gonna lose their minds as soon as Spider-Man starts schooling them!’ ” admits 30-year-old Garfield, who was born in LA but brought up in Surrey, in the UK.
The actor feels more at ease in the superhero suit this time around. He now feels ‘ownership’ over the character, and the new chapter. Marc Webb, the aptly named director who has returned to helm the sequel, made it clear from the start that he wanted the follow-up to be more fun and playful.
“Making the last movie was a real adventure but we had to dabble with the original story,” says Webb, 39. “This time we’re opening up with Spider-Man not just being Spider-Man, but Spider-Man loving being Spider-Man. He is a virtuoso superhero. He’s doing incredible, extraordinary and amazing things and having a real blast doing it.”
As fans of the original comics and franchises know, Spider-Man’s main conflict has always been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of his superhero alter ego.
“As Peter Parker, he has all the same problems we all have; girl problems, money problems,” says Garfield. “But when he puts on the suit, it’s a massive release. He can breathe. He takes joy and pleasure in it and a playfulness comes out of him.”
For that reason, the actor worked closely with the physical comedian Cal McCrystal to hone a few special moves. But it isn’t all slapstick. Spider-Man’s vow to keep New Yorkers safe leads him into the heart of the city’s most powerful company, Oscorp, which once employed Peter’s father, played a role in his parents’ disappearance - and is now behind the new enemies emerging, including Electro and Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan).
“There is wisdom that we can draw upon at any moment,” adds the actor, in reference to Spider-Man’s 50-year history. “The challenge, of course, is reinventing it in a way that is true to what Stan Lee intended all those years ago and is also necessary for the culture where we are right now. Somehow we have to walk that line.”
While Spider-Man faces the prospect of multiple villains, Peter Parker’s main concern relates to the most important person in his life - Gwen Stacy, played by Stone.
Despite Peter promising Gwen’s dying father at the end of the first movie that he would protect her by staying away, it’s a promise he can’t keep.
“For better or worse, Peter has an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. It’s hard for him to live with himself by breaking that promise, but it’s impossible to live without her,” says Garfield.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in cinemas tomorrow