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MAY
2
4 MOS

The Tangled Web That Led to 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'

The latest installment of Sony's Marvel Comics franchise has to deal with the weight of expectations, prerelease spoilers and lackluster reviews as it arrives in theaters.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Garfield Lifting Car - H 2014
Sony Pictures
"The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

After almost a year of breathless promotion, secret websites and online games -- remember the excitement that surrounded the reveal of Jaime Foxx's Electro at last year's San Diego Comic-Con -- Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has arrived in theaters, attempting to prove once again that with great power comes great responsibility and, hopefully, great success.

The movie is expected to set a new record for the highest domestic opening of the year, with prerelease tracking suggesting an opening weekend topping Captain America: The Winter Soldier's $95 million debut. Whether or not it will reach that height is uncertain; the movie made $8.7 million on its Thursday-night bow, less than Winter Soldier's $10.2 million last month.

Certainly, Sony is hoping for the best, having already announced two spinoff projects, Venom and Sinister Six (the latter of which to be written and directed by The Cabin in the Woods' Drew Goddard) in addition to two future Amazing Spider-Man movies.

Reviews for the movie have been mixed. The Hollywood Reporter's reviewer Leslie Felperin described the title as "a bit crowded with villains and subplots" but praised the romance between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, while review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes scored the movie at a disappointing 55 percent. (The audience rating is higher, however, scoring 77 percent at the time of writing.)

One worry for those hoping for a strong audience turnout is that much of the plot has already been revealed during the promotion of the movie, from the secret identity of one of the main villains to the death of a supporting character. Arguably, the news item that generated the most buzz when the pic opened overseas last month was an epilogue that advertised Fox's X-Men: Days of Future Past rather than anything about the Spider-Man movie itself -- not a good sign for those who hoped that the movie would wow audiences on its own merits.

Even the heavily foreshadowed climax of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 failed to provoke much conversation online despite -- or perhaps because of -- its fidelity to the original comic book mythology.

The movie's release will only spur questions about what comes next -- The Amazing Spider-Man 3 is only two years away.