Story

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro begins with a flashback to Richard and Mary Parker (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) running for their lives after leaving their young son Peter (Max Charles) in the care of his Aunt May (Sally Field). Peter’s parents escape aboard a private jet but are killed when the plane explodes after an assassin tries to kill them.

The movie then moves to the present day where Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) is chasing some Russians who are hijacking an Oscorp Industries truck transporting a shipment of plutonium. Spider-Man stops the villains, recovers the plutonium and saves dozens of innocent bystanders including Max Dillon (Jamie Fox), a disgruntled Oscorp Industries employee. Peter then still has time to get to his high school graduation ceremony and steal a kiss from girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

In a subplot, Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) returns home to New York after spending many years away at boarding schools. Harry’s father, Norman, is CEO of Oscorp Industries and is dying from an hereditary disease that Harry is also destined to develop.

While Peter Parker battles to find a balance between being a crime-fighting superhero and a normal young man, Max Dillon falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels and mutates into the electrically charged superbeing called Electro. Electro can transform into pure electrical energy with limitless destructive powers, which he unleashes on New York City and Spider-Man.

Spider-Man must battle Electro to save New York City while also fighting his friend Harry Osborn, who has injected himself with radioactive spider serum and transformed into the Green Goblin.

Themes

Superheroes; mutation; good versus evil

Violence

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro has science fiction action violence throughout, mass destruction of property, death and injury with some blood, and torture. For example:

  • In the movie’s intense opening scene Peter Parker’s parents are aboard a private jet. A gunman has killed the pilot and is washing blood off his hands. Richard Parker attacks the gunman, punching him in the head. Mary Parker walks into the fight, and the gunman knocks her to the ground and then shoots her in the stomach. Richard smashes a bottle over the gunman’s head, and the gunman punches Richard several times in the face then tries to strangle him. During the struggle Parker grabs the gunman’s gun and shoots out the plane’s window, causing it to explode outward, sucking the gunman out of the plane. The window frame is sucked into the plane’s engine, which causes it to explode. The last image is of Richard Parker looking at his dying wife as the plane falls out of the sky.
  • A group of older boys bully a younger boy. They taunt the smaller boy and pull a model away from him, throw it on the ground and smash it.
  • A man balances precariously on a tower rail while trying to connect two electrical cables. A large spark erupts from the cables, which causes the man to lose his balance and fall several storeys into a gigantic glass vat filled with large electric eels. The eels repeatedly shock him until the glass shatters. He and the eels pour out on to the floor.
  • Electro uses electrical charges from his hands to pick up a truck and hurl it over his head. He also hurls police cars through the air. Police shoot at Electro, and the bullets bounce off an electrical forcefield that he has created. He hurls electrical charges at the police and knocks them to the ground.
  • In one scene Electro points his finger at a guard. A bolt of electricity shoots out of Electro’s finger and hits the guard in the chest, killing him. There’s a small smouldering hole burned into the guard’s chest. Electro repeats the process with a second man but then sends an electric shock into the man’s chest, which restarts his heart.
  • One scene shows Electro being tortured. His body is strapped to a frame that is lowered into a pool of water. When the frame is raised up out of the water a man pushes a button that sends a charge through Electro, causing him to convulse in pain. This is repeated.
  • In a battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, which takes place in a mechanical clock tower, Gwen becomes entangled in giant clockwork cogs that threaten to crush her. Spider-Man desperately spins webs to stop Gwen from being crushed. The Green Goblin hurls a grenade at Spider-Man and the explosion causes Gwen to fall. Spider-Man shoots out a strand of web to save Gwen but can’t reach her in time. She hits the ground and is killed.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

Most of The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro is likely to scare and disturb children in this age group. There are scary characters and creatures and scenes of transformation. For example:

  • One scene shows an older man dying in bed. His face is covered in cancerous sores and lesions, and he has long curled lizard-like claws for fingernails. A later scene has a news report stating that the man had died.
  • The scenes in which Matt Dillon is electrocuted in a tank of scary electric eels and transforms into Electro are very disturbing. Electro is a scary and unreal-looking character. His eyes look artificial and electrical charges pulse through his body.
  • When Harry is injected with radioactive spider venom, he starts to convulse. The veins in his skin rise to the surface and turn black all over his body. He rips off his top as though his skin is burning, and the muscles in his shoulders and back distort and spasm. His face and eyes take on a manic goblin-like appearance. His teeth seem too large for his mouth and his hair becomes wild and unruly. 

From 5-8

Children in this age group will also be disturbed by the violent and scary scenes mentioned above. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above and particularly by Gwen’s death. Peter Parker cries inconsolably as he holds Gwen’s dead body, and a trickle of blood runs from Gwen’s nose. A later scene shows Peter keeping a daily vigil at Gwen’s gravesite. 

Over 13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There is some use of substances in The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro. For example:

  • A young man says that his father sent him a bottle of scotch for his 16th birthday.
  • In a couple of scene a young man pours himself whiskey and drinks. In one of the scenes, he drinks two glasses of alcohol quickly and seems drunk. He throws his empty glass against a wall, smashing the glass and cutting his cheek.
  • Harry is injected with spider venom and becomes Green Goblin. 

Nudity and sexual activity

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro shows some nudity and sexual activity:

  • In one comic scene Spiderman restrains a gunman’s arms and legs with web. Then he uses a strand of web to pull the man’s pants down, revealing his underwear.
  • Several scenes show Peter kissing Gwen on the lips and the two hugging each other passionately. 

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro: US fast foods, Sony phones and internet search engines. There is also plenty of merchandise associated with the movie being marketed to children. 

Coarse language

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro has some low-level course language and name-calling. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro is the second in the current series of Spider-Man movies. It is a science fiction action fantasy targeting teenagers and adults who are fans of Marvel comics and superhero movies. The frequent violence, disturbing scenes and themes, and scary characters make is unsuitable for children under 15 years.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Life is valuable because it is limited.
  • Everyone has a part of themselves that they keep hidden from others.
  • We have to hold on to hope and fight for what matters.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include getting a balance in your life. Throughout the movie Spider-Man keeps putting the needs of others ahead of his own. But Peter recognises that his own needs are also important.

You could also talk about the fact that Harry Osborn is willing to do anything and sacrifice anything to save his own life, regardless of the cost to himself or others. Are there instances when one person’s life should be saved at the cost of another life? Can one person’s life ever be more valuable than other people’s lives?