Australian Council on Children and the Media

Amazing Spiderman 2: Rise of Electro

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Not suitable under 12, Parental guidance strongly recommended 12-15 (Violence; Disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Amazing Spiderman 2: Rise of Electro
  • a review of Amazing Spiderman 2: Rise of Electro completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 April 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 12 to 15 Parental guidance strongly recommended due to violence and disturbing scenes.
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Amazing Spiderman 2: Rise of Electro
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Action violence
Length 142 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The film 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 manage to escape aboard a private jet, but are killed when the plane explodes after an assassin makes an attempt on their lives.

The film then moves to the present day where we find Peter Parker/Spiderman (Andrew Garfield) in hot pursuit of Russians attempting to hijack an Oscorp Industries truck transporting a shipment of plutonium. Spiderman manages to stop the villains, recover the plutonium and save 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) - all in a day’s work for the amazing Spiderman!  

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

While Peter Parker battles with finding a balance between being a crime fighting super hero and a normal every day young man, the disgruntled Oscorp employee Max  Dillon falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels and mutates into the electrically-charged super being “Electro”. Electro is able to transform into pure electrical energy with limitless destructive powers which he unleashes on New York City and Spiderman

Spiderman now has to battle against Electro to save New York City while also battling against his friend Harry Osborn, who after injecting himself with radioactive spider serum transforms into the Green Goblin.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Superheroes; mutation; good versus evil

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains science fiction action violence throughout, mass destruction of property, the depiction of death and injury with some blood, and the depiction of torture. Examples include:

  • In the film’s intense opening scene Peter Parker’s parents are aboard a private jet with a gunman who has killed the pilot 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 attempts to strangle him. During the struggle Parker manages to get hold of 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 causing 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 from his grasp, throw it on the ground and smash it.
  • A man balances precariously on a tower rail while attempting to connect two electrical cables. A large spark erupts from the cables causing the man to lose his balance and fall several stories into a gigantic glass vat filled with large electric eels. He is repeatedly shocked by the eels until the glass shatters and man and eels pour out on to the floor.
  • Electro uses electrical charges emanating from his hands to pick up a truck and hurl it over his head, and to hurl police-cars through the air. Police fire multiple gunshots at Electro but the bullets bounce off an electrical force-field created by Electro who hurls electrical charges at the police, knocking 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. We see a small smouldering hole burnt 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 depicts 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 Spiderman and the Green Goblin, which takes place in a mechanical clock tower, Gwen becomes entangled in giant clockwork cogs that threaten to crush her.  Spiderman desperately spins webs in an attempt to stop Gwen from being crushed. The Green Goblin hurls a grenade at Spiderman and the explosion causes Gwen to fall.  Spiderman shoots out a strand of web in an attempt to save Gwen but is unable to reach her in time and she hits the ground and is killed.  

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Most of this film is likely to scare and disturb children in this age group. There are scary characters and creatures and scenes of transformation, including:

  • One scene depicts an older man dying in bed his face is cover in cancerous looking soars and lesions and he has long curled lizard-like claws for fingernails. In a later scene we hear a news report stating that the man had died. 
  • Electro is a scary and unreal looking character. His eyes have an artificial and electrical charges pulse through his body.  The scenes in which Matt Dillon is electrocuted in a tank of scary electric eels and transforms into Electro are very disturbing.
  • When Harry is injected with radioactive spider venom, he starts to convulse and 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 with his teeth appearing too large for his mouth and his hair becoming wild and unruly.    

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

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

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

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

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

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

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • American fast foods, Sony phones, Internet search engines

There is also plenty of associated merchandise being marketed to children.

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

  • In one comic scene Spiderman, after restraining a gunman’s arms and legs with web, uses a strand of web to pull the man’s pants down, revealing his underwear.
  • Several scenes depict Peter kissing Gwen on the lips and the two embracing passionately.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • A young man says that his father sent him a bottle of scotch for his sixteenth birthday.
  • In a couple of scene we see a young man pouring himself whisky and drinking. In one of the scenes, he drinks two glasses of alcohol in quick succession and seems intoxicated. He throws his empty glass against a wall, smashing the glass and receiving a small bloody cut to his cheek.
  • Harry is injected with spider venom and becomes Green Goblin.

 

Coarse language

The film contains a few examples of low-level course use and name calling. Including:

  •  “hell” ; “pissed off”; “freak”

In a nutshell

Amazing Spiderman 2: Rise of Electro is the second in the current series of Spiderman films. It is a science fiction action fantasy targeting adolescents and adults who are fans of Marvel comics and superhero films. The frequent violence, disturbing scenes and themes, and scary characters make is unsuitable for under 14s.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • 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 parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Life balance - Throughout the film Spiderman continuously puts the needs of other ahead of his own. However, Peter recognises that his own needs are also important.

Parents may wish to discuss the fact that Harry Osborn was willing to do anything and sacrifice anything in a bid 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? Can any one individual’s life be more valuable than that of others?

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