3 out of 5
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The 2nd installment of The Amazing Spider-man has finally hit the theaters. Andrew Garfield once again returns as the nerdy Peter Parker and web slinging Spidey, and this is his finest moment as both.
The first Amazing Spider-man hit many nerves; I enjoyed myself, but it was hard seeing another Spider-man movie so soon after Spider-man 3 (a movie filled with flaws and unforgettable debacles). I liked Andrew Garfield as Spider- man/Peter in the first one, but I found him more weird than nerdy. I was relieved to see less weirdness out of his character this time around.
The Amazing Spider-man 2 suffers from too much clutter. I can see where they want to go with the series (copying Marvel’s/Disney’s Avengers success) and wanting to introduce the Sinister Six. I respect that – and I truly think it would be great to have them all on one screen, but in this movie they focused on the wrong villain. Because the focus was drawn towards the Electro / Max Dillon character (played by Jamie Foxx) we miss out on other amazing opportunities – especially since Electro was the weakest of the 3 villains. I don’t know if it was Jamie Foxx’s eccentric portrayal of the character (think of performances seen in Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies) or just the poor character development itself, but I feel he would have been a better secondary villain rather than the lead. I would have enjoyed a movie that focused more on Harry Osborn (Green Goblin) and Peter’s relationship and a stronger introduction to the Green Goblin himself than to focus (and sympathize) on the story of Electro.
My Final Thoughts: For the most part I can agree with everything Gary said in his main review. I enjoyed it. I don’t feel that it’s the strongest in the line of Spidey movies (I really enjoyed Spider-man 2 with Toby Maguire), but it’s a step up from what I didn’t like about the first Amazing Spider-man. I did love the scene near the end – in which Andrew Garfield truly shined as an actor… yeah, I’m trying to keep this spoiler free.
Bring on the Sinister Six!
Let me begin by saying this: I love Spider-man in the comics; I do not love Spider-man in movies. The only time, in my opinion, that Spidey was ever given justice on film was in the 1994 animated series, but they had 65 episodes to tell his story. Historically the Spider-man movies have been known to either try too hard, not try hard enough or they are known for jamming too many villains into one movie. Oh, and occasionally they’re known for awful Saturday Night Fever(esque) dance walking sequences.
The Amazing Spider-man 2 picks up right before graduation from high school. Spider-man (played wonderfully by Andrew Garfield) has come to terms with his powers since the first film and he is loving everything about being Spider-man, but he just can’t shake the image of his girlfriend’s father (Denis Leary) and his disapproval that Peter continues to date his daughter even after his dying wish (from the first film) was to keep Gwen (Emma Stone returns and reminds us of how she’s a much better and stronger character than Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane) safe. Naturally, things can’t run smoothly for too long and Spidey finds himself in a state of turmoil. Between trying to do the right thing in his relationship with Gwen, deal with the loss of his parents and his uncle and take on three new enemies he’s bound to be in for a tough time!
--SOME POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW--
As I said in the first paragraph, I do not love this franchise. Spider-man is, however one of my favorite super heroes because he was something that I could grasp as a child. Someone who wasn’t that much older than me who could save the world and do it all with a sense of humor. This film does a much better job of capturing Spider-man’s sense of humor as he’s swinging from web to web and saving people all while keeping the overall tone of the movie pretty dark. Andrew Garfield (while I wasn’t sold initially) is a great choice for Spidey and he helps me forget about the Tobey Maguire version of the character.
The love story and inner struggles are played up much more in this movie. It remains a will they/won’t they kind of scenario without getting all that over-dramatic. They play the characters very breezy and easy and that makes you feel like you really know these kids and you find yourself rooting for them. That being said, in the overall darkness of this movie, the love story (when it kicks into gear) sort of sticks out like a sore thumb. From an intense turn as Spider-man to a playful conversation as Peter and Gwen it jarred me a little bit, but perhaps it helps to illustrate the constant flux that our hero is going through.
The movie’s choices of villains was rather interesting. Electro (played by a nerdy and eccentric Jamie Foxx) was by far the main antagonist in this story, but the third act introduction of Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) added some nice spice into the mix. I would have liked to have seen more with Rhino but there is definitely enough hinting around to know that he will be in the next installment. The movie ran about twenty minutes too long anyways, so I’d probably complain if they had spent more time on Rhino. The origin story for Electro was ho-hum for me and the origin story for Green Goblin happened too fast. There wasn’t enough of an explanation as to why (or how, he couldn’t even walk) he actually got into the Goblin armour suit or how he even knew how to control it, I mean, it was his first time even seeing the suit and glider as far as I could tell! I feel that if they had’ve cut down on some of the Electro stuff and spent more time explaining the Goblin transformation, it would have appeased me. The action sequences with Electro looked really fake and cartoonish although graphically, I was pretty impressed for the most part. Lastly, between Connors becoming the Lizard in the first film and the origin stories of the villains in this movie, I’m growing tired of the sympathetic villain storyline. It’s unfortunate what happens to these characters but can’t someone occasionally just be evil? In this “Amazing” storyline, the closest that had we been to someone being bad just to be bad was Rhino and that’s because he was in the movie for less than ten minutes overall. Maybe they’re doing their best to show the humanity of these characters to make the Sinister Six movie more emotionally stable?
My thoughts on this movie are jumbled. On one hand, I think it’s a great step forward and I look forward to seeing where they go from here. On the other hand, I really just don’t like this mellow dramatic rendition of Spider-man that they’re going with. There’s something missing in the writing for both of these films. They’re getting great work out of all the actors that they bring in, but they’re just trying too hard to make something huge and epic like the movies that their Disney counterparts are becoming notorious for. Even with the obnoxious run time, it still felt like there was something major missing as a stand-alone film.Overall, I found myself more impressed by the light show than by the sparkle behind it. Stunning action sequences and weak writing stand out to me more than the high volume of villains. But, all in all, this was a big step up and even with it’s flaws, the best Spider-man movie to date.