The Ninjabot

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 Review – How to Love Spidey But Not His Movie

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 7:40 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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There are really only two types of comic book movies coming out today. There’s the fun, action-centric, wise-cracking ones like Iron Man and his pals at Marvel. Then there’s the dark and gritty adaptations like The Dark Knight Trilogy and Watchmen. Both sides of the coin have merit and a place in our hearts, but can a film have its cake and eat it too? In the case of The Amazing Spider-Man 2…nope.

****Minor Spoilers Ahead****

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 picks up shortly after the events of the first film. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is trying to come to terms with his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in the face of her father’s dying words to leave her alone so she can be safe. Right out of the gate, director Marc Webb nails both Peter and Gwen, and I would have been delighted if this was a romantic comedy starring the duo. Garfield and Stone have amazing chemistry and all of their scenes are perfect. Their interplay and exchanges make them, hands down, the best comic book romance to date.

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Another facet that the film locks down is Spider-Man himself. Garfield (or at least his voice) shows us just how awesome it is to be Spider-Man. It’s a refreshing take in a superhero climate where it’s cool to hate the burden being placed upon you. This Spider-Man loves everything about being your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. While Peter can be reserved and awkward, Spider-Man is his antithesis, always enjoying himself even when facing dire circumstances.

While the romantic duo of Garfield and Stone is amazing, the opposite is true for the villainous trio we are presented with. Early on in the film, we’re introduced to the future Rhino, played by Paul Giamatti, with an ear piercing Russian accent. He’s forgettable, but his part is a glorified cameo, so you can’t hate on him too much. Enter Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an electrical engineer working for OsCorp who is saved by Spider-Man early in the film, during his run in with Giamatti’s character. Because Spider-Man chose to save him, Max believes that they are best friends, and that he and Spidey will get an apartment, grow old together, and raise pet cobras.

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Of course, Dillon transforms into Electro through an extremely generic brush with electricity and becomes one of the worst villains in comic book movie history. The blame cannot be placed entirely at Foxx’s feet, though. The dialog he’s given is on par with Mr. Freeze from Batman and Robin, and his look is on the same level. The only saving grace for Electro is a great action sequence in Times Square, but that’s over well before the hour mark in the film, after which Electro is defeated and locked away.

So what is the movie to do without its main antagonist for the next 90 minutes? Introduce us to Harry Osborn, of course, this time played by Dane DeHann with the worst haircut since Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element. Is it a comb over, or just an awful fashion statement? We find out that he’s dying of a rare disease, blah blah blah, and that he needs Spider-Man’s blood to save him. It’s worth noting that the film was written and produced by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman of Wrath of K– I mean Star Trek Into Darkness fame. You know, the film where Khan’s blood was a cure all? These guys may be vampires.

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Throughout the film we are given glimpses to Peter’s parents and their work at OsCorp. This subplot really muddies the second act and pulls you away from the main thread of the film. It’s not well fleshed out, and it conveniently wraps up things that should be a lot harder to get to. The atmosphere is very Nolan-esque and feels out of place in a film that succeeds in the lighter moments so well. These scenes really affect the film’s pacing, and even though I applaud Webb for trying to create a larger world for the sequels, it’s to the detriment of this particular movie.

Now for the ultimate letdown. You know the climactic battle we’ve been waiting for between Spider-Man, the Green Goblin, Rhino, and Electro? Well, it never happens. Instead of ganging up on the web slinger, the baddies end up fighting him either individually or not at all. It’s no exaggeration to say that if you’ve seen the trailers and clips released ahead of time by Sony and posted on sites like ours, you’ve seen 95% of Rhino/Paul Giamatti’s role in this film. To make matters worse, we’re given a lame final battle with Electro and a so-so fight with the Goblin.

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The CGI artists definitely nailed Spider-Man’s look, but fell short in creating an interesting and consistent look for Electro. They slow the action down regularly to simulate Spider-Man’s Spidey sense, and it’s during these moments that Electro looks like he was drawn in MS Paint. It’s frustrating because Spider-Man looks so crisp and wonderful, and when he swings down the street, it’s truly breathtaking; but I guess they had practice animating him in the first film. Maybe they’ll do better in the Sinister Six film.

All of the above lead to a complete tonal mess of a film. Parts of it are too dark to make this a fun film, and it’s too light to be on the same level as The Dark Knight. The performances are a mixed bag, with Garfield and Stone killing it while Foxx and DeHaan recite awful dialog; and while there are a couple great action sequences, they can’t make up for a bloated plot that abandons aspects of itself at a whim and tries to accomplish more than it’s able to.

Snackbar’s Grade: C

The_Amazing_Spider_Man_2_42071Pros – Great action sequences, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s performances are top notch.

Cons – The villains are straight out of a Joel Schumacher Batman film, an inconsistent tone, and severe pacing issues in the middle.

Let me know what you thought of the film in the comment section below.

Follow Snackbar on Twitter @snackie_cakes for all your Geek News

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    • Bubba Ray

      I was afraid of Electro in this one. The trailers seemed to paint him as the second coming of Mr. Freeze. Fun review.

    • Tito

      Great review! Funny and pointed. I agree with your assessment of Garfield and Stone. Foxx is terrible!!!

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