Friday, May 30, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

I was not originally excited about the Spider-Man reboot only five years after the awful Spider-Man 3, but The Amazing Spider-Man completely blew me away and I was chomping at the bit to see the next installment. Finally The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) hit theaters. While not quite as amazing as its predecessor, it was a great fun to watch.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is getting the hang of being Spider-Man. There's nothing quite like web slinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Formidable villains keep appearing and threaten New York City. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter is confronted with a foe far more powerful than he is. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Peter's old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns. Harry had been sent away by his father Norman (Chris Cooper) to a boarding school around the same time Peter's parents disappeared. Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp, which Harry is inheriting. Peter's Aunt May (Sally Field) is struggling to support the two of them and is worried about the secrets of Peter's parents that begin to bubble up. Spider-Man's greatest conflict has always been the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. As Peter's past unfolds, the dividing line between them starts to becomes oblique.
First off, let me clear something up. The promo posters for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 showed not one, not two, but three villains for old web head to face. The last time we did that in Spider-Man 3 it was awful. The story was all cluttered, nothing had enough screen time for proper development, and it looked like Amazing Spider-Man 2 was going to shoot itself in the foot like Spider-Man 3 did. There is actually one central villain in this movie: Electro. There's a second villain that shows up late in the movie, which was a weak move as far as story structure goes. Then there's the third one thrown in for the sole purpose of being a teaser for the next movie, but I'm not going to tell you which is which. On the one hand, we get a good, solid, interesting bad guy with some depth and back story. But on the other hand, the other two felt as if they were shoehorned into the movie just to get us to want buy tickets for the next movie before this one is over.
Peter and Gwen are great characters. They bounce of each other beautifully, they make up for flaws the other one has, they're cute together, and it takes both of them to fight the bad guys. Gwen is almost like a sidekick to Spider-Man, she played a big role in stopping The Lizard in the previous film and her brains help Peter figure out how to fight Electro. Unfortunately, we spend a lot of time with an on-again-off-again relationship the two of them have. I feel like that story arch could have been condensed. They could have simply had Peter stick to his decision in the previous movie to stay away from Gwen, and then have to seek her out and ask for help and start the relationship anew. Instead they keep flip-flopping between being together and being apart, and it takes up a lot of the story in the movie. Spider-Man has always been about juggling his dual roles, so things are inevitably going to become complicated. The "are we really together" subplot became tedious at times.
Electro: Movie vs. Comics
Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon was great. He's a nobody who works as an electrical engineer for Oscorp and he idolizes Spider-Man. It quickly becomes an unhealthy obsession after being saved by Spider-Man. I've loved Spider-Man since I was four years old and I was never that bad. After Max Dillon obtains electrical superpowers, becoming Electro, Spider-Man tries to help, but things go awry and Max's borderline crazy escalates into arrogant insanity. The movie Electro looks nothing at all like the comic book Electro; he looks way better! His skin is translucent and teeming with electricity. It's excellent watching how this character goes from being a good hearted loser into a powerful villain. It is logical development of the character, and you can empathies with him on some level. That's how you make a good bad guy.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was fun, although wasn't as good as the previous film. The story wandered around aimlessly several times, it had some subplots that could easily have been condensed, and it leaves a lot of unresolved issues for the next movie to pick up. It also has a great cast, some solid characters, some outstanding special effects, and moments that are touching and others that will shock you. Seriously, there was one moment in the movie when I was staring agape at what happened. I'm starting to think Andrew Garfield is a better Peter Parker than Toby Maguire was; Garfield has more of the sassy intelligent smart mouth thing going on which was always a major part of the Spider-Man character. It may not be as good as the first Amazing Spider-Man, but it's a good time and worth catching in theaters. You can bet I'll be getting a copy on blu-ray when it's available. Make sure you stick around for the mid-credits preview of X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Several Spider-Man villains were hinted at in this movie, which one are you most looking forward to? Comment below and tell me why!

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