Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
A plane is crashing, nose diving into the ground, but you have the wherewithal to grab your laptop, plug in the ethernet cord and make sure your ever so important, earth saving files are uploaded before you die in a fiery crash.
Sounds crazy, right? Not to Marc Web!!
Besides one of the most absurd and mind numbing opening scenes in cinema history, I tried to keep calm and remain open minded about The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Following a very successful and enjoyable first film, there was no doubt about the excitement level for the sequel.
The Spider-Man character is great, he's a fan favorite for a reason; we can relate to him, he seems like an ordinary kid. The man behind the mask (Andrew Garfield) has more to deal with than ever; from his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and being haunted by her father’s last words, searching for the truth about his parents and a slew of new villains. It's Oscorp against Spider-Man in a fight to take over the city.
With no reason behind it, the film dives into Spider-Man flying through the air following NYPD cars chasing a man in a stolen car. Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), who is an important character, Rhino, we just don’t know it yet. Through tons of gunfire, car crashes and silly comedy by Spidey, innocent bystanders simply stand there watching the “fun.” We’re thrown into a familiar routine for Parker, donning the suit, fighting crime and ending up exhausted in bed. In the mix is lovely girlfriend Gwen who is still being ever so cute and balancing being Spider-Man’s girlfriend with her own ambitions.
Through all the chaos we’re introduced to a pencil pusher geek (Jamie Foxx) named Max Dillon, who designed the electric grid of New York at Oscorp. He’s a lonely man whose claim to fame is being saved by Spider-Man, and all he wants to do is be seen and needed by someone. Obsessing over the web slinger, after falling into a pool of electric eels following a work accident, Dillon freakishly becomes a blue Frankenstein-like electricity-manipulating monster, who vows to take down Spider-Man and steal his spotlight.
Director Marc Webb uses his shoddy editing tactics and while all the above is sort-of happening, now introduces us to Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), Norman’s son. As his father is on his deathbed, Oscorp is now under the control of 20-year-old Harry, much to the chagrin of the board members. Speaking to his father one last time, Harry is informed that the disease that is killing his father is genetic and he too will suffer the undesirable fate. Osborn knows the only way to combat the disease is with the blood of Spider-Man. The catch is such: Harry and Peter Parker are old pals, so their rekindling is only leading to a tussle between spider and goblin.
So now we have Peter trying to come to grips with Gwen leaving and taking on two villains. Aunt May (Sally Field) is also worried about him looking for answers with his father’s death. There are just so many things going on and none of them are presented in an orderly fashion. It’s pieced together and thrown on the screen, one scene after the other. It’s really ugly.
Frankly I enjoyed Foxx as Electro, he's a cool villain and probably the best part of the film. From his modernized costume to voice and special powers, he's a fun bad guy who unfortunately gets tossed away pretty haphazardly. I wish we got more of a backstory to his character and powers, it just sort-of happens, and we’re suppose to buy it. There’s no real motivation for his dark side to come out. DeHaan on the other hand isn’t so much misused, as he simply doesn’t feel important. His character has no meaning and the battle with Spider-Man at the end is over in the blink of an eye, even if it does provide a good bit of entertainment. Green Goblin’s makeup and appearance are pretty awful and distracting, simply put DeHaan is too talented of an actor to be in such a meaningless role. These are two villains that really could have been memorable but because of a seriously weak script, they will end up being footnotes in Marvel history.
Many are praising the chemistry between Stone and Garfield in the film, the love story of Peter and Gwen, chasing dreams to England vs. protecting the city. While being the fourth or fifth sub plot in the muddled film, the romance is a decent one, but the fact is when your sub sub sub plot is the thing we are talking about instead of the superhero the film is named after you’re in trouble.
There are some fun moments and a few decent action scenes but they are crippled by cheesy dialogue and stupid, gimmicky slow-motion effects. Every chance Webb gets to salvage the film, something else that’s the director’s doing gets in the way. There was too much going on and it seemed like everything with the villains was rushed. A lack of character development and overall storylines demolished any potential this film had.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 now bares the proud title of biggest budgeted film to ever shoot in New York, something Michael Bay would be proud to add to his movie poster as a tag line. Unfortunately this “title” gives us nothing new in the superhero film genre, it felt like there was a to-do list for the production team and their goal was to just check off boxes instead of blazing a new trail of something exciting for the fans and for the web-head.
With such great additions to the cast it's a shame how misguided the entire film truly is. From the first act the direction is so sloppy, cut scenes are meshed together and the story becomes so stale. The editing process must have been in the middle of a rave party, as there is simply no excuse for such a lack of cohesiveness. What motive was there behind this film besides setting up the Sinister Six story arc? And even that wasn’t done in a fun way. The lousy script and boring story arc lends no favor to a talented cast that ultimately star in a hollow, forgettable film.