We catch up with Spider-Man sometime after the events of the first film and he is really coming in to his role as New York's hero. He swings around the city, helping the police and saving citizens. Peter Parker is now a high school graduate, he is with the love of his life and he's never been happier. But that is all about to change....
So The Amazing Spider-Man 2! This is the second film in the rebooted Spider-Man franchise that started back in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man, which was a film I absolutely loved! That film of course had its issues, it was held back because it had to re-tell the origin story of Spider-Man, so with this film, the film makers had complete control over where they could take the story, they weren't held back because of story obligations. So....is this film better than the first?.....Not quite.
The film takes place not too long after the events of the first film. Peter is still haunted by the image of Gwen's father because he broke his promise. He made a promise to Captain Stacy that he would leave Gwen out of his life because Peter leads a very dangerous life in his role as Spider-Man. We see Peter is now completely confident in his role as the hero, he's very cocky in and out of his suit. He is just absolutely loving his life but he does have his own personal demons.
We get introduced to some new characters in the film. Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) works as Oscorp and he is a very lonely, unappreciated man who just wants to be noticed. In true Spider-Man fashion, something goes horrifically wrong for this man and he is forever transformed into Electro! A creature who can control and manipulate electricity. Electro was never one of my favorite villains, I always had a love-hate relationship with the character. But here he is played by the brilliant Jamie Foxx, so I was very excited for the character in this film. But what we get is a visually stunning villain who's motives are so childish and pathetic that I didn't care at all for him. Spider-Man saves Max from being crushed to death by a hurtling car. This causes Max to have a fascination with the hero, he sees Spider-Man as his best friend. But when Spider-Man simply forgets his name, Electro goes into a mad rage and wants to kill the hero. I thought this was an incredibly childish motive that was horrifically similar to the Riddler in Batman Forever. Throughout the film Electro comes and goes and is simply there for flashy set pieces. Electro does have a very explosive and entertaining action scene in Times Square where he faces off against the hero and this was a really fun scene, but I was more bothered about the visuals rather than the story behind the action. I just feel that Electro had so much potential but was wasted.
We also get to meet Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) who was a childhood friend of Peter's and we get to see them re-connect and the friendship between these two characters was nice it was great to watch them interact. I have never been a huge fan of DeHaan, and I know I'm in the minority there. I was very disappointed when I heard he was cast as Harry but I gave him a chance and through half of this film, I liked his performance, he really nailed some great aspects of Harry's personality. Of course from the trailers we see that Harry becomes the Green Goblin, which was a change from the comics because traditionally it is his father that becomes that iconic villain. But I welcomed that change with open arms and what we got was so utterly ridiculous and laughable that I was rolling my eyes when the villain appeared. The transformation from Harry to the Goblin was pretty cool, he looks much better than he did in Sam Raimi's original film. I liked the costume and the glider and visually it was very pleasing. The thing that irritated me was Goblin's voice. He had a ridiculous cackle and his voice sounded like he just got a new set of braces put in. The villain ultimately lasts in the film for about 10 minutes and although the short fight between Spidey and Goblin looked cool, it wasn't enough.
Paul Giamatti is also in the film as Rhino! One of the more ridiculous Spider-Man villains in the comic books. Here he is a Russian mobster in a mechanical suit who is limited to an appearance at the beginning and an appearance at the end. Paul Giamatti's Russian accent was so extreme and cartoony that I absolutely hated this character. At the end of the film he even proclaims in a Russian accent; "I AM THE RHINO" which left me with my head in my hands.
The film's marketing was all set around the villains of the film and what we get is three underused and cartoony enemies that belong in a comic book film from the 90's. The motives of the villains were just stupid, I didn't care for any of them, ultimately they were just there for some flashy action scenes. Of course we are getting a Sinister Six film in the near future where six Spider-Man villains team up! I honestly don't have a lot of hope for that film after seeing the villains in this one.
So let's get into the good aspects of the film because there are quite a few.
The chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as Peter and Gwen is really great, I really felt the relationship between the two characters. We see them go through some hard times and good times and you really feel like you're there with them because the love story is so intimate.
Andrew Garfield blew me away in the first film because of how perfect he was as Peter and Spider-Man and here he is still fantastic! He captures the intelligence of Peter but also the wit and cockiness. He's also incredible funny in the role. He captures the look and the personality. Tobey Maguire's take on the character will always have a special place in my heart but Garfield's take is just so modern and fresh.
The action scenes were absolutely beautiful to watch. Electro's powers make for some great visuals and we get to really see Spider-Man's powers in full effect. There are quite a few slow motion shots where we see Spidey use his powers and they looked great. Spider-Man is a very agile and fast superhero and we really get to see that here.
The relationship between the characters is fantastic. To the romance between Peter and Gwen. To the love Peter has for his Aunt May (Sally Field). There is a heart breaking scene where Aunt May lets Peter know how important he is to her and it almost brought me to tears. Peter and Harry's rekindled friendship is also nice to see.
Of course Sony is attempting to create their own cinematic universe for Spider-Man with plans for a Venom film, a Sinster Six film and two more Spider-Man films. This film perfectly sets up those future installments in the franchise.
Now I'm going to get into the bad parts of the film.
So I've already ranted on about the villains but they just seemed to be wasted. The whole marketing campaign was to build up how big these villains are going to be but all three of them fall flat. The most terrifying villains are those with either no motive (like The Joker) or a motive that you can empathize with (like Loki). Here the motives are so childish and silly that I didn't care at all.
Green Goblin just sounded so ridiculous, the voice really put me off the character and I hope they get rid of that stupid voice for future films. He was really rushed into the film. The villains in this movie are ultimately as bad as they were in Spider-Man 3. Electro is basically Sandman. Green Goblin is Venom. It's ridiculously similar how they dealt with these characters. Electro becomes a henchman and Green Goblin is rushed and is supposed to be seen as the Mastermind behind the terror.
For years I have wanted Spider-Man to fight a villain that is personal to him. He always has to save the city and I feel it's time for a change. Give us a bigger threat to Spider-Man rather than New York.
For anyone that knows about the comic books and what happens to certain characters. You basically already know the big plot point at the end of the film. I knew what would happen to certain characters and that was the only real thing that happened at the climax.
This film is definitely over crowded. None of the villains get enough character development. This movie should have had Electro and no other villains. Because Electro should have been a very sympathetic villain but because we had to see two other villains, we didn't get enough of Electro's character. Green Goblin is really rushed, he should be a villain on his own or built up for a couple of movies because he is so important and personal to Spider-Man.
There just wasn't enough Spider-Man. Spider-Man is my favorite character of all time, I have based a lot of my life around this character because he is so important to me and I honestly get a little choked up whenever I see him web swing around New York in a movie. But in this movie there just wasn't enough of him. Because the screen time needs to be shared between Spider-Man, three villains and Peter and Gwen, we don't get enough of it.
I really, really wanted to love this movie but it just feels like too much crammed in. The run time is 2 hours and 22 minutes and that should be long enough to fit the story in but it honestly didn't feel complete. The end felt very rushed and although the big plot point at the end of the film did emotionally impact me, I wasn't satisfied when I left the theater.
Also instead of use getting an after credits scene to set up the next film. We got a clip from [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](movie:203942). This was because FOX paid SONY to advertise X-Men during their film. So don't get your hopes up for a crossover.
I know SONY are building their cinematic universe and they do need to set up certain events and characters but the whole of this movie does feel like set up for Sinister Six. It feels like a filler movie similar to how films like Thor and Captain America exist to set up The Avengers.
The film does have a lot of problems but I still did enjoy it. It was action packed, it was very funny, it had a great score and was incredibly entertaining. But as a movie it didn't feel like the full package and just a set up movie for future installments. I am going to give the film another viewing next week so I can go into it knowing what I'm in for and try and enjoy it more, I will be doing a spoiler filled review after my second viewing. As I said Spider-Man is my favorite character so it pains me to say that this movie didn't satisfy me. I do recommend you go and see it because it is a fun time, its very entertaining but it has a lot of flaws. For now I'm going to give [The Amazing Spider-Man 2](movie:508593) a B-!
Director: Marc Webb.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane Dehaan, Sally Field and Paul Giamatti.