******(CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS)******
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the greatest disappointment I have ever seen since Iron Man 2. Like Iron Man 2, it meshes all sorts of plot threads together with barely any connection in an attempt to set up a bigger film (in this case, the Sinister Six) and fails miserably.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 starts off with promise, as Peter Parker (played excellently by Anderew Garfield) takes on the Rhino (played by Paul Giamatti). It’s a thrilling chase that is an absolute pleasure to watch, and it all ends in a light-hearted meeting between Peter and Gwen (played also superbly by Emma Stone). This is all enjoyably good, but all of a sudden, the movie takes a Tyler-Perry-style u-turn into dismal melodrama.
Somehow, despite his vow to be with Gwen in spite of her father in the last film, he suddenly realizes he’s putting her in danger. Then all of a sudden, he states that he can’t be with her and Gwen breaks up with him…in the first ten minutes. It’s not like he put her in danger or anything; she was just minding her own business at the graduation ceremony and all of a sudden, he realizes he can’t be with her. What’s even worse is that they make up with each other ten minutes later…before Gwen announces out of the blue that she’s moving to England. The movie tries to set up a conflict between the two, but it just comes across as so rushed and so lazy that I didn’t even care about it.
Then we have the villain, Electro (played by Jamie Foxx). Instead of giving him an honest introduction and really fleshing out his character, he is introduced as awkward comedic fodder. All he is basically is a guy who was saved by Spider-Man and develops a creepy obsession for him…oh, and he also has no friends at work. After gaining his electric powers, he decides to take his anger of being lonely out on the world and suddenly decides he hates Spider-Man after a brief failed negotiation. That’s it; we get no backstory on the guy, no interesting character traits, just a lazy mess of character development. You’d think with Electro being plastered all over the trailers and marketing that they’d have a deep, interesting story for him. But no, his story is pretty much put on the backburner to tell the story of Harry Osbourne (played by Dane Dehaan). However, even his backstory is underdeveloped.
We are introduced to Harry with no background and are suddenly expected to care about him after Peter simply shows up at his office and has an emotional reunion with him. “Show, don’t tell” obviously doesn’t apply here; the movie tells us that Peter and Harry used to be friends but we are given no true insight on that. He’s such a shallow villain, that it feels like the writer dropped the script and lost a couple of pages in the wind.
So just to review, among the films conflicts are: Peter’s rocky relationship with Gwen, Electro’s backstory, and Harry’s relationship with Peter. That’s not all though, there’s also the conflict of Peter trying to find out why his father disappeared, the only issue that was truly carried over from the last film. Oh, and there’s a plot point involving Peter’s relationship with his Aunt May and how being a superhero puts a rift between them. So in total, that’s five story elements all crammed into one film. All it adds up to is a train-wreck of massive proportions. Even when the movie tries to tie all of these elements together, it just fails. This is especially a problem when all of these plot elements lend themselves to big, soap-opera-like scenes of dismal, moping melodrama. This movie mopes so much, it makes Man of Steel look like The Fantastic Four.
All of the impressive special effects and fine acting in the world couldn’t save this movie from its shoddy, sloppy script. Half of it is practically unwritten and the other half is just a rushed setup for the Sinister Six film. Look Sony, I know that you only own the rights to Spider-Man, and I know you want a big epic film to compete with The Avengers. On the contrary, trying to create your own Avengers franchise isn’t taking you over The Avengers, it’s just turning the Spider-Man franchise into total garbage. That’s what this movie is: garbage.
I didn’t want to hate this; I wanted the critics to be wrong. At the very least, I was hoping I could get some enjoyment out of it like Man of Steel. It may have been full of holes and shoddily assembled, but at least Man of Steel focused on one villain and one story. I seriously hope that the next Spider-Man film will blow this one out of the water, because my standards for this franchise have been set to an all-time low.