Release Date: 5/2/2014
Dir. Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/ Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacey), Jamie Foxx (Electro), Sally Field (Aunt May), Dane DeHaan ( Harry Osborn/ Green Goblin), Paul Giamatti (Aleksei Systevich/ Rhino)
The Amazing Spider-Man was met with mixed reviews, yet most people remained hopeful, myself included. It seemed like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a lot of hope as it would propel Peter Parker’s story forward from the steps taken in Sam Raimi’s trilogy. It had Gwen Stacey for goodness sake. As more information was leaked and we saw the numerous villains, people grew nervous. And they had reason to be nervous. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was trying to juggle too many things at once. But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad, in fact much of it wasn’t actually bad. It just didn’t gel as nicely as the creators hoped it would. The result was numerous storylines, most of which never felt truly resolved, combined. I liked it, but I had issues with it.
Beware of SPOILERS!
The story begins with Spider-Man chasing down to recover some Oscorp drugs that were being stolen by Aleksei Systevich. This was Spider-man’s first encounter with Max Dillion which resulted in his obsession with the local spider. Coincidentally it happens at the exact time that he and Gwen Stacey are graduating high school and Peter makes it back just in time. Things between Peter and Gwen seem peachy, but her father’s final request still haunts him and the two break up.
Fast forward about a year and we are introduced to Harry Osborn who is now in charge of Oscorp and has a degenerative disorder. Turns out that he was old pals with Peter and they chum it up a bit. Peter is keeping daily tabs on Gwen, until Gwen gives him a call to tell him that she’s going to Oxford. They meet up only for it to be interrupted by Max, now in Electro form who is following the path of electricity to charge himself. It makes him feel better, but it also gives him new abilities, including garnering the attention of the crowd. Spider-Man stops Electro and he goes to Ravencroft.
Harry is dying and he wants Spider-Man’s blood to help save him, but is refused this, sparking his new hatred of Spider-Man. After being framed for Max Dillion’s cover up within Oscorp, he teams up with Electro to bring down Spider-Man and give him the grid. With access to the grid, Electro powers down the entire city. Thankfully, Gwen knows how to turn the grid back on and they use the powered grid to overload Electro. One villain down, but Harry emerges as Green Goblin and steals away with Gwen before dropping her through a building. Peter manages to knock out Harry and shoot his web to catch Gwen, but it wasn’t fast enough.
/End Plot Overview
The Harry and Peter relationship felt far too rushed. In the comics Harry Osborn and Peter Parker are friends in the comics and that makes their relationship interesting. They tried to establish their relationship, but by the time we learned they were friends and were able to digest that fact, Harry was already turning on Spider-Man. And by the end of the film he was lashing out and intentionally trying to hurt Peter. It felt unearned.
In fact, all the rage toward Spider-Man felt unearned in the film. Max went from a solid admirer of Spider-Man to his most hated enemy also in a quick switch. By no action of Spider-Man, Max twisted the public’s appreciation of Spider-Man into what fueled him to destroy him. Yes, Spider-Man forgot his name, at first, but as peter pointed out he looked a lot different. Even still in their encounter, Spider-Man was nothing, but nice and understanding towards Electro. instead he was met with hostility.
Much of the issue I found with the film, wasn’t the storylines they chose to intertwine, but the number and screen time that was devoted to them. it felt very much like there were storylines that were being given equal weight. Each of the story lines contributed, but the Electro or the Green Goblin storyline could have had an entire movie to themselves to really flesh out what was going on with them and their relationship with Spider-Man. I feel that particularly, Green Goblin’s story could have used that as what was happening to him and his transformation into the Green Goblin was expedited. One minute he was Harry Osborn and if you blinked you could have missed his transformation into Green Goblin. By the end of the movie he didn’t even have his ghastly green skin and we had no idea why.
The effects on Electro were very well done. It was a lot of fun to see him draining electricity and wreaking havoc on the area. They allowed him to have the full gamut of Electro tricks. I was almost surprised that they allowed Electro to gain and learn how to use his abilities so quickly. Within moments he was able to figure out how to transform himself into electricity and move intangibly through space. My particular favorite was his ability to singe a hole through people’s chests. That said when it came to him fighting against Spider-Man it seemed foolish that he never went for that trick. he didn’t even attempt it. instead he bounced Spider-Man between the posts to a musical tune. While it added a bit of whimsy, it lessened the threat that Electro actually presented.
The relationship between Gwen Stacey and Peter Parker was another one of the things that was better played out. Sure there was a scene at the Oxford facility that probably could have been left on the cutting floor or reabsorbed into the script in another way. Most of their interactions were rather enjoyable. It was nice to see how she let things play out, knowing that peter had to be out there being Spider-Man and tat meant that she was not his top priority. Even still, she knew that peter would rather leave her than risk her safety. it was nice to see how the two struggled to be with each other. And in the end, exactly what Peter feared ended up happening. he lost Gwen.
As a whole, the movie was rather good with the character moments. Although, the story line about his parents was mostly a dead end. It didn’t add anything to the immediate plot that merited as much time as was spent on it. That said, that story line did lead to a great moment between Aunt May and Peter. The scene as she talked about how much she loved him and about how he was her boy was really great. Just as great as the emotional scene as Peter struggles with the idea that Gwen is dead in his arms. And then the months in which her death immobilizes him. He can’t don the suit while he’s grieving so badly. Which again led to another scene that helped Peter get back in the game. So yes, the movie did some big character moments really well. Enough that I can almost forget about the flip flop nature of the villains.
The movie was book ended by Aleksei Systevich. if you aren’t sure who that is, he’s Rhino. Though in our first encounter with him, he was anything but the Rhino, instead he was just a Russian criminal. In his return he had been outfitted by Harry Osborn with a mechanical Rhino suit. But his re-emergence also was the mark of Peter Parker’s return to the suit.
The Amazing Spider-Man is an enjoyable movie, it’s a good movie. But it isn’t a great movie. it isn’t a movie I’ll be clamoring to see again. It is a movie that I like. If you have an afternoon free and you really like Spider-Man it is an interesting presention of the character. If you expect one of the best superhero movies, or a really high quality super hero movie, you are looking in the wrong place. Instead, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 is just an okay, watchable movie.
What did you think of the movie?
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