‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ Review

Posted: April 19, 2014 in Movie reviews
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Hey everyone. I just got back from seeing the latest superhero film from Marvel studios, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. The sequel to the 2011 reboot of Spider-man. Here’s my review:

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ follows Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) as he continues to fight crime as the Spider-Man all around New York City. Whilst this is going on, he is also trying to dig deeper into the conspiracy of his late parents, which leads him to the mysterious company Oscorp. This journey ends up with Oscorp sending up a slew of super-villains against him, including Electro (Jamie Foxx) and the Green Goblin A.K.A. Harry Osbourne (Dane DeHaan) which impact on his superhero life as Spider-Man and his ordinary life as Peter Parker.

First off, I’d like to mention that I was not a fan of the original ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2011). I felt that it was a poorly executed reboot that was hardly ‘Amazing’. Sure there were elements of the film that were good, for example, Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone) was incredible. But the film seemed to be revisiting the same plot points from the original 2002 Spider-Man film directed by Sam Raimi. So going in to this film, I didn’t know what to expect, and overall whilst it’s certainly not as good as the original ‘Spider-Man 2’ sequel (2004) and it has lot of flaws, it’s a lot better than it’s predecessor.

The film is a real mixed bag, because there were elements of the film I really liked, and elements that I didn’t like.

Okay, so what’s good about this film? Well firstly the effects and action are a lot better this time round. The fight scenes between Electro and Spider-Man are handled very well and are a joy to watch. True the action isn’t always as good as it could be as some action scenes don’t last as long as they should, but still they are handled a lot better than before. The acting was also great, Andrew Garfield was great as Spider-Man, he has so much enthusiasm and energy when he’s on screen. Emma Stone was of course wonderful as Gwen Stacey and I was also really impressed by Dane DeHaan as Harry Osbourne. When I first saw the trailer for this film, I didn’t know what to think of his performance, but now that I’ve seen the final film, I can tell you that he does a great job at portraying the villainous (But also fairly sympathetic) Harry.

There was also some good humour in this film, with Spider-Man spurting out numerous funny catchphrases and references to the original comic book (His mobile phone ring tone is the original Spider-Man theme song. How awesome is that?). Director Mark Webb has done a great job mixing humour and drama in this film, at one moment the film was making me chuckle repeatedly and the other it was making me a little teary eyed.

But for me the highlight of the film was Gwen Stacey. She is just an AMAZING character. She’s not a damsel in distress, she has more brains than Spider-Man, she’s not afraid to admit how she feels, and she has real ambition. It is revealed that she has the opportunity to pursue a scholarship to Oxford University, and therefore she decides to leave New York City and move to England to pursue her dream. I really like how strong she is, she’s not going to wait for Peter to make the next move in their relationship, she decides what she wants to do. She’s also a very likeable and supportive character, in fact I’d go as far to say that she is probably the best supporting female character I’ve seen in any superhero film.

Speaking of which, Gwen and Peter also share some great scenes together. The chemistry between these two is wonderful and you do believe that they are truly in love and trying to fix their on and off again relationship. Although I must admit, when Peter admits that he’s been following Gwen every day just so he can feel close to her… it’s kind of creepy. I know it’s meant to be seen as charming and heartfelt, but I certainly didn’t feel that. The idea of a Spider-Man following Gwen around everywhere she goes…. Creepy!

Okay, now it’s time to talk about what I didn’t like about this film. Firstly the villains, while well acted, are badly written and very cliched. Electro in particular really annoyed me. He is first seen as Max Dillon, a very stereotypical nerd who is super obsessive over Spider-Man. While Electro certainly looked impressive, his personality and back story was anything but. I know we were meant to feel sorry for him, but I just found him to be an irritating pest. True the scene were he declares vengeance on Spider-Man is done very well, but overall I just felt that he needed to be less annoying and more complex. The Green Goblin, while handled a lot better than Electro is given far too little screen time, he appears in the third act for about 5 minutes. Maybe if he was the main villain, this film could have been better. Osbourne is dying, and he thinks that blood from Spider-Man is the only thing the can save him. That alone could have been reason for him to be the main villain of this film. But instead we are left with the annoying Electro.

One of the many things I hated about ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ (2011) was the sub-plot about Peter’s parents. It didn’t add anything to the story and it seemed that the writers didn’t really know what to do with it. In this film, we return to that sub-plot as we spend a bit of time discovering a big conspiracy between Peter’s parents and Oscorp… Too long! I felt so bored watching this mystery unfold. I didn’t enjoy watching it before and I didn’t enjoy watching it now. It was an element of the story that I’m not really sure anyone really wanted to see. When seeing a Spider-Man movie, I don’t think we expect to watch a boring, underwhelming conspiracy about two uninteresting characters unfold. I’d have rather spent time dealing with Peter’s struggle to balance his life between Spider-Man and Peter Parker, but that never happens. For example Peter mentions that he goes to college, but we never seem him attend. He briefly mentions that he has a job at the Daily Bugle, but we never see him enter the building or meet with his employer J. Jonah Jameson. I’d have rather watched these sub-plots rather than focus on this uninteresting conspiracy.

Sadly my biggest problem with the film is quite a big one… The story. Not to say that some parts aren’t done well, they are, it’s just that I feel that this film’s story lacked a clear structure and narrative. If someone had to ask me what the main plot of this film was, I’m not sure what I’d say. At times the film lacked focus, there were one too many villains and one too many sub-plots. Some scenes really dragged and added no purpose and some scenes were not as fleshed out as they could have been. I feel that the whole film was building to the heartbreaking climax, which I can’t talk about without spoiling the film, so all I’ll say is that it was very emotional and very well done. But aside from that, I’m not sure the film knew what direction it wanted to take. There is also a lot of sequel baiting in this film which leads to a cool, but annoying ending. Again, I can’t talk about it without spoiling the story, but all I’ll say is that you may feel a touch let down when the credits roll.

So overall, while there were a lot of good things about this film, I feel that the issues of the film do really let it down. True when the film is good, it’s really good, but I just think that the story needed more focus. Still, I do recommend this film as there is a lot to admire and enjoy.

It’s a lot better than it’s 2011 predecessor, and while it certainly isn’t as ‘Amazing’ as it could have been, it’s still a fun, enjoyable web-slinging ride.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Reviewed and written by Nick Zabierek

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