The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 PosterRating: ★★½☆☆

What do we get after Sam Raimi’s three “Spider-Man” films released in a span of six years? “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, “The Amazing Spider-Man 3”, “The Amazing Spider-Man 4”, a spin-off starring Venom, a second spin-off about the Sinister Six and probably a TV series, half a dozen video games and a cameo at “Glee”. Cause why the hell not.

As unnecessary as it felt, Marc Webb’s 2012 reboot showed great potential for improvement with its better casting and enhanced special effects, but its chances at soaring was crushed by the bastards at SONY who downsized the elements that really worked in order to structure future installments. And though this scheme has been true to pretty much all the Marvel movies, it is most abused with this reimagining of Spider-Man.

On a positive note, the parallel stories about struggling student and rebellious superhero can be quite compelling; it’s the set-ups in between that ruin the experience.

So the sequel is here, and with a record-setting running time for a Spidey Flick of 142 minutes, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is just a bigger example of what made its predecessor an avoidable disappointment. Unfocused and uneven, the film juggles the contrivances of the mystery behind the fate of Peter’s parents, the planting of characters that would eventually form the Sinister Six, the introduction of Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) as the next plot twist, and a couple other subplots that I either missed or forgotten about.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

What I do recall is my fascination for Oscorp, a multi-billion-dollar corporation that has produced more super villains than my country’s Supreme Court. On the previous “Spider-Man” film, the crippled Dr. Curt Conner morphs into The Lizard in a quest to be whole again. Here, the friendless nerd that is Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) evolves into Electro while the dying Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) decays into the Green Goblin. Does anyone in Oscorp know what a background check is? And why is Gwen Stacy still working there? Did she forget that her co-employee-turned-monster killed her Dad?

Loneliness erupts into violence in Electro, whose bluish glow makes him look like a crossbreed between Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze and the towering blue humanoids in “Avatar”. After plunging into a tank of mutated electric eels (Damn it, Oscorp!), Dillon gains the power to cast explosions of electricity and deliver cheesy one-liners in the process: “It’s my birthday! Time to light my candles!” *Zap, Zap!* Max Dillon’s transformation is rushed by the numerous subplots, making him a stock villain instead of a sympathetic character. He greatly expands the film’s scale (this is the biggest New York production ever), but the action he provides only make a cool trailer, not a captivating film.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy

Notwithstanding, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has strokes of visual excellence, all of which are executed through the abilities of Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) himself. His first appearance, where he swings along New York skyscrapers in POV, evokes genuine exhilaration. The special effects gives weight to Spider-Man’s swift movements, which causes the audience to feel the pull, drag, and momentum in his every swing, then gravity does the rest. Director Mar Webb presents us with the most convincing Spider-Man footage to date, and his skill and enthusiasm is evident. That the scenes of exposition are so dull suggests that Webb himself is restrained by SONY’s intent to stretch the franchise until 2018. At age 30, how long can Garfield continue to play the web-slinger who had just graduated from high school?

Behind all the exposition and special effects is a likeable couple in Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). And of all the onscreen couples in the Marvel universe, the team of Peter and Gwen is the only one that doesn’t feel conventional. Their romance functions as an independent story rather than a device to complete the comic book blueprint. Every time Garfield and Stone share a scene, the film brightens up. Maybe it’s because the two are dating in real life. Maybe it’s because they are younger compared to other Marvel couples and the target audience identifies with them the most. Or maybe it’s because I just find Emma Stone so darn adorable.

Gwen Stacy GIF

Either way, a scene near the end will strike an emotional cord unknown to moviegoers who only watch films in the same wavelength as this one. It’s a brave decision, impressively executed, and it’s the film’s most memorable moment.

So 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” remains to be the best flick of the franchise. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” had the director and actors for second place, but the Hollywood disease has dragged it to a spot only ahead of the embarrassing “Spider-Man 3”. That won’t stop people from buying tickets to it I’m sure, and that’s all fine. I suspect that people will walk in wanting CGI mayhem and walk out asking themselves the question: “When will we get to see a nice little love story starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone?” I know I did.


  1. *Spoiler talk*
    It bothers me that they even included Electro. Green Goblin could have carried the weight himself, because he actually did more damage to Peter than Electro did. And come on, Electro bored me. Sure, his soundtrack and his fight sequences were cool, but that’s it. He’s there to sell the movie, so was Rhino. If I were to super-edit this film, I would remove all mention and all scenes of Electro. It would have been an hour and thirty minutes long, but who the fuck cares? It would have made the movie a lot better. Also, I think you were being too generous. 2.5? I would have given it a 1 because I like Gwen Stacey and Peter Parker’s relationship, it felt so real. But I wouldn’t give even a single star for the fight sequences, no matter how good they are, because it will encourage Sony to do more of the same. Anyway, cheers. Still loved the review, btw. 🙂

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