We've always known that Spider-Man's most important conflict has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that his greatest battle is about to begin. It's great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there's no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp. Directed by Marc Webb. Produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach. Screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner. Screen... Written by
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Two display cases in Oscorp feature a set of metal wings, and an exoskeleton holding four arms. These are homages to Spider-Man's antagonists the Vulture (Adrian Toomes) and Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius). See more »
This Spider-Man is indeed amazing - But the web spun around it feels clumsy
This Spider-Man is indeed amazing, but the web spun around the film is somewhat clumsy, with too many fuzzy strands to do the wall crawler justice.
Okay, now that the obligatory Spidey metaphor is out of the way - Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in my opinion stronger than it's predecessor but falls far short of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 benchmark. Might not be a fair comparison though since I still contend that Raimi's Spider-Man 2 is in my top 5 comic book films of all time. Garfield is cutting the perfect figure as the web slinger and sharing an infectious on screen chemistry with Emma Sone as Gwen Stacey.
But my beef with this films lays with two main problems - the writers and the director. Sure, there was some bad acting as well, but I believe that was due to the script the actors were handed.
Let me say, I enjoyed this film, in fact I really enjoyed this film but I do have to talk about the parts that I didn't enjoy first so I can get to the good stuff later.
Okay so problem number one, the writing in this film is bad, like blatantly bad. I mean, they nailed Spideys comic-book-perfect sarcasm but other than that.. nope not cutting it. I looked the writers up on IMDb to see the rest of credits... mystery solved! It's scripted by the same duo behind the Transformers franchise - suddenly it's shortcomings become more understandable. Kurtzman and Orci are masters of ''whizz-bang'' ''oohs'' and ''aahs'' shoehorned into a mechanical plot provided to advance the story but nothing more. All the baddie origins here make you wistful for the Sandman creation sequence in Spider-Man 3, which isn't something I thought I'd ever say. Electro is lumbered with a shockingly clichéd birth with Foxx struggling (and failing) to make him anything more than the film's time bomb to be diffused. The electric effects are great though if that makes up for anything, and his face-offs with Spidey really do pop.
Problem number two is that of director Marc Webb - Webb struggles to maintain a coherent tone, often veering between hyper-real CGI mayhem and soft-focus Twilight-esque teen dreaminess. This is what really threw me off - one second you're watching this great spectacle of an action scene, and then within literally seconds the scene along with the dialogue turns to this really cheesy nonsensical Twilight-esque love scene but with Garfield in tights. I guess the best way to describe it would be like squinting to focus your eyes all the elements are there but you just can't quite see them all at once. You could tell the film is designed to attract audiences of all demographics, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing - if only it didn't make everything feel shoehorned in. It basically struggles to be it's own thing, even if Raimi's incarnation weren't to your taste, the films did clearly have a defined style that made them distinctive.
I feel kind of like saying more would spoil the film and it's still good enough to avoid doing that.
Aaand finally we get to the things I liked about the film, credit where credit is due.
This Spidey flick does go places that the previous incarnation shied away from and even tweaks the tear ducts ever so slightly at points. Comic-book fans will certainly be pleased to see some elements - Spidey's sarcasm - be more in line with the comic books.
The film opens with public support growing in the web heads favor as Parker graduates high school and starts college. However, Spider-Man finds himself up against a new foe - Electro played by Jamie Foxx. Meanwhile the return of his childhood friend Harry Osborn played by Dane DeHaan threatens to throw his life into even further chaos. As to be expected, cue plenty of plot twists that anyone with half a brain could see coming from a mile away and mayhem on a city-wide scale. You certainly can't fault it for its scope.
People have been so scared of the amount of villains in the film, pretty much everyone I know was expecting another Spider-Man 3 fiasco but I have to say, the clutter of villains is actually more about setting up spin-offs and further sequels than overcrowding. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the villains work though they are hampered by mechanical plotting which of course leads back to the writing that also holds Webb's film back from really hitting the heights it could've.
At least Webb and the writers do wrap up and tie a bow on the somewhat irritating parents-as-spy-scientists story thread, thankfully not robbing Peter of his ''ordinary Joe'' back story as the first film threatened to do. With the past dealt with, you realize how much time has been spent on it and with the middle of the film getting dangerously close to being boring. This is especially frustrating when we're rushed into the final reel, ruing the lack of time for stronger character work that could have made the ensuing drama even more impactive.
As the credits roll, the exciting action and Spidey's comic-book-perfect sarcasm stay longest in the mind, just winning the day, along with Garfield and Stone's genuinely effective relationship. It's just a shame they're not better served by a film that isn't the sum of its often- inspired parts.
But here's the big question - If you find yourself standing at your cinema with a choice between The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America 2, Marvel still triumphs in my opinion. Spidey is always worth watching though and admittedly did leave me with a desire to see more.
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