The Amazing Spider-Man 2 tells the journey of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues as he battles a new range of villains and struggles to keep with romantic relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) alive.
I think the previous film was a very good film; the film had some plot holes and it could be overly sentimental at points but I found myself rather entertained by the cool visual effects and the great performances. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it one of the best blockbusters of 2012 but the film was thoroughly fun and found a way to add some heart as well.
I should cut to the chase; this movie is a complete train wreck. The film piles itself with countless storylines and puts it all together with terrible editing and emotionless direction and writing. This movie is terrible and I can only hope that this film is the beginning of the end for the comic book movie style that has been worked over the past several years. If Thor 2 showed how bland and lifeless the formula had become and Captain America 2 showed how a great idea could be burnt by the formula, then Spiderman 2 shows the formula at its dumbest point plain and simple. I didn’t hate this movie as much as Thor 2 (a film which after much consideration probably would’ve made my top ten worst of 2013 list) but the film certainly fails at more than Thor 2 for better and for worse.
The performances were the best aspect of the first film with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone having great chemistry and featuring the additional feature of a slew of solid supporting performances. The performances of the previous film that worked aren’t exactly suddenly terrible in this film, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield are still solid actors and Sally Field has the best scene in the movie in a moment that was somewhat touching and throughout she is the only one who’s performance comes off as entirely successful. In fact the film casts some pretty great actors for this film to play the new characters (Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti). But the films screenplay is so bad and there is so much stuff happening in this film that the performances for the most part fall flat despite the best intentions of the cast to do a good job. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have an on and off relationship that shifts gears so much throughout that I could care less. Andrew Garfield is forced to do these terrible moments of slap stick humor which fall flat. Emma Stone does a good job but her character was very important and creative in the previous one and in this film she is reduced to a terrible romantic plot line which was really disappointing seeing how the character of Gwen Stacy was another one of the best aspects of the previous film.
Dane Dehaan plays Harry Osborne, the son of the rich industrial organization Oscorp founder Norman Osborne. In trying to do something different with the company, Harry becomes an even bigger monster than his father. The problem with the character isn’t anything to do with Dehaan’s performance which I found to be pretty dimensional for the first three acts but rather with how the movie handles the character. Everything point the character arc feels rushed and everything going on with Harry leads to a finale which destroys the credibility of Dehaan’s performance and leads the character to a point where you could care less about his transition all because it was done so poorly and with so little heart and will to do so.
Jamie Foxx plays Electro, a man built from the evil darkness of the company into a monster hell bound on killing his creator, he also happens to the worst parts of this story. He is so useless to this movie that had his character been cut out, it would not only have been unnoticeable but the film probably would’ve been better. The awkwardness and geekiness of the character before becoming Electro is camped up to a point of being unrealistic and unrelatable. The change in the character half way through is poorly explained and out of character. And the conclusion to the characters arc is about as horrendous as you can make it as the film seems to simply make the character disappear with the emotion and buildup of a minion in a 70’s karate film, because you know, that character didn’t take up a little less than half of the running time.
It’s also worth mentioning that Paul Giamatti and Marton Csokas give the worst performances in the movie. Paul is playing the Russian bad guy Rhino at the start and end of the movie and Marton plays the German doctor torturing Electro. They are both clearly camping up there characters but in doing so they destroy any resemblance of seriousness in the scenes that they are featured in. In some moments that are supposed to be taken seriously, I couldn’t help but laugh at how poorly placed and stupid there performances felt.
The writing is terrible as well as the editing and many of the technical aspects. The film is at the same time way too commercial and way too cluttered for any of the characters to seem likable or for any of storylines to feel successful. Many would call what the film does in having so many storylines rather brave and ambitious but there are some cases in which a film is less that and more foolish. Did the writers and directors seriously believe that they had the talent to take on so many storylines in one film? The films writing ranges from bland, flat and stereotypical to cluttered, jagged and laughable and by the end I could care less about what was an admittedly well shot and well executed plot twist. Not to mention, the film still falls on the superhero stereotypes of the past several years and in doing so it adds this larger sense of the feeling that maybe the writers and directors didn’t even care about making a bold and epic Spiderman film. Of course the film features countless plot holes in the story but by the end that was far from the worst thing about this awful screenplay.
There isn’t much too really be said about the direction for many of the Marvel films. The action is meh and the visual effects are good. The direction is about as average as you can make and it is clear director Marc Webb went into this movie with little mindset to add anything lacking with commercialism to his filmmaking. The music ranges from ok to some of the worst I’ve heard in a movie in a long time in a scene with Electro that has a song that has to be one of the most unintentionally hysterical musical moments in a film in years.
Every once in a while you’ll get an interesting aspect to the film but the film basically ruins all the momentum the franchise had going for it. Close to all the storylines are cluttered and or laughable and by the end you will care less about what is going on. The characters are flat and inconsistent. And worse of all the films writing and performances end up feeling stupid for lack of a better word through unintentional tonal shifts. If Desolation of Smaug showed everything that can go wrong with making a really long movie with no real story than Amazing Spiderman 2 showed everything that can go wrong if you have too much story. I really wanted to enjoy this movie but so much goes blatantly wrong that it’s to ignore what I feel makes this one of the worst movies of the year so far.
Review by: Ryan M.
Release Date: 4/4/2014
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti and Sally Field
Directed by: Marc Webb
Screenplay by: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner
Based on the Comic Book by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko