The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Not so ‘amazing’ after all
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Movie Review
Mark Webb’s second instalment of the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ looks like a comic book, but lacks the cohesive storyline present in the comics. The plot is web-like as it is chaotic and solely designed to lead up to the ‘Sinister Six’ and this leads to the other strands of the web being scrappy. This films boasts poor dialogue and sloppy writing which hinders the development of the villains, which is one of the biggest flaws this film had. The only redeeming feature of the film is Garfield’s embodiment of Spider-Man. Unfortunately, even this cannot save the film from its confused nature.
The things that work for this film, little things, should be commended. The nature of Spider-Man films revolve around the idea of it being a comic book movie through and through. By this I mean that CGI is used in abundance and it’s OK as Spider-Man isn’t supposed to be ‘real’ or grounded. In this sense, Webb uses CGI and slo-mo effectively to deliver aesthetically pleasing action scenes. It look and feels like a comic book and this is welcomed. With this being said, like films such as ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Transformers‘ the slick action scenes become incredibly dull and monotonous. Seeing Spidy swing through Manhattan from a first person perspective is a nice touch but gets repetitive and boring very quickly. I was hoping for some variation in the manner of which Spidey was shooting his webs, but it was all too familiar. With this in mind, the film is a weak sequel as it offers the same action and doesn’t expand upon it like a good sequel should. Another issue I had with the film is that all the major action scenes were revealed in the trailer and this left for very little new action content to be brought in. All the action ‘money’ shots were revealed in the trailer, such as Electro’s Times Square battle and this capped off my excitement. I felt I knew what was going to happen next and how it was going to turn out and this was all because of the clumsy attitude of the studios who released all their prime material in the trailer.
One thing that was unquestionably good was Garfield’s portrayal of Spider-Man. I truly believe Garfield has nailed the character to a T, he has encapsulated the humour and emotion into the role. I would go as far as to say that Garfield is a better Spider-Man than Maguire was because Garfield’s incarnation of Spider-Man is very reminiscent of the comics. I like this element of the reboot, it has capitalised on the nature of the comic books and created a more likeable and engaging Spider-Man. However, just because the Spider-Man was good, it doesn’t mean the film was good. In order to make a good, let alone great comic book movie every hero must have an equally challenging adversary. The greatest comic book films are the ones with great villains, Loki, the Joker and Bane. Unfortunately, this film is shy of a good villain despite it’s selection of three. All of the villains are uninteresting and incredibly generic and this hampers the great portrayal of Spider-Man.
Spider-Man 3’s greatest flaw was it’s copious amount of villains as none were developed properly. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffers from the same illness, all villains (the Rhino, Electro and the Green Goblin) are underdeveloped and uninteresting. I suspect this defect is mainly present in the Spider-Man comics as the hero has a vast array of villains to choose from, so much so that the writers desperately attempt to fit as much in as possible. But I say, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. No comic book film has successfully merged two villains, bar The Dark Knight. There is a reason for this, it is hard to do so. The writers for this film have been arrogant in assuming their script explores each villain effectively, it doesn’t. The ‘Green Goblin’ is only present to promote the studios agenda of setting up the ‘Sinister Six’. Dane DeHaan is a fair Harry Osbourne, but the transition into the Goblin is abysmal and incredibly implausible. If the writers of the film are trying to tell me Spider-Man’s arch nemesis is born due to the fact that Spider-Man refused to donate blood, then I want out of this franchise. The Goblin is not intimidating whatsoever, he lacks the mental instability that William Defoe expertly explored. The Goblin isn’t the only underdeveloped villain, we still have two pathetic villains to mention. Jamie Foxx’s casting as Electro confused me, but after watching this I was left with the deeper question – ‘why was Electro even in this at all?’. The answer to this is that Electro was in it to set up the Goblin who was to set up the ‘Sinister Six’. This supports my claim that the plot is web-like and at the hub is the intention to create the ‘Sinister Six’ but the strands surrounding it which encompass the villains are weak. Electro is underdeveloped and his origin is even more ludicrous as he suffers from the ‘nobody likes me’ complex. However silly Spider-Man 3 was, it has one thing up on this rendition of Spider-Man and that is that the villains in Raimi’s film had solid origin stories, this doesn’t whatsoever. Electro’s fight scenes look pretty, but apart from he is useless and is an empty villain to whom I have no engagement with. The poor script is partly to blame as Electro boasts ridiculous one liners such as ‘Let’s go catch a Spider’ and this cheesy villain reminded me of Dr. Freeze from Joel Schumacher’s 1997 ‘Batman and Robin’. The lack of development doesn’t stop there, Rhino suffers the same treatment as the Goblin as in his purpose is to set up the ‘Sinister Six’. I truly felt the film neglected the importance of villains and added quantity rather than quality. Making a sequel just to accommodate the third film is risky and the risk didn’t pay off as the sequel parades undeveloped villains who have a non-existent presence.
I would argue that the only thing this film has going for it is the romance that ensues between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Marc Webb should be commended for his talent to produce a solid romance. This film does that. The pair have a plausible chemistry and this is blatantly aided by their real life, off-screen romance. At times I truly felt the romance was more entertaining to watch than the action scenes with the lifeless villains. However, even the romance between the two is flawed. Their relationship oscillates far too frequently between love and dislike, at times this is distracting and frustrating. I felt I had seen it all before in the first movie. On a side note, this sequel did drag up far too much from it’s predecessor. For example, I didn’t see the necessity to resurrect the storyline involving Peter’s parents, sure it added to the plot but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that important and it felt like deja vu. This problem was also prominent in the relationship, certain events were pointless and forced just to move the plot along and thus there was no real consistency. The film feels forced, be it the romance or villains. I got the sense that everything in the film was a plot device, nothing progressed the plot naturally, it was too orchestrated. The film indulges in overkill, far too much action (repetitive action), too many villains and generic romance story. This being said, the execution of the love story supersedes any other element of the film.
There are other things that didn’t work for me in this film, for example, they brushed over the Daily Bugle and that would have been an interesting side plot to accommodate certain events in the film. I found that the soundtrack and score didn’t work for this film, it was too inconsistent. At times there was melodic violins playing in the background which changed to dub step and hi-fi animations. I felt the film didn’t capitalise on what worked in the first Amazing Spider-Man and instead it succumbed to the same formula and thus it isn’t a worthy sequel as it failed to build upon what made the first one good.
Overall, the ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is pretty to look at but aggravating to watch as a movie. It’s bloated and serves one purpose; to set-up the ‘Sinister Six’. To make a sequel just to make another one is a recipe for disaster, especially when it is crammed with undeveloped villains who have no purpose other to push the ploddy plot along. The film’s redeeming quality are the characters of Spidey and Gwen, but even this is fruitless in light of the poor script. One word to sum up this movie; overkill.