The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The first Amazing Spider-Man was a love it or hate it movie. It was a huge departure from the Steve Ditko version of Spider-Man but the great thing about Spider-Man is that there are so many alternate versions of him. Unfortunately it was obsessed with trying to be different from the original films and focused on leaving material for sequels. Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t have to compete with the original series because it’s set a different universe for itself. There was an opportunity for improvement but it looks like this series isn’t destined to be amazing.
There are so many problems in the movie and it has too much going on to keep a strong focus. There’s the plot of Harry Osborn trying to save himself from death, there’s Max Dillon and his obsession with Spider-Man, there’s Peter Parker trying to find the truth about his parents and then his relationship problems with Gwen Stacy. The film is trying to go in so many directions and the conclusions to all the stories are pretty lame. There’s absolutely no payoff of the “untold” story of Peter’s parents. It has no absolute meaning to the story nor does it push the story forward. It allows Peter to have conclusion but Peter’s story was never about him & his parents it was about his relationship with Aunt May & Uncle Ben. Ben’s presence isn’t really felt around the film, it seems like Aunt May is plagued more by him than Peter. He’s too worried about his parents and the truth he ends finds out about them is something you could have predicted from a mile away. If you think you have any idea of why they even left or how they’re related to Peter’s life you are most likely correct. Aunt May is reduced to a whiny character. She won’t tell the truth of Peter’s parents because she’s mad at his father because she thinks he’s a traitor? Is she that naive? She’s supposed to be an influential character to Peter and she’s seems like she needs Peter more than he needs her. Sally Field’s Aunt May is probably the worst adaptation of the character.
The whole Peter & Gwen Stacy conflict was another pointless part for the movie. It’s probably the main storyline of the movie but there’s really no conflict. They’re pointlessly arguing and flirting for more than 2 hours straight. Even when they’re hiding at oscorp they have to flirt. The real life couple have have great chemistry together but their story is like listening to your friends’ relationship problems. Their relationship story easily concludes predictably before the climax with only the climax result meaning anything. It really didn’t need all that screen time. The story and its scenes are a big drag. The only payoff from the relationship is in the big finale but at that point, there’s no reason to care. It’s too sappy.
The villains in all the Spider-Man movies have all been lackluster. Unfortunately Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t try capitalize on that. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin was a great characterization of the character and he played it perfectly even if his costume looked outrageous. Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock is really well acted but he’s another tragic schizophrenic like Goblin. His motives aren’t that great either. But Molina is just too good as Doc Ock. But the villains supported Peter’s story so they had some meaning. Amazing Spider-Man had the wonderful Rhys Ifans as The Lizard. Ifans is great as the alter ego of Connors but The Lizard is just a copy of the original twology’s villains. Another schizo with a pointless motive. Even though it’s best off to ignore Spider-Man 3, it had the same problems as Amazing Spider-Man 2 villain wise. The villains are all stupid and underdeveloped and that’s the case with Amazing Spider-Man 2. Amazing Spider-Man 2 also have an overabundance of villains but they’re all pointless characters. Felicia Hardy (Black Cat) is an assistant at oscorp, she’s pretty much useless in the movie. Allister Smythe is a douchebag boss who’s only in the beginning. Then there’s the Doctor Octopus & Vulture costumes in a lab. The identity of the mysterious man is revealed from the first movie and he’s not even a Spider-Man villain. So his identity won’t matter to casual fans. We also get to see Rhino pre costume in the beginning and then again at the end. Paul Giamatti was such an awful choice for the character. Paul Giamatti doesn’t work as a crazy eccentric bad guy ever. The main villains are Harry Osborn as Green Goblin & Electro. As villains they’re pretty terrible and have the cliche team up of bringing down the hero. Harry gets a little bit more of an exploration than Max Dillon. Max Dillon is portrayed as a weird nobody that loves Spider-Man. Most of his scenes of him being weird are hilarious but when he becomes Electro he’s just mad at life and wants to cause chaos. He has a one and done fight scene with Spider-Man in times square where he just comes off as a moron. There’s no depth to Electro besides the fact he’s a mentally ill guy. He constantly sputters mumbo jumbo all throughout the movie. It’s like dude, shut the hell up. Not to mention the character isn’t original at all, it’s another “oh my superhero broke my heart and now i’ll be a villain” type of character. Except the movie doesn’t even try to capitalize on that. Once he becomes bad that’s it. The conclusion to his arc has no merit. It’s even worse than Batman Forever’s Riddler. Electro has no influence on Spider-Man except being a bad guy to fight. Jaimie Foxx does the best he can with the script but it’s hard to get over how cartoony Electro is.
Harry Osborn’s story a bit more tragic. He suffers from a curse that causes everyone in the family to turn into Goblins & die. A tad silly but that’s fine. Minor quip. His whole story is him trying to find out to survive. The relationship between Harry & Peter felt a little weak though. The Norman Osborn of this universe is hardly in there and it’s sad because Chris Cooper is just as talented as Willem Dafoe. Since Harry is destined to be main Green Goblin of this universe, it feels like a missed opportunity. He seems like a good kid but Dane Dehaan just plays him like a creep from beginning to end. He doesn’t feel like a real human being at all and I don’t think that was the point either. He seems to have a conscious (kind of?) till he becomes Green Goblin and becomes a generic bad guy. He’s so easily willing to turn on his friend. He only has one scene as the Green Goblin and it’s a really short forgettable fight scene. The problem with the villains in this is that they’re silly and useless. They serve no purpose till the very end. They feel like an after thought.
The problem with the movie isn’t it’s multiple plot points. Its the refusal to develop & keep them interesting. Marc Webb’s talented direction from (500) Days of Summer seems missing, it seems like a studio film and Webb is the pawn. By the end, it seems like Sony was just trying to create as much as they can for future movies. They have no care for the character. Spider-Man is hardly in the movie, he’s just a costume on Peter. The Peter in this is different from the comics but there’s no difference between him and his alter ego. Spider-Man is exactly the same as Peter. Andrew Garfield comes off a lot better under the mask than his Peter Parker. It’s not his fault but his Peter Parker is a total bore. His acting works well for Spider-Man but his Peter Parker is the same thing. The movie doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man film at all until the end fight scenes. The movie feels like a teen drama featuring Spider-Man. It has none of the characteristics that make the comic interesting. The movie also falls flat on humor too. The action sequences are bore and feel like video game boss battles. There’s absolutely no creativity and the score is disappointing as well. Hans Zimmer is good at scoring epic films and his Batman score was very enjoyable but his Spider-Man score is really generic. It’s just a big of a bore as the movie.
Amazing Spider-Man 2’s faults don’t start from it’s departure from the comics but its weak script. It’s full of cliches and forgettable sequences. The love story is a giant PDA for the real life couple and none of the plot points have any merits. The characterizations are all terrible and the only likable characters are Gwen & Peter. Even Aunt May is reduced to a joke. The villains are downright terrible and the last scene in the movie will make you cringe. Amazing Spider-Man 2 feels like a cash cow for the studio rather an actual sequel. It’s a film with no point and puts itself in the list of bad superhero movies. It’s a shame especially with an improving cast that they decided to derail the series before it even began.