“You mean the guy who tried to turn all of New York into lizards?”
Let’s just get this out of the way: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is this year’s Man of Steel. People either seem to love it, or they seem to absolutely hate it. The Rotten Tomatoes scores between the two seem to back my claim. And against all odds, this sequel is not only entertaining as hell, but it thankfully manages to top the previous two Spider-Man films and even rival the first two, in terms of quality. So even though I didn’t love it, I clearly lean more towards that opinion than the latter. That isn’t to say that there are some glaring flaws, however.
I hate to beat a dead horse, but Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry here and director Marc Webb continues to impress with this story aspect, thanks to his background with “rom-coms” such as (500) Days of Summer. Some of their dialogue seems forced and the whole stalker aspect was a bit odd, but you’d be lying if you didn’t think these two aren’t great together onscreen.
Another actor who stood out here was Dane DeHaan as Peter’s long-time friend, Harry Osborn. I won’t discuss how he factors into the story too much, but I’ll just say that this isn’t the Harry that you saw in Sam Raimi’s films. This one is much creepier and in-control, which I liked a lot. He’s much better than James Franco was, that’s for sure.
What I usually like about this franchise is how the films’ villains seem to follow a common theme, depending on the movie. Later in the movie when Harry confronts Electro to team-up (cliche alert), he tells him that they have both been “shoved aside” by everyone and that he knows what it feels like to not be cared about. They both feel alone and rejected in the world and want to be seen better. Now, I’m not sure if it was DeHaan’s acting or what, but this scene to me proved that the films’ villains had the potential to be the best that the franchise had to offer. Sadly, that isn’t the case. The reason: Electro.
Performance-wise, Jamie Foxx does his best with what he’s given and actually has a few bad-ass lines here in there, but his character has no arc. Actually, he falls into the same trap that Guy Pearce‘s character from Iron Man 3 fell into: there’s no true motive behind his madness. I can’t help but feel like this was Sony’s fault because I remember reading somewhere that Webb stated that this was “Electro’s story” and that he was the main attraction, but for anyone who’s seen the movie, you know that’s not the case. He’s largely forgotten about halfway through and I wouldn’t be surprised if when all’s said and done, he has less than a half-an-hour of screen-time. This was probably the biggest disappointment to me because his character showed promise and I actually cared about him.
Not only that, but everything starts feeling rushed and tacked-on at the end. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the last act of the movie, but I can’t help but feel as if they could have save some aspects for future films, especially Harry’s arc. Unless you’ve been one of the lucky few who haven’t been bombarded with the non-stop trailers and footage for the film, you know what Harry becomes towards the end, and in all honesty, this could have been saved for an after-credits scene and the filmmakers could have actually focused on Electro instead. Oh well.
Besides that gripe, I don’t think much else stood out negatively in this film. Some of the music choices were corny and there are some Schumacher-esque lines of dialogue here and there, but this film gets a lot right. This installment feels much more like a “Spider-Man” film than its predecessor, which felt like it was trying too hard to follow in the footsteps of The Dark Knight Trilogy. Hans Zimmer‘s score isn’t phenomenal, but it works well here, the action set-pieces are for the most part well-done and I actually didn’t hate The Rhino like I expected. Oh, and I loved the last scene of the film. A lot.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rights most of the wrongs of the first installment in this rebooted series, but it still seems to have a hard time finding its footing when it comes to its selection of villains. But, they’ve got the right tone and the right cast locked down. Now, it wasn’t quite amazing like the title suggests, but it’s pretty damn good.
“Let’s go catch a spider.”
– Score Sheet –
*The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is better than ever
*DeHaan steals the show as Harry Osborn
*The Times Square set-piece is very impressive
*Climatic fight between the Green Goblin and Spider-Man was intense
*Phenomenal last scene
*Electro is sadly wasted here
*The opening action sequence with Rhino is way too silly
*The “untold story” about Peter’s parents really wasn’t that interesting
4 out of 5