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Old May 3 2014, 04:31 PM   #30
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Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Grading & Discussion

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a really frustrating movie because all of the Peter Parker/Spider-Man moments are all fantastic. As a Spider-Man fan, it was great to see Spider-Man move like he does in the comics, to have the sense of comic timing and wit like he does in the comics, etc. I would agree with those that say this movie nails Spider-Man like no other movie does. That's honestly very true. The moments when Spider-Man is swinging around New York were phenomenal and truly captured the essence of Spider-Man.

However, with that said, whenever the film dovetails into the villains... it becomes truly awful. Like Joel Schumacher/Batman Forever bad. Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan are absolutely wasted as Electro and Green Goblin. Foxx's whole "No one notices me" shtick was just handled so poorly - it reminded me of Jim Carrey's Riddler in Batman Forever and that's not even remotely a good thing. What's worse is that even when he becomes Electro he's a very cool villain in a visual sense but adds very little to the story. I get what they were trying to do with the under appreciated angle but it was very thinly written and made Electro come off to be a very underwhelming villain. As for Harry Osborn/Green Goblin, while I liked DeHaan in parts he was completely over-the-top in others. It was a very uneven performance and what's worse he only becomes the Green Goblin for like three minutes and he's obviously there as a plot device to do-you-know-what. The same can be said for Paul Giamatti as Rhino - he's absolutely wasted here. I am assuming he's coming back for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 or The Sinister Six but the previews basically just spoiled his entire screen-time in the film. Good job, marketing campaign.

The whole Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy stuff is really good as well. Andrew Garfield & Emma Stone still have remarkable chemistry which made the ending that much more tragic... even though Gwen's fate was telegraphed so damn badly from the very beginning, down to Gwen's expository "immortal" valedictorian speech to Captain Stacy constantly appearing and driving the point home that something bad is probably going to happen. Gwen's fate would probably have been more tragic/dramatic if the writers didn't basically hint at that almost constantly throughout the movie. I will say, though, that the stuff with Peter's parents was well done. The moment where Peter learns about his father, Richard Parker, was handled well if a bit on-the-nose and expository. However, I was glad Webb and the writers expounded upon this because I felt it was something seriously lacking in the previous movie. It's not like the movie is a total mess - Webb manages to deliver some great moments but doesn't know how to string them together to tell a cohesive story.

Beyond that, the movie is visually gorgeous. The action is spectacular and it's all pretty to look at. Marc Webb nails the Spider-Man parts but doesn't understand how to structure a story or script - although I guess you could blame the writers, Orci & Kurtzman, for that. In some cases it is better than The Amazing Spider-Man but others it is on par if not worse. I'm not sure what bothered me more, though - the overabundance of characters or how they are so obviously trying to set up more films such as The Sinister Six that it genuinely takes away from this film's story. It felt like in some areas like I was watching a preview for The Sinister Six in the same way I felt like I was watching a preview for The Avengers while I was watching Iron Man 2. This is why I am worried for Zack Snyder's Batman/Superman movie.

All in all, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is enjoyable but very forgettable and entertaining on a surface level... but that's it. It was like Marc Webb listened to the complaints that the last movie was too serious & dour and tried to lighten things up for this one... but instead of trying to make it more of a comic-book movie, he made it outright cartoon-ish. To me that makes me think Webb doesn't quite understand what makes a good comic-book movie work (not all comic-book movies need to be dark & serious like The Dark Knight or light & fluffy like the Fantastic Four movies - the Marvel Studios movies have nailed the approach perfectly). Oh, well. This doesn't really instill me with any hope for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 although The Sinister Six could be interesting if anything because Drew Goddard is a great writer/director.
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