The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Review
Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can.
Amazing Spider-Man is the follow up film to 2012′s, Amazing Spider-Man and sees the return of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spiderman. I was a massive fan of the previous Spidey film and praised Andrew’s performance as both Peter and the web-slinger. He nailed something in the character that I felt like Tobey McGuire was missing in his performances in the original three films. We get that solid character and performance continued on in the second Amazing film and he continues to show that he has acting chops.
WARNING: Spoilers are in-bound. Use your Spidey Senses at your own discretion.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with a pretty hectic scene revolving around the disappearance of Richard, and Mary Parker whom are Peter’s parents. They’re aboard a private jet which is then hijacked by an assassin obviously sent from Oscorp, but Richard succeeds in sending out information that we learn about later on in the film. With the pilot dead the plane crashes and we can safely assume that both Richard and Mary are killed upon impact. Even though this scene doesn’t exactly explain much it was still a nice little thing for myself as a viewer to witness. However, I wouldn’t be entirely disappointed if it was cut from the final product.
Fast forward to present day and Peter is still taking down baddies as Spider-Man. We then have him chase after one of the cooler Spider-Man villains, Aleksei Systevich/The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) who is attempting to steal a truck packed full of plutonium. Which I believe is a key ingredient in making nuclear bombs or something destructive like that. During this high-speed chase, Spidey saves a bumbling, apparently mentally unstable Oscorp employee by the name of Max Dillon (who would later become the film’s titular villain, Electro played by Jamie Foxx) which sort of sets up an encounter later on in the movie. While doing all these shenanigans he’s also on the phone with his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in which he sees a “vision” of her father George Stacy (Dennis Leary) who died at the end of the first film. This reminds Peter that he made a promise to George to keep Gwen out of his life as Spider-Man. This causes the couple to break up.
While I admit the relationship aspect of this film was sort of meh, it is an integral part of Peter’s story in the comics regarding the story between him and Gwen Stacy, so I can see that it needed to be played out. We then have an introduction of yet another character with Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) whom was a child-hood friend of Peter’s and has returned to New York City to see his terminally ill father, Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) to which he explains his illness is hereditary and that poor Harry is at the age in which it begins to develop. He gives Harry a small device which he explains contain his life’s work, and the following day he dies leaving Harry the now acting CEO of Oscorp.
Gears begin to turn, things are set into motion, and my worry of multiple villains being introduced starts to show.
We are then thrown right into a scene where Max whom now idolizes Spider-Man, and believes that they are friends is tending to some equipment in one of Oscorp’s laboratories and falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels. The eels then begin to attack Max savagely, and he begins to mutate into a living electric generator and cause the birth of Electro. So, here is the third and main villain finally starting to pop up in the film. Things are moving pretty fast plot-wise, but I’m still hooked.
Let’s get back to the relationship sub-plot with Gwen and Peter. I have to throw this out there though. This relationship/chemistry is definitely easier to handle and watch unlike in the original films between Tobey and Kirsten Dunst. So, we learn that Gwen is thinking of going to England for school which obviously looks like it stuns Peter and upsets him. Before they can fully talk about the situation Electro ends up in Times Square and causes a scene. This in turn causes Peter to suit up and go handle the situation in the best way we can.
When Peter arrives as Spider-Man we see that police are preparing to fire on Electro if he does anything. As Spider-Man is attempting to calm him down the police open fire on Electro who loses his temper and attack the police. Spider-Man eventually beats Electro and he’s quickly shipped off to Ravencroft which is a type of prison for the mentally ill. This is where we get the first glimpse of how Electro is what you’d call a “tragic villain” and it’s not his fault he’s insane. He’s got some kind of mental illness that causes him to lash out and get angry. He just wants people to know who he is.
I really like how they made Electro look in the film. Most of his outfits in the comics are pretty weak, and it’s a relief they didn’t go with something like his green, and yellow outfit that makes him look like some type of daffodil. I love this look of Electro and I can imagine they’ll probably incorporate this look into the comic (unless they already have, I haven’t been up to date on my Spidey comics in a while).
Let’s get back to the film.
Then we’re thrust into another plot-line revolving around Harry Osborn. Remember him? It looks like his illness has begun to show its symptoms and his father’s device helps him deduce that Spider-Man’s blood might help save his life and cure his disease. Sadly, the way they explain this is kind of weak and I’m still not too sure how that plan would exactly work. The only thing I could grasp is that later on in the film we learn more about Richard Parker explaining that he injected his own DNA or something into the spiders from Oscorp which obviously explains how Peter bonded with the spider so well when it bit him. It’s still a pretty weak and vague explanation. So, to make matters worse for dear, old Harry it turns out that Oscorp has framed him for the accident with Max Dillon which caused him to turn into the villain Electro which causes him to lose his title as CEO.
We then have Felicia Hardy (BLACK CAT IN THE COMICS, OH SHIT) tell Harry that there may be some equipment that could save his life, so he goes to meet Max/Electro and strikes a deal with the blue guy to get himself back into the Oscorp Building. This is when he finds some of the venom from the genetically engineered spiders and instead of curing Harry it turns him into some horribly, disgusting looking goblin-like creature. Welcome to the birth of Green Goblin, our other villain in this film.
I must be in the minority that didn’t see an issue with the villains in this movie. The main villain of the film is Electro, and it’s obvious. Green Goblin, and Rhino are only in the film for a few minutes for key plot points to set up the following films. It’s not too hard to comprehend and for me it didn’t ruin anything in terms of quality of the film. I still enjoyed watching the movie, and I think Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin is by far the best looking Goblin we’ve had in most Spider-Man media.
James Franco’s Green Goblin was just…lame. Then again, he was Hobgoblin wasn’t he? I don’t remember, Spider-Man 3 was kinda wank. Anyways.
We’re then thrown right back into the relationship (which I enjoyed, bring the hate) with Gwen calling Peter and leaving a message explaining that she went to the airport because the scholarship in England got accepted earlier then they thought. Not wanting to leave on bad terms, Peter meets Gwen on the bridge and professes his love for her and vows to go to England with her, which would obviously cause him to stop being Spider-Man but we know that’s not going to happen considering Electro is still around somewhere. Then again, Peter still think he’s locked up. However, Electro decides to ruin this touching moment by causing a mass blackout so Peter leaves the scene to go fight Electro, and against his comfort Gwen follows him.
The two of them restore power, and causes an overload which seemingly kills Electro, but I pretty much doubt he can be killed that easily. We’ll see in the next films won’t we?
Harry shows up with his power amor, and Glider and sees Gwen which leads him to figure out that Spidey is Peter Parker and vows to get revenge on him for refusing the blood transfusion from Spider-Man and kidnaps Gwen and flies to the top of a clock tower. The two of them have an all out brawl with Spider-Man subduing Harry, but fails to save Gwen who falls from some gears in the tower to her death.
This scene in particular is probably the strongest in the entire film for multiple reasons. It distinguishes a major element in the development of Peter Parker as a character and how he handles the death of his love in his future as Spider-Man. It’s a pivotal moment for him as a character and they captured that moment beautifully on film. It also makes some subtle hints to the comic issue where Gwen is killed off. She wears a very similar outfit to the one she wore in the comic the night she died, and once she hits the ground after her fall the clock strikes the time of 1:21, and the comic issue she died in was 121 which was released in 1973. This pleased the Spidey comic book fan inside me greatly, aside from the tragic, tear-jerking scene of Peter weeping over the body of the girl he was in love with.
This also makes sense as to why Mary Jane Watson was cut from the film in the end. It wouldn’t of suited how we were supposed to feel emotionally at the conclusion. It feels better this way, and I can imagine fans of the Spiderman comics, and films can agree on this point. Even if you didn’t enjoy the film, I’d like to think that this scene in particular hit home with everyone. It was being foreshadowed for the entire film, and it was always inevitable.
However, five months pass and we learn that Peter has stopped being Spider-Man for good, which I hate to say it is a common thing that bothers me about superhero films. Something usually happens in one of the franchises that causes the hero to “quit” being who they are because of a death, or some sort of tragic event. I get that it’s a part of character development but I’m actually fed up with seeing it. Minor complaint and all.
Harry is healing from his grotesque transformation and is approached by Gustav Friers (the man in the shadows from the first film) who discuss the formation of a small team to take out Spider-Man which is a nod the group formed in the comics called the Sinister Six and the fact we’re getting a spin-off film about them makes me a happy camper. We also get a secondary nod with this by seeing Doc Ock’s arms, Vulture’s Wings, and the Rhino’s mechanical suit. This evil duo make their first move by freeing Aleksei and giving him the suit, which thus gives birth to The Rhino (one of my favorite Spidey villains besides early Venom, and Carnage).
We’re then treated with a scene where Rhino inside the mechanical suit, which looks completely bad-ass. I really loved the design and over-all look of it. I’m glad they went this route because I imagine just some bloke wearing a Rhino looking skin-tight outfit would of been lame and sort of…underwhelming.
But wait, is that Spider-Man? Nope, it’s a small child dressed as Spider-Man attempting to confront The Rhino. Pretty brave kid, I wouldn’t have the balls to do that unless I had some form of super-power or like…anti-tank weapon. We’re then treated with a lovely scene where Peter is watching Gwen’s graduation speech which inspires him and he goes out to meet Rhino head on, and ultimately saves the kid. And, the film just sort of abruptly ends with Spidey attacking Rhino, which obviously is probably set up for the third Amazing film, and we’ll most likely see The Rhino as the titular villain in that movie. I’m perfectly okay with this because Paul Giamatti is a superb actor and from the few minutes we saw of him in the movie I’m excited.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 may not be as good as the first film, but I enjoyed my time with it. I still think Andrew Garfield is the perfect choice for Spider-Man, and the chemistry between him and Emma Stone really shows on screen. The two of them are wonderful together and I’d like to see them work together more often, which might be a stretch considering they are a real-life couple (eat that up comic fans).
Of course the plot did jump around a bit, and there was some bits that seemed like they were shoehorned in and really didn’t serve much of a purpose. Jamie Foxx was superb as Electro, and I feel like he was one of the selling points in the movie. I’m not understanding the hate behind the film, and the only logical thing I can think of is people expected it to be something it’s not. It’s a setup film, and if you go into your viewing realizing that, and knowing that you’re probably going to have a good time with the movie. It’s far from being a terrible movie like most of the critics are saying.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets a solid…