MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

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Film: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Directed By: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets tangled in its own web in all the wrong places, but somehow finds its spider-sense in all the right ones. First off, I need to get something out of the way: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 just downright has too much going on. Too many villains without true purposes fleshed out, too many plot deviations, too many dub-step “drops,” or whatever kids call them these days, just too much. But, when Marc Webb and company slow things down, the web becomes incredibly symmetrical, leaving a path for the viewer to climb up, reaching Spidey at the top.

For all its faults, (and there are certainly faults) I found my two-and-a-half-hour experience with Spidey this time around much more enjoyable than the past few attempts. Much of this accreditation is due to the amazing chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, something that I have found to be exponentially highlighted in other reviews, as it should be. When it really comes down to it, having Peter and Gwen’s relationship ground the film made it that much more solidified, especially when it needed it.

When the film begins, we find that Peter has decided to dismiss his promise to Captain Stacy of staying away from Gwen, with no explanation to the audience what happened to mend those wounds lacerated at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man. It won’t come, so don’t expect it. This is the first of many plot points that the audience will just have to deal with. Within its convoluted approach, much of the actuality in the realism is lost, and to truly enjoy the film one must just let it go, however unattractive that may be. We do see that Peter and Gwen have seemingly gone through this cyclical motion of let’s be together versus let’s not, explored with aesthetically pleasing visual pieces of Peter seeing Captain Stacy within his daily acts as Spider-Man.

Being faced with issues from Gwen, the return of his long-lost friend Harry Osborne, and the surge of Electro, Spider-Man and the viewer soon find themselves caught in a dissolving story that could have easily been broken up into separate films. Essentially what we are being faced with is the “Avenger-fication” of superhero movies, in which studios are desperately trying catch up to Joss Whedon and company, and it is beginning to show (anyone else scared for Batman vs. Superman?). In all honesty, Harry Osborne did not need to become the Green Goblin this time around, for his role would have been better suited with only his ascension to OsCorp. But, with more information given about the reasoning behind Peter’s parents’ deaths, the Osborne inclusion is a little more digestible. My biggest fault with the film all ties within the idea that it spends too much time worrying about setting up the next film, or films, and within that it forgets what it came to do in the first place. If the film stuck to the continued hunt by Peter for any information on his parents, Peter dealing with his love for Gwen, and Jamie Foxx’s socially mutilated Electro, the film would have been near perfect. But, if we are to pick apart the forty-five minutes or so of uselessness, what we are left with is a worthy film of the Spider-Man cannon, and dare I say it, the best Spidey outing yet.

Something that I think is more easily defined and appreciated, is that of the action sequences. The film does a wonderful job at putting the viewer as close to feeling like Spider-Man as allowed, and it truly shows. From the jaw-dropping sequences with Electro, to the final showdown in the clock tower (fans of the comics will know exactly what I am talking about, and seeing what was expected actually happen ended up being a lot harder than I thought it would be), the action is truly amazing. Decently spread out, even if it is spread over tangled and dwindling plot excursions, whenever I was thrown into an action sequence, I never wanted it to end. Between the crossfire of webs and electric sparks, watching Spider-Man carefully sew in and out of bullets, debris, and other types of incoming hostility never got old.

Within the film we are also presented with wonderful imagery. Mentioned earlier was the appearances of Captain Stacy, first seen within a gunfight with the Rhino and other gunmen. Haunting Peter at all the wrong times, his guilt of breaking his promise with Captain Stacy, and what that could mean for Gwen, is something that Peter will most surely have to deal with. From the beautiful shot of Peter’s web acting like a hand reaching out for just a few more inches, if there is one thing Peter will learn from the events of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it is that being Spider-Man will take a much larger toll than he could have ever imagined. While spitting jokes and web at low class criminals will keep his attitude up, the much larger realization of isolation will be his toughest battle yet.

It surely takes a specific mindset to get to all the wonderful parts of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but if you can get past the overdosed plot and characters, you are left with a heartfelt experience with one of the most lovable characters from a comic medium. Elevated by Andrew Garfield being the near perfect Peter Parker, I am excited to see where the series goes next. Let’s just hope that they can either realize they got everything they needed to out of the way in this one, or that they need to cool their jets to make all the wonderful aspects they create more attractive to movie-goers. This film has a lot wrong with it, but in my opinion gets more right than it does wrong. With a little bit of patience, there is plenty of memorable moments to be found in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Grade: B-

Review written by Drew Caruso – Follow him on Twitter.

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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  • YR

    “With no explanation to the audience what happened to mend those wounds lacerated at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man. It won’t come, so don’t expect it. This is the first of many plot points that the audience will just have to deal with.”

    One of the superpowers that Peter Parker posseses is a healing factor. Even if that wasn’t clear, the whole video of Richard Parker explaining his research explicitly confirms that his research (the whole Spider Venom biological programme which leads to a stray Spider ultimately biting Peter in the first film) had the purpose of providing regenerative abilities, hence curing issues like cancer. In fact the entire Osborn subplot is that Harry Osborn tried to get Spider-man’s blood so that he could gain the regenerative abilities to cure/slow down his disease.

    There’s a big difference between there being a legitimate plot hole and the audience just being plain ignorant of what’s happening on screen. Just cause you didn’t make an attempt to find out doesn’t immediately dismiss the issue into a plot point.