Friday, May 9, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review

When The Amazing Spider-Man was released a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised.  While the origin story was complete rehash of the Sam Raimi trilogy, everything else was better.  The action, the tone, and the acting were better.  Here we are a few years later with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  The film is again directed by Marc Webb.  Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Sally Field reprise their respective roles in the film.  Let's go!

What I liked about the film:
The Chemistry (Acting)
Garfield plays a terrific Spider-Man; but he plays a terrific Peter Parker as well.  In my opinion, for an actor to succeed in a superhero film, he needs to make the hero, and his alter ego interesting to watch.  Garfield plays Spider-Man with a joy we've never seen on the big screen.  He loves being Spider-Man and uses his powers for good.  Never wavering from doing the right thing.  I am so happy with the casting of Garfield in this role, and hope he continues to solidify himself as a great actor.

Emma Stone does a fine job playing Parker's love interest in the film.  Stone has an undeniable likeability to her.  She plays the character in a smart and sophisticated way, that really makes her Peter's equal.  She's not a damsel in distress; she can take care of herself.  Garfield and Stone's chemistry is so apparent on screen, you can't help but be reminded these two are dating in real life.  And then there's Sally Field.  I loved that the writers gave her a bigger role in the film.  She has a lot going on and still manages to take care of Peter, when he'll let her.  Garfield and Fields' chemistry was also shown off.

The Action
What Spider-Man can do in this film is no joke!  This is some of the coolest stuff we've seen in a Spider-Man film.  I especially love the opening sequence with the character when he's free falling from a skyscraper, only to quickly web sling himself across the streets of New York.  It was such a well thought out way of showing off the hero's powers.  Also worth noting are the fight sequences.  Long gone are the shaky cams that have made it into WAY TOO MANY films of late.  The action is clear and easy to follow.  I hope other action film directors take notice.

The Score
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams and Johnny Marr have put together a killer soundtrack!  The music was big, and demanding, when it needed to be.  But the score really shines in the softer moments.  It evokes the kind of emotion that's not usually found in superhero films, or action films in general.  I really enjoyed the score of the film.

What I didn't like about the film:
Too Much Going On (No Character Development)
Because I hate talking plot in my reviews, I'll simply use bullet points to describe all the sub-plots of the film.

  • Jamie Foxx plays Elector (Max Dillion), who was supposed to be the primary villain. He's a lonely guy looking for a friend; all while his employer treats him very badly. 
  • There's also Dane DeHaan, who plays Peter's childhood friend Harry Osborn, who goes on to become the Green Goblin, as seen in the trailers.
  • Peter Parking is still trying to figure out why his parents left him on Aunt and Uncle's house, long ago.
  • Gwen and Peter are trying to make their relationship work, considering he's a superhero and all.
  • Oscorp is working on something big, really big.
  • Peter can't shake the events of the first film from his mind.
  • Aunt May is trying to live a 'normal life' now that Uncle Ben is gone, and maintain her relationship with Peter.
  • Oh, and last but not least, Sony is doing everything in its power to sprinkler in other characters and easter eggs to help push future films, ala the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ugh, I'm exhausted typing it all out.  I don't even want to say anything else, it's too much.  The writers should have focused on the story at hand and not worry about future films.  I'm sure Sony had something to do with this by the way.  But the film went from being different, to another build-up film like Iron Man 2.

My primary gripe here is with the Harry Osborn character, as it pertains to the film's writing.  It's been how long since you've seen your friend?  They just sort of hit it off again after not seeing each other for years and years?  An illness is moving through Harry's body at a much much faster rate (the length of the film) than it did his father?  Come on.  

Come up with better ideas, and better writing to keep me 'in the film'.  I'll give you my suspension of disbelief (it's a film about a man genetically combined with a radioactive spider for crying out loud), but don't try to make me believe the only parts of the film I could potentially relate to with nonsense.  

The Verdict:
Just Good
That sounds kind of silly, I know; but it could have been great!  If they moved the climax to the end of the second act, we'd have a faceoff that would have been for the ages.  And the fight would have meant so much more then what it did.  Ultimately, the villains were just plain silly.  The best parts of the film had more to do with Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey, and they were few and far between.  Webb and company will be back for a 3rd round of Spider-Man magic; let's just hope it's a better final product than this one.

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