The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) REVIEW

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci & Jeff Pinker
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan

Set a few years after Peter became Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (ASM2) has our hero going head to head against new villains Electro, Green Goblin and Rhino(?). While battling these threats, Peter must also deal with visions of the late, Captain Stacy and struggles with his love for Gwen and his promise to her father from the end of the previous film.

Thank god this sequel is better than the first. Free from rebooting the franchise, they are now free to tell their own stories. Taking place a few years after the original, I’m glad we get a new suit, a more confident Spider-Man and better villains.

Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker alongside Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Both are wonderful as the leads with great charismatic appeal on screen. Their chemistry on screen is realistic, which I found out helps thanks to them dating in real life. Because of this, at times I felt the dialogue was almost unscripted or somewhat improvised with the director leaving the camera rolling.

Speaking of directing, thank you Marc Webb. Spider-Man now moves with the freedom and agility I’ve always envisioned from reading the comics for 20+ years. Sam Raimi included many classic poses, but now with modern CGI being where it is, Spider-Man has never felt more realistic. Still, Marc Webb I feel should also be blamed for the bloated feel this movie suffers from. Did I mention it runs for over 2 hours? Being a Spider-Man fan I picked up on a lot of in jokes and references, but not all were needed and most felt included for universe/sequel building.

By placing three, yes three villains into the mix, ASM2 was not only bloated but also very rushed. Which is saying a lot because of the large chunks of film it’s mostly Peter not Spider-Man and a lot of it still deals with the mystery of his parents. Including drawn out sequences showing the fate of them both, which frankly, wasn’t needed when it could’ve been explained in throwaway dialogue mid-movie.

Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro is a villain I’m not sure could’ve ever been translated to film. Although his powers looked impressive, yet dated, in 3D, whenever he was around it felt mildly camp. Spider-Man interactions aside. An entire middle section where Electro is under lock and key felt about as campy as Batman & Robin. Maybe it’s because Jamie Foxx’s Max, seemed to be channeling Jim Carrey’s Riddler from Batman Forever. The feeling was there.

Finally a face is given to Norman Osborn in the form of Chris Cooper. He was good in the extended cameo he was given and quickly replaced by Harry Osborn, played by Dane DeHaan. This whole subplot of the movie felt rushed and forced. It could’ve been split into two films. I wasn’t buying the relationship between Harry and Peter nor the super quick decline into villainy. His motivations were all off. However, Harry discovery of the identity behind Spider-Man was excellently shown on screen. For that brief moment, I was worried for Peter.

Unfortunately my feelings for this film are mixed. I enjoyed moments, the CGI and some characters. Yet the bloated, rushed and forced relations I wasn’t buying. SONY has already got part three, Sinister Six, part four and a Venom movie in the pipeline, and sadly ASM2 came across like it was laying the ground work for all those films. Just not in a good way.

But hey, at least the 3D looked great. Too bad for the musical score by Hans Zimmer and friends.

Rating: 2 out of 5. For those that like a rating.

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