Ror Reviews: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
I think the general consensus on Marc Webb's Amazing Spider-Man was that it was a good movie, but a sequel definitely needed to improve on a number of things. Now with a bigger budget, new villains, and teases of a controversial plot point from the comics..did we get what we wanted? Click for my take.
While watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2 I was stuck by how unlike director Marc Webb's 500 days Of Summer it was..and how that was most definitely not a good thing. Whereas that movie told a subtle, affecting "boy meets girl" story with some inspired musical accompaniment, his Spidey sequel is borderline ham-fisted in its attempts to show us just how in love Peter and Gwen are, and the resulting schmaltz is not helped by some truly bizarre song choices. Webb has basically taken the things that worked best in the Amazing Spider-Man and turned them up to eleven -- but as we know only too well around these parts, bigger does not always equal better.
The action scenes, at least, do benefit from this though. Webb's upped the ante considerably and there are some very exciting and inventive (though keep an eye on that slow-mo Mr.
Snyder Webb!) scraps between Spidey and Electro. Although the latter's powers definitely make things interesting from a visual standpoint, the character is another disappointing baddie I'm sorry to report.
Despite a good turn from Rhys Ifans, The Amazing Spider-Man's Lizard just wasn't original or interesting enough to make an impact -- plus, he looked a bit crap to boot. Now in this sequel, we get Jamie Foxx's Electro: think Batman Forever's Riddler crossed with Dr. Manhattan and you're close. The script was clearly going for a sympathetic angle with his geeky, lonely pre-electrified Max Dillon persona, but he comes across as a creepy stalker who transforms into a much more dangerous, blue creepy stalker. Foxx is fine, but any actor would be limited by this role.
Dane DeHaan fares better as Peter's childhood pal, and future Green Goblin, Harry Osborn. He plays the arrogant, but wounded heir to the Osborn empire well, and when he eventually Goblins up he's actually pretty damn terrifying. Yes he does slightly resemble Billy Idol on crack, but DeHaan does so much with this character -- and with only a handful of scenes -- that he overcomes that. It's just a shame that his whole arc is so rushed. Say what you will about the third installment, but at least Sam Raimi and co. had (or seemed to anyway) a plan mapped out for their trilogy. So many of the scenes in Webb's sequel seem like they're just there to hit the necessary beats as we approach the finale, but without ever really gelling together to form a cohesive narrative.
It needs to be said though that the many problems evident in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 are no fault of the two leads. Andrew Garfield is once again spot on as Spidey, and he has the support of a never better Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. their chemistry is strong enough to survive the somewhat lazy script, and they manage to force a bit of genuine emotion into the proceedings -- especially towards the end.
Without coming right out and saying it..yes, that thing you likely figured would happen, happens -- and is handled very, very well. The rest of the movie may struggle with its tone, but once it finally decides where its going and sets events in motion, it achieves something you wouldn't have thought possible going by the first hour and half: an incredibly tense, heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting finale.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is redeemed by an (yes, I'll say it) amazing ending, it's just unfortunate that most of the rest of the film is a bit of a sporadically entertaining mess. Still, the performances and enormous sense of fun make it very difficult to dislike..just manage your expectations and you'll have a good time.
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