TASM2 Review: Best Pure Comic Book Movie Since THE AVENGERS

Here is my take on Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, hit the jump to read the review!

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By merrillmind - 5/3/2014
Not since 2012's smash success AVENGERS has a comic book movie truly captured the essence of a comic book, well now THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 sits side by side with it as arguably the best pure comic book movie made. This film will polarize audiences this year, but that's only because the general public expect a movie to only follow one genre/theme, but when you read a Spider-Man comic the stories are layered and complex.
I can't express enough just how outstanding Andrew Garfield is as Spider-Man! He now joins the likes of Christopher Reeve and Robert Downey Jr. for perfectly portraying an iconic super hero. Hearing Garfield playfully quip throughout the runtime as the famed web slinger is a geeks dream come true. What Macguire always lacked in the first trilogy was a distinct difference between Peter Parker and Spider-Man, but Garfield makes sure that Peter wears his heart on his sleeve, and reserves the bravado for the web head.
The love story director Marc Webb introduced last time with the fantastic Emma Stone as brainy and beautiful Gwen Stacy is back, but unlike any relationship displayed in comic book movies thus far this one is meaningful (likely due to the real off-screen chemistry of Garfield and Stone). Some people may go into this movie expecting the villains to be the main attraction, but it's clear that this film is the story of Peter and Gwen set in the chaotic world of Spider-Man.
What about the villains? Well the central antagonist is Max Dillon/Electro, played serviceably by Jamie Foxx. I say "serviceably" because Electro is just like Loki in AVENGERS, simply  there to be an entertaining foe for our hero to overcome and clearly not a Ledger like Joker. Electro looks awesome and the encounters between Spidey and "sparkles" are straight from a comic book splash page. Even though there's not much depth given to Electro just like Tom Hiddleston's take on Loki in AVENGERS, I'm able to feel empathy towards Max and I credit the talent of Foxx for that.
The last main character is Harry Osborn, played with excellent charm and intensity by Dane Dehan. Dehan is able to bring his always wonderful talent for villainy seen previously in his breakout role from CHRONICLE. Veteran actor Chris Cooper is introduced as ailing Norman Osborn, and in one scene between Cooper and Dehan the infamous Osborn father/son dynamic is demonstrated terrifically.
Peters quest for answers about his mysterious parents is finally resolved, making the first film stronger when revisited. The overall theme of this film is the concept of time. Peter didn't get more time with his parents, Uncle Ben and now theirs never enough time to be Spider-Man and still find enough time to be Peter Parker.

Now I need to address The Rhino (played briefly by Paul Giamatti) we only actually see him for a few minutes. The man who will become Rhino has a few more moments of screen time but he isn't meant to be another main character, merely a nod to a simple foe appearing in a Spider-Man story. A nice change of pace in the genre because not every "bad guy" requires a backstory in a superheroes world.
This movie isn't THE DARK KNIGHT where the villain outshines the hero, thankfully here the hero outshines the villains because in a superhero movie the "hero" should be the best part. THE DARK KNIGHT is a great dramatic film but terrible Batman film, simply because Batman is not the most interesting person on screen and always should be. In the AVENGERS, Marvel knew to make "earths mightiest heroes" the main focus never making Loki more interesting than the heroes. In this movie we see Spider-Man taking time to save real people. One scene sees Spidey protect a young boy from being attacked by bullies, and that is what being Spider-Man is all about.

Famed composer Hanz Zimmer has brought a very good score offering a distinct new theme for our hero, but if I had one gripe it's that the overall score could connect the scenes much better.
Webb balances the several different tones of this film very carefully, and his direction is perfect in the moments that matter most. The world building for future films may at times make this sequel cramped, but overall it's handled great and will allow the much needed depth required for a fully realized Spider-Man movie universe.
Not everyone will enjoy this film and that's fine because all I care about is seeing Spidey done justice, with this installment the longtime comic book readers finally have what just may be the definitive version of Spider-Man. No matter what happens in Peter's life he must continue to endure and protect the innocent. This movie is a stellar part 2 of a 3 part story about the life of Peter Parker. Funny, daring, emotional and thrilling this is the best Spider-Man movie made so far. 
 
5 out 5 Stars
 
What did you all think of this movie? Sound off in the comments below.  
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32 Comments
AlSimmons - 5/3/2014, 7:16 PM
1. There are these things called paragraphs. You might want to invest.

2. You admit in several points that aspects of the film are lacking (Electro, the score, the film is cramped) but you still gave it a perfect score. Wut.

3. Spidey wasn't done justice. Peter is supposed to be a genius, but he has to watch Youtube to get answers on electricity? Gwen is smarter than him??? No, no, no. You're wrong.
DrDoom - 5/3/2014, 7:43 PM
'Not since 2012's smash success AVENGERS has a comic book movie truly captured the essence of a comic book, well now THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 sits side by side with it as arguably the best pure comic book movie made.'

TheIncredibleHulksta - 5/3/2014, 8:05 PM
What are you smoking?
deanwilkins - 5/3/2014, 8:32 PM
Good review, for what I read. You need to write using paragraphs, as was stated before.
I understand your excitement. I'm very tempted to say this is my favorite since Avengers. Garfield completely sold me on Spider-Man and I loved the humor. Great film. Impossible to compare to Winter Soldier, Thor 2, etc. It's just too different.
darkknight2149 - 5/3/2014, 9:09 PM
This movie frickin' awesome. I don't care what anybody says. Good review but, for future reference, try using paragraphs and (if you want) other stylistic choices. Otherwise, most people will ignore the article.
Starkasm - 5/3/2014, 11:19 PM
Loved this film. Nice review.
It's a shame people can't give advice without being complete dickwads.
Scarilian - 5/4/2014, 2:31 AM
Even though I love 'The Avengers' I have to admit its not perfect... and you should admit the same with this film. You've listed off many reasons why you dislike the film but still give it 5/5 regardless which just makes it seem like your a fan-boy and nothing more.

If you are going to give it an honest review and list the bad points also then you need to be prepared to list an honest score.
merrillmind - 5/4/2014, 6:09 AM
@Scarilian, none of the minor issues I had with this film effect it being a 5 star movie simply because the overwhelming great aspects of this film mean that just like the Avenges Im going to see this in theaters multiple times and buy it on bluray to watch over and over.
I'm a lifetime avid reader of comics and TASM2 & Avengers are the only 2 movies made in the genre to really correctly convey the feel of a comic book. Yes Captain America 2 is a great movie and a 5 star film for sure, just like Watchmen but IMO only Avengers & TASM2 have shown a general audience full of comic and non-comic book readers alike what reading a comic book is like. Sometimes in just one single issue you'll have humor (side splitting/corny), romance, drama and general shock, but watching a movie can be different so the review depends on the experience.

The Dark Knight is a great 5 star film regardless of it being in the comic book genre but not even close to what reading great Batman comics are like but the Avengers and now TASM2 are pitch perfect examples of what comic books are and certainly worthy of a perfect rating IMO and numerous other peoples from what I've seen.
Scarilian - 5/4/2014, 7:15 AM
@merrillmind

True - but it seems everyone is just over-reacting and rating this highly despite it having a lower rating on RottenTomatoes than the first TASM film. Considering you're listing things like Watchmen, Avengers and The Dark Knight comparing them to this film.
DukeAcureds - 5/4/2014, 7:27 AM
Yeah, I hink that comment about it being the best CBM since Avengers is just as much of an exageration as Josh Wilding's review about it being the worst since Batman and Robin.
It's not the best thing ever and it's not the worst thing ever. It's good. It'll do.
Would Disney have done better? Yeah, probably, but they don't want Spidey, so this is the film we get and that is not really that bad a thing. It is a decent movie.
The score did seem disconnected at times and I can point out each and every one of those times. You'll notice that it's when the score has to stop for the pop music that they feel the need to include. This cheapens the overall tone and makes the film seem tacky, shoddy and confused.
For instance when Peter is in his bedroom and we have to sit through a completely uninspired song from a band who are presumably in the charts. It takes us out of the film, suddenly, just when we were enjoying it. It's invasive, loud and long enough to make you think about whether or not you're enjoying yourself and what you are doing later on.
Then we cut to Dane DeHaan, in his office, sat on his own, deep in thought and Zimmer comes back in and it's all cool again.
FastFlames - 5/4/2014, 7:58 AM
Not a great movie, not a bad movie. Just a meh summer blockbuster that will take in the cash just like Transformers.
MarvelDCMan - 5/4/2014, 9:03 AM
Nice Review , i agree with you on everything and i also love the movie , my favorite CBM Since The Avengers .
darkknight2149 - 5/4/2014, 9:46 AM
@Starkasm
How was I a dickhead?! I was just giving friendly advice.
Pasto - 5/4/2014, 10:44 AM
Get the [frick]ity [frick] out of here.
JoshWilding - 5/4/2014, 10:47 AM
Satire?
CapFan79 - 5/4/2014, 1:00 PM
I liked the film a lot! Only real weaknesses were Foxx as Max Dillon (Electro was good but Max was too much like Jim Carrey in Batman Forever) . The character of Max really messed with the tone, but once he's Electro the film was good.
notmuchtotellreally - 5/4/2014, 1:19 PM
[frick] the Marvelites. This review is good.
Rhino4508 - 5/4/2014, 1:46 PM
I gotta agree with him. Though I didn't think Avengers was necessarily the best CBM to date anyway. I really like Avengers, and it was a good portrayal of comic to screen. However, Avengers isn't my favorite CBM. TASM2 would have been if it hadn't been for the last 4 minutes of filming. I give my favorite CBM nod to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

That all being said, besides the Rhino, TASM2 was the perfect Spider-Man film. It was everything I have wanted and felt was lacking in the Raimi series. Thank you Webb for bringing my Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man onto the big screen and doing him the justice he has deserved after all the many times he has been shit on in the past.
Splash - 5/4/2014, 3:30 PM
Fully agree with this statement. This movie was possibly the most faithful to the medium itself. In comics, you've only got so much you can do per page as per the script. It's a storyteller's medium, that's partly why the art is so important. In film, you've got a set time, and with this shit, so much to tell, and to tell well. With the amount of story to tell, Marc Webb and Co told this story well. So amazed. These movies ARE Spider-Man. I walk out so moved.
DrunkenNukem - 5/4/2014, 3:39 PM
Looks like nobody can have a different opinnion in this place, if somebody thinks TASM 2 is a great film, respect his opinion.

I wonder how some of you can get along with people in the real world with that intolerant behavior.

JamesMan - 5/4/2014, 3:56 PM
I agree, this movie felt exactly like watching a comic book come to life. I hold it higher than Avengers though (I'm not in love with that as much as others) because while it was like Avengers, having a very comic book feel, it was also able to retain certain elements that make it a competent film i.e. a good plot, cinematography, and actual villains.

-ducks for cover-
SilverFlash - 5/5/2014, 5:07 AM
I like the way its set out! But, none the less, I agree with you on the whole. I loved that the Rhino received little screen time as in the comics, Spidermans always taking on small threats not just big bad world dominating villains
JackDexx - 5/5/2014, 9:12 AM
I agree. People who are giving this movie all kinds of shit have been ready to hate it way before it came out. This film did an incredible job portraying Spider-Man and his world. If you don't get into Spider-Man or hate this comic book style approach then I got bad news for you, it's going to continue for at least 3 more films, so get out now if that's going to upset you that much. True Spidey fans have a lot to look forward to.
staypuffed - 5/5/2014, 4:08 PM
Avengers is overrated, TASM2 is fantastic.
McNyagano - 5/5/2014, 4:16 PM
"Best Pure Comic Book Movie Since THE AVENGERS"

FantasticSpidey - 5/6/2014, 7:46 AM
"Spidey wasn't done justice. Peter is supposed to be a genius, but he has to watch Youtube to get answers on electricity? Gwen is smarter than him??? No, no, no. You're wrong."

There's more to Spidey than being a genius. Not to mention the fact that he far from the smartest person in Marvel, Doc Ock, Tony Start, Mr Fantastic all show him up on a regular basis. Plus Gwen is a vast improvement to the crappy MJ damsel in distress cliche that Raimi put out. If he being a smart, strong, role model for girls requires her to be smarter than Peter, then so be it. After all she was working at Oscorp, and Peter was just a high school graduate.

As for the OP... You're right on sir, this is the best Spidey film we've had so far. It really gets Peter's driving forces correct, and i love the moments where things go bad for him, but he still keeps going. That is the epitome of Spidey.

Great review.
FantasticSpidey - 5/6/2014, 7:51 AM
I will say this though, The Avengers and Dark Knight Trilogy are the best films, staring Comic Book Characters.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the best Comic Book Movie. There is a very big distinction there. Avengers and DK are better films, I don't disagree with that, but they miss out on what makes comics great, and TASM2 nailed it.
MoreGambit - 5/6/2014, 8:56 PM
Just managed to see Amazing Spider-Man 2 tonight! Here are my thoughts:

This is definitely one jam-packed sequel, but for the most part, it balances its many moving parts far better than a lot of critics are giving it credit for. It does have some rough edges and over the top moments, but nothing anywhere near as egregious and intolerable as the emo dreck Raimi infused his Spidey films with (even Raimi's high-quality Spider-Man 2 suffered from some emo monologuing).
No matter how big and comic booky the Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets, it always feels more sincere and heartfelt than commercial. This is due to the fact that Marc Webb is simply a more sensitive and insightful director than Sam Raimi, and because he has a better cast to work with.
Andrew Garfield remains pitch perfect as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Emma Stone brings back her easy charm and charisma as Gwen Stacy. Jamie Foxx imbues Electro with an aching loneliness, in spite of the fact that the handful of awkward or corny lines in the film were all given to his character. His alliance with Dane Dehaan's Harry Osborn rings more true than most contrived alliances between bad guys in superhero movies. And, of course, nothing less would ever be expected of her, but Sally Field is incredible as Aunt May.
I can't say enough about how underrated Marc Webb's Spider-Man films are, especially Amazing Spider-Man 2. People tend to reflexively form the opinion that if something comes first, it's automatically superior. However, Marc Webb's Spidey films will age much better than Sam Raimi's. Raimi got much of the window dressing right, but Marc Webb has more of a feel for the actual characters.
4 out of 5 stars
MoreGambit - 5/9/2014, 12:48 AM
Scarilian: "You've listed off many reasons why you dislike the film but still give it 5/5 regardless which just makes it seem like your a fan-boy and nothing more."

All films have flaws, that doesn't necessarily mean no film should receive a perfect score. If a film's flaws are minor and nit-picky and don't seriously hamper the enjoyment of it, or ruin its narrative, reviewers don't always think them a big enough deal to deduct points from the movie over them.

MoreGambit - 5/9/2014, 11:51 AM
DukeAcureds: "The score did seem disconnected at times and I can point out each and every one of those times. You'll notice that it's when the score has to stop for the pop music that they feel the need to include. This cheapens the overall tone and makes the film seem tacky, shoddy and confused."

You know there are tons of movies that have both cinematic scores AND soundtracks featuring pop/rock music, right? I can only see someone being confused or thrown by this if Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the first movie they've ever watched.
I don't generally like Mumford and Sons too much, but the song by them that was included actually fit the progress of the story well and could even be considered foreshadowing of a certain tragedy that occurs, with lyrics like "I'm not moving on, I'll love you long after you're gone."
There is nothing tacky or shoddy about a blockbuster having a soundtrack. It's the norm, not the exception.

MoreGambit - 5/9/2014, 12:21 PM
Splash: "So amazed. These movies ARE Spider-Man. I walk out so moved."

Well said! I agree with you. Spider-Man is supposed to be inspiring. Raimi's films had some good qualities, but they were very much "Here's another insipid, overwritten monologue about doing the right thing from Aunt May. Here's another monologue about undying love between Peter and MJ. Here's a monologue about love from Doc Ock, just for good measure." - all of which made Raimi's films far too jingoistic and stilted to actually inspire. In Marc Webb's films, there are certainly patches of dialogue that stand out and allow certain actors to turn in amazing performances, but there are no moments where the momentum of the story stops so someone can monologue. Characters feel their emotions instead of prattling on about them endlessly. Heartfelt dialogue ends just when it should, instead of continuing on for another 3-5 minutes. All of this makes the characters more real, and makes them more able to inspire in the way that Spider-Man should.
The first Amazing Spider-Man was a breath of fresh air and just seeing Peter Parker grow into a hero was inspiring enough. But The Amazing Spider-Man 2 really hammered it home, and truly does inspire on a level that most superhero movies (and most movies in general, really) do not. Hearing Gwen's speech after tragedy has struck about how life is most precious because it ends and that when we are most alone, we must BE hope, was incredible. And this monologue from her meant more than all the monologues of the Raimi films combined because A)It doesn't happen every 5 minutes in Webb's films and B) Gwen was actually in a situation where she was SUPPOSED to be delivering a speech to a captive audience.
MoreGambit - 5/9/2014, 12:31 PM
One final thought: Being a genius doesn't mean you have the sum total of worldly knowledge in your head without having to learn about it. It's not the same as being telepathic or omniscient. The fact that Peter is scientifically brilliant doesn't automatically mean he's a natural at being an electrician. It just means he's a quick study. There is nothing about showing Peter watching a youtube video that precludes him from being a genius. That's like saying he can't be a genius because we've seen him going to school. Geniuses have to have a source for their knowledge just like everyone else, they just get more from those sources than most people.
Leveling criticism against a movie is fine and dandy, but when the "criticism" being made is really just a case of one particular viewer being overly simplistic about a small detail of the film, it's annoying and just seems like you're hating on the movie for the sake of hating on it.

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