Ever since I was a little boy, I've been a fan of Spider-Man for as long as I can remember. Being a lifelong fan, what did I think of it?
When the reboot was first announced back then, I wasn't really keen on getting it since I grew up with the Raimi trilogy. But when it came, it became my favorite Spider-Man movie, overshadowing the original trilogy in my eyes. Marc Webb's take on the iconic superhero was indeed amazing, a gritty interpretation that introduced us to a different side of the Webhead.
This weekend, I finally got the chance to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in IMAX 3D and saw it again last Monday. I walked out of the cinema with confused feelings during my first viewing, my feelings and my mind were a bit clearer during my second viewing. The tonal shift of the movie from its predecessor was so massive it's almost hard to believe it had the same director. I enjoyed the movie, but it wasn't without flaws that stem from creative decisions. The movie was fun, arguably the most fun Spider-Man movie there has ever been, the problem was it was bogged down by a lot of sub-plots that distracted from the central story the movie wanted to tell.
If you haven't seen the movie, I suggest you stop reading now as there will be spoilers.
The movie opens to Peter's parents and we finally get a look at what happened to them after they left Peter. After that prologue, the next scene is pure joy to watch. We get to see the Spider-Man we all know and love in all his glory. In this scene alone, we see that the movie embraces the more fantastical side of Spider-Man's world, as opposed to the grounded approach they took on the first movie. We get the introductions to his villains and we see his on and off relationship with Gwen during the first act. The first act was indeed impressive. It immersed me in Spider-Man's world more than ever, never holding back on making Spider-Man who he was always meant to be.
The "untold story" that the first tried to sell us is finally told. We finally get to know what happened to his parents and what they did. After seeing the "untold story" resolved, honestly, I feel ripped off. The whole story about his parents could have been resolved in the first movie and didn't have to be brought to the sequel. This sub-plot was ultimately useless, adding nothing to the film and story we didn't already know except to explain why the spider venom didn't work properly on Harry. It was nothing but a distraction and a necessity to tie up the plot threads they left hanging last time.
Max Dillon was an annoying character at first, he only gets to shine (literally and figuratively) when he emerges as Electro. The amount of emotion he was able to convey during the Times Square battle alone was brilliant as you can clearly see the internal conflict he is suffering from from his expressions alone. It's a shame he wasn't in enough of the movie. With that said, he IS one of the most intimidating villains I've seen in any Spider-Man movie. Foxx's sheer power and presence alone made me feel for the first time in a Spider-Man movie that our hero is actually in genuine danger. His final fight scene is arguably the best fight sequence in any Spider-Man movie (yes, I think it's even better than the train fight sequence in Spider-Man 2).
Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn was inspired casting. His character was a little rushed which impeded him from having a more natural character progression but Dane dominates every little scene he's in. With what little screen time he had, he was able to become a a very convincing villain, both fantastic and terrifying.
Peter and Gwen's relationship is back, and it's as good as you can get from Marc Webb. It's just disappointing how Gwen was in so little of the movie (for me) that the finale didn't hit me ast much as it should have had. Andrew and Emma still has that great chemistry from the first movie and provides the heart of the movie. The couple gives a performance which is arguably better than the first.
Finally, Spider-Man. We finally get to see the Spider-Man we all know and love in this chapter. The way Webhead was written was great and almost perfect. It may just be my bias for the character, but I believe he was portrayed better than ever. The costume was brilliant, the quips were brilliant, the web swinging was brilliant, everything was brilliant about the Spider-Man persona. As a Garfield put it a few years back, "Judd Apatow is in the suit."
This movie had a good first act, fell apart during the second act, and impressively makes a great comeback for an intense finale during the final act. Although it does get iffy at times, the payoff is indeed great. Oh, in case I forgot, Hans ZImmer and the Magnificent Six are just plain spectacular.
VERDICT: They were able to nail the Spider-Man persona this time and Peter Parker is almost as good. It is arguably the most fun-filled Spider-Man movie to date, albeit containing quite some flaws. The movie is bogged down by a lot of characters who is never in enough of the movie and a lot of sub-plots that distract from the central story. Featuring impressive music, intense fight sequences, and believable relationships; the fantastic parts of the movie may distract you from the flaws or it may not. Not as amazing as the first movie, but still spectacular in its own right. I give it a 7 out of 10.