The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Written by Steven Panzarella(@ProCreateSteve)
The Short- Some say the problem with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is with its revolving door of villains, only two are featured in the film (one is shown briefly and another is never seen as her alter-ego). The real issue for me was a total change in tone; Marc Webb and company go from a serious opening film to an extraordinarily campy sequel that has both villains spouting one-liners. The best parts of this Spidey sequel are the fantastic action sequences and each and every scene between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone who are so great together on screen you wonder if any other couple could have worked so well together.
When the powers that be decided to bring Spider-Man back less than a decade after the previous Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy most questioned the move. We had just survived one of the worst sequels of all time and now all of a sudden the web head was getting a reboot. Luckily, The Amazing Spider-Man boasted am excellent cast that included real life couple Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) and Emma Stone (Easy A) as well as a fantastic director in Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) to take a set of movies in hopefully a different direction then it’s predecessor. The Amazing Spider Man did that, it was darker yet they gave Andrew Garfield opportunities to break out that sarcastic Spider-Man personality. The decision by writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to write in more villains (at first count 4 comparable Spider-Man bad guys were set to appear) as well as casting Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson only to cut her from the film made plenty of fans very nervous. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in a lot of ways the filmmaker’s way of showing that there is a lot more to come, but it also changes the tone of the series. In the first film they made sure to let the fans know this series was going to be less campy than its predecessor, for one reason or another that unspoken oath was broken after one film.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 is campy, its two main villains Harry Osbourne (Dane Dehaan) and Max Dillon aka Electro(Jamie Foxx) can’t help but spew villain one liners, both nail their villainous roles fairly well but neither is written consistently. Sometimes Foxx’s Electro is a dynamic villain who is just misunderstood and other times he is the most poorly written character in the film including a series of head scratching moments of dialogue. He is also only the main villain for about half the film, once DeHaan’s Green goblin takes center stage Electro becomes his number 2, which means we spent half the movie learning about Max Dillon and his powerful change only to throw him in the back seat for DeHaan’s Osborne. DeHaan portrays Osborne as a friend to Peter Parker until Peter/Spider Man refuse to help him cure his rare debilitating disease. The acting in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is very good; the cast is one of its best features. The script at times lacks the punch to assist the performances on screen but only really for its two major villains. As far as Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone go when they are together on screen is when this film is at its highest. They may have the best chemistry of any on-screen couple we see this year and it’s both performances together that make it so memorable. Stone is fantastic as the lovable Gwen Stacey and Garfield is great as Peter Parker and even better as Spider-Man. Garfield seems to take joy in the sarcastic web slinger and both actors together are The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s biggest asset.
Along with the actors, Marc Webb deserves some credit for bringing out the Spider-Man series biggest strength the action. The web slinging scenes are breathtaking and perfectly put together action sequences (especially towards the end) that help keep fans steadily into a series that is winning big at the box office but not as much in the reviews. Webb may not keep The Amazing Spider-Man 2 from changing tone but he does make a fun film. The biggest complaint I’ve heard from others was the film was a bit crowded with two major villains plus set up for many more. To dispel some rumors Paul Giamatti’s Rhino is in the film for no more than 10 minutes in total, Felicity Jones as Felicia Hardy/Black Cat never appears in costume. She only appears as Harry Osborne’s assistant but she never breaks that character and never actually appears as her alter-ego. That leaves just two main villains which for me on principle in a Spider-Man movie works but it is also the main reason why the movie is nearly two and a half hours long, Both Osborne and Electro need loads of set up before they become their respective villains. Webb, Orci and Kurtzman have managed to keep the plot growing in both films, building the main villain being Oscorp, they are the reason why Peter's parents disappeared, the reason spider man exists, the reason Dr. Kurt Connors became the lizard and they created what will become the sinister six. Not getting away from that is what makes it a stable sequel, that and the overwhelming cast that they have managed to bring in.
When it comes down to it, aspects of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 were disappointing, the writing was underwhelming and at times nearly unbearable but the action sequences, the Peter/Gwen plot and every scene with Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield made it a worthwhile sequel. I look forward to seeing how they make the next few films with Garfield sounding like he will be ready to bow out after the 3rd installment and possibly before The Sinister Six films. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not the best Spider-Man movie in the series and may seem like a step back from the first one but it is still worth your time.