Thursday, May 15, 2014

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-man 2

Genre: Superhero
Director: Marc Webb
Rating: ** (2 out of 5)

It seems like only yesterday that I was raising my fist at Sony Pictures for cancelling Sam Raimi's Spider-man 4 and for hiring rookie director Marc Webb to retell the entire “origins of Spider-man” story from the sewing of his first spandex costume to the shooting death of Uncle Ben. Well, two years flew by and Sony has just released a sequel. And why not? Despite all the booing from critics, the first installment managed to snatch US$750 million from the box office. So what do I know?
The Amazing Spider-man 2 by Marc Webb

ASM2 is a mess of a movie. There is too much plot and not enough story. Let’s start with Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a lowly Oscorp employee who becomes super villain Electro as a result of a bad workplace accident: he falls into a water tank and is bitten by a fry of electric eels. Electro is a cross between a member of the Blue Man Group and Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi. The character is weak not for a lack of superpower – he zaps his enemy with Force Lightning – but for a lack of motive. He wants Spidey dead simply because Spidey doesn’t remember his name. Huh?

Then we have Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), heir to the Oscorp empire with an Adolf Hitler haircut – always a tell-tale sign of villainy. Whatever bromance between Harry and Peter Parker – the two exchange plenty of hugs and loving gazes – isn't enough to keep them from ripping out each other’s throat in the next scene. Like Electro, Harry is motive deficient. He wants Spidey dead simply because Spidey won’t give him a blood transfusion. Really?

The one that looks like Hitler is the bad guy

Andrew Garfield, who was excellent in The Social Network and earned critical acclaim on Broadway in Death of a Salesman, is likeable as Peter Parker but borderline cocky as Spider-man. Emma Stone, who plays Peter’s on-and-off girlfriend Gwen Stacy, talks and dresses like she is still on the Mean Girls set. Gwen cares only about her perfect relationship and forgets that her boyfriend has a full time job saving the world. In the end, Aunt May (Sally Field) is the only character the audience really cares about, for she alone possesses the superpower to make us laugh and cry at her will. The movie should be renamed The Amazing Aunt May.

ASM2 is two and a half hours of dizzying action, punctuated by trite rom-com dialogue between Peter and Gwen. As a standalone movie, it is tolerable entertainment. As part of a reboot, it cements the series' status as an unnecessary, second-tier franchise. It is inferior to Raimi's trilogy in every way.

Acting is her superpower


  1. I think the problem with Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that they had a script with Electro as the villain, and they had a script with Green Goblin as the villain, and it was not very organic to superimpose them, it was very forced. I know that Spider-Man has a rich rogue's gallery and we all want to see as many villains as possible but it has to work. Unlike, say, Captain America 2, the direction did not find a natural way to incorporate all the comics mythology in the film.

    It's a shame, this Spider-Man should have worked. First one wasn't bad, Andrew Garfield is great, and the web-swinging effects are excellent. As a comic nerd, I like that this Spider-Man looks like a Mark Bagley drawing come to life. But yes, story is the most important and that is surely lacking.

    I still don't think it was as bad as Raimi's Spider-Man 3 though, nothing will ever be as bad as that.

  2. Hi Ray, we agree to disagree. I thought Tobey McGuire and especially Kirsten Dunst were fantastic!! :-)


  3. I'm not saying the trilogy isn't good. In fact, many people say Spider-Man
    2 was one of the greatest supehero films ever made and I don't disagree. I
    just think Garfield's Peter Parker is closer to the comics. But most of
    all, Spider-Man 3 was incredibly terrible and for all the flaws of the new
    ones they aren't nearly so bad.


  4. Christopher Reeve's Superman 1 and 2, Batman: Dark Knight and the Avengers are the greatest superhero movies ever made!