In an evil Green Goblin Broadway voice, sing with me, Spider-Man, Spider-Man, radioactive Spider-Man. After receiving lukewarm reviews from most and a downright hateful one from yours truly, The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t exactly set the world on fire. They have a lot to live up to in the bigger budget sequel and are clearly betting the whole friendly neighborhood on it being a smash. The entire cast from the first film returns for the sequel, but then that’s not saying much as it wasn’t a particularly big one to begin with.
An unspecified amount of time has passed and Peter (Andrew Garfield) is a confident, cocky and apparently well-loved Spider-Man. He spends his days patrolling the city; no crime is too big or too small for him to stop. At one point he stops a kid from being chased by bullies, another moment he is saving a load of radioactive material from being hi-jacked. The police and his girl Gwen (Emma Stone) love him. Yeah things are going amazing for ole Spider-Man, but he does have the dreaded Parker luck.
Peter just doesn’t allow himself to stay happy; after promising Gwen’s dying father that he wouldn’t put her in harms way, he starts to feel guilty and breaks up with her. They make up, breakup, make up, break up, it becomes hard to keep track. As Peter tells his old friend Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan) “It’s complicated.” Because of this, even though Stone and Garfield are dating in real life, there was a lack of onscreen chemistry between the two.
Director Marc Webb did some decent fan service and it was great getting little glimpses of Alistair Smythe (B.J. Novak), Felicia Hardy (Felicity Jones), Doc Ock’s Arms, and Vulture’s wings. The audience gasped and cheered in all the right spots and it was hard not to cheer along. Webb does a great job with the web swinging affects, it is hard not to get swept up into Spider-Man’s joy when he’s flying and bouncing off of rooftops. However it got a bit tedious as it was done so often that the coolness factor eventually wore off.
It seemed like almost every fight ended up in Time Square. When will New Yorkers learn to get the hell out of the way during a fight? I love that quippy, snarky Spider-Man is in full affect here. Although I wish the jokes were funnier and I know Spidey comic book writer Dan Slott had something to do with the screenplay but his quick wit isn’t as sharp here.
Emma Stone is awesome as always, I love her in everything she does, but I can never quite shake the feeling that she reminds of me a cleaner, saner, slightly less talented version of Lindsay Lohan. To take my shallowness a step further, while Dane DeHaan makes an ok Harry Osborne his striking resemblance to a very young Leonardo DiCaprio was a distraction. Jamie Foxx was god-awful as new villain Electro. Can someone explain why an electrical engineer would just grab two live wires without wearing rubber gloves? I can understand an 11-year-old child being that incredibly stupid, but not a grown man who is an ELECTRICAL ENGINEER.
Jesus, I’m sick to death of the Osborns. Counting the Raimi Trilogy we are 5 movies in the Spider-Man world and the primary villain has been the Green Goblin. Can we please, for the love of all that is holy have a Spider-Man film that DOESN’T have a Goblin? In this new Universe, the Osborns are Peter’s boogey men and behind every bad thing in his life and are responsible for creating every major Spider-Man bad guy. Yeah, I know they are taking this concept from the Ultimate Universe, but I didn’t like it there either. I question why even bother making this film if they weren’t going to do anything new.
DeHann plays Harry Osborn as another spoiled, emo rich kid with daddy issues. At one point he literally throws himself on a couch like a two year old having a tantrum. While I hated James Franco in the originally trilogy, at least I bought the fact that Peter and Harry were true friends. Here it felt really forced and out of the blue. “Hey, buddy, I haven’t seen or spoke to you in 10 years…”
Believe it or not, seven people are credited with writing this mess, SEVEN, and it shows. I never felt like I was watching a real movie, it was purely a heartless corporate spectacle where you could almost see bean counters interfering. Insert more action, let’s not take risks, and be as bland, by the numbers as possible. There has been a lot of talk about creating a much larger, expanded Spider-Man Universe. Someone please tell me where in this film do they establish anything outside of it’s own very narrow confines?
As a testament to how bland this film is, I didn’t even get upset at some of the incredibly bad “original” things they did that basically alter Goblin and Spider-Man’s origins. People always say I’m a purist when it comes to super hero films, but I’m really not. I like change. It’s the dumb, unnecessary ones that I object to like Super Man killing or turning him “grim and gritty” (no I won’t let it go) or altering the true origins of Spider-Man and Goblin’s powers in this one.
Not only were the changes unnecessary, but they also made absolutely zero sense. Everyone’s powers are now genetic and hereditary now? Um, ok. Why not just call every Spider-Man character a mutant and be done with it? How does Harry just automatically know how to work the glider anyway?
I actually want them to take chances. I really wish they went in a different direction with the big life altering Peter event. The way it was filmed and edited, this big moment went from a heart pounding “I can’t believe they are going to do it, nooooo….” to a poorly shot sequence, that had too many stops along the way and drained it of the emotional impact that it should have. It would have been better as a single shot drop like in the comic book.
While it seems like I hate this movie, I didn’t, I may even see it again. I’m just ambivalent about it. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a big step up from the last outing and works as standard blockbuster faire, I just wanted more.
Final Grade C