The Amazing Spider Man 2 **1/2



One Liner Review:

With way too many storylines, an incredibly boring plot between peter abd gwen, and an overload of terrible villains, this is the worst SPIDER-MAN movie yet. The two action scenes with electro are kind of cool, but other thsn those, this is an awful film.

Brief Review:

This one is a mess. The gtewt chemistry between garfield and stone that made the first movie, is long gone. The villains are terrible. And there are way too many storylines happening in this film, including the mysteries surrounding Peter Parker’s parents. The result is very overcrowded and incredibly uninteresting.


The Amazing Spider Man 2 is pretty bad. Its the worst of the spider-Man movies. And boy does it screw up the villains. This is one of those movies that somewhat works in the first half (save for the ridiculously cartoonish Rhino and Elektro, both in human form), but then it falls apart when it tries to do too much in the second half. Specifically the last handful of climactic scenes, which are the ones we have been waiting for throughout the entire film. The movie just doesn’t have control over it’s pieces and how to move them around. The simple way of looking at it is that there is way too much going on. If the movie had taken the time to be more economic and perhaps bridged storylines together into one, or just cut some all together,  it could have been a much more effective film.
There are five pieces at play here. Those five pieces are three villains, a story about Peter Parker’s parents (sounds like a tongue twister), and the story of Peter and Gwen Stacey’s relationship. The movie was directed by Marc Webb who made the first Amazing Spider man film as well as 500 Days of Summer, and considering that Webb is an expert on how to tell a romantic story the right way, its a big problem that the peter-Gwen storyline here is such a dud.
the two actors, andrew garfield and emma stone, were fantastic together in the first film, being cute and charming in all the right ways. and SOMEHOW thats all lost this time around. The issues that Peter and Gwen deal with involve Parker wanting to still be with her, but also knowing that he promised Gwen’s father, Captain Stacey (played by Dennis Leary), that he would stay away from her. That moment was towards the end of the first film, and I really like the way that this sequel picks up with that storyline right where the first film left off. We even see flashes of Dennis Leary’s character in this film, as they haunt Parker.
The problem is that this “i PROMISED your father,” . Story is just constantly repeated THROUGHOUT the film, until it gets old and boring. Another problematic storyline is the mystery of Peter’s parents. That’s the story that seems the most wasted here, considering everything else that’s going on. I do love the way the movie opened on a plane with us seeing what really happened to Peter’s parents. It is handled in such a cool way that we see the exact same moments from the first film (the vandalized study, the leaving young Peter with his Aunt and Uncle), only now see what happened after those events, from a new angle. Here, in The Amazing Spider Man 2, the opening plane sequence works, but maybe that could have been it. Just that sequence and then the rest of the movie devoted to other things. It certainly would have left more time for the villains. Fans complained after the first movie that there wasn’t enough about Parker’s parents, so this movie threw it in there, but it also made it too big of a plot point. The opening scene or scenes would have been enough.
After that opening plane scene, we jump down to the street, in present day, and see Aleksi Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti), driving a stolen truck filled with plutonium. Spider Man swings around the city, following the truck and stopping the plutonium canisters from flying out of the back. The action here is fine, but the Giamatti character is intentionally corny. He has a terrible Russian accent and laugh, and sounds more like a cartoon character than a realitic villain. I guess this movie has taken away nothing from the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight series where realistic villains and a gritty tone made the films so great. Instead, this one tends to feel at times more like the Joel Schumacher Batman films (Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.) It really tries for comedy here, having Spiderman constantly make jokes when he should be taking the threats around him more seriously. I mean, there are at least three guys firing machine guns on the streets. Enough with the jokes.
Elektro is the main villain of this movie, and his storyline is fine. It’s about a guy, named Max Dillon, who is a grwde A loser and an absolute mess in his life. This guy has no friends and no happiness. He is made out to be a sort of cartoon character nerd, but it’s okay, because at least he’s not going for corny laughs. Apparently there was a scene where Dillon killed his mother, which was cut out of the film. That’s a real shame, because it would have added a realistic and dark element to the movie. Suddenly we would be in psychological territory. But this movie steers clear of that. It wants to be suitable for kids. Where would Nolan’s Batman movies be if they made the family friendly angle their priority?
There’s good action in this movie and that’s really the number one thing that we go to see a film like this for. The scenes of Spider Man swinging around the streets are fun, and so are the scenes of Jamie Foxx as Elektro shooting all kinds of sparks and electric out of his hands. The Times Square sequence, in particular, has Elektro really go to town, blasting everything in sight, and it’s pretty great. Even the bullet-time effect is used well here, (whereas so many other movies since the Matrix have butchered or wasted it.) In this movie, it helps with letting the camera go wherever it needs to in order to capture shots that otherwise would be impossible. That’s how we get the moment on the steps in Times Square where Spider Man shoots webs that stop two different people, on either sides of him, from grabbing the railing.  This all happens right at the exact moment that an electric current running through it.
The action is impressive, and it is held to the right amount of time. There are large chunks of the first half without any action at all, and that only makes us crave it more. It’s a strategy that works. The first half of the movie is where all of the problems come out between the characters. There’s Peter’s problem with Gwen and her dad, causing the two of them to constantly break up and get back together. There’s Harry’s problem with his dad (yes, they are doing the Green Goblin story again, as if we didn’t get enough from James Franco in all three Maguire films.) And then there’s the problem or mystery of Peter and his parents and what they were up to. There’s also everything that leads to Max Dillon becoming Elektro.
As far as villains with real story, there’s Elektro and there’s Harry Osborne. For some reason Harry gets the idea that he needs Spider Man’s blood to cure him of a disease his father had. Chris Cooper plays Harry’s father, Norman, but is really only used in one scene. What a waste. It’s the same thing with Giamatti, who is barely in the film. The Harry Osbourne stuff works, but it would have been nice if he transformed into the Green Goblin a whole lot sooner. As it is, he only changes at the end of the movie for one single scene. More time needed to be given to this character. Dane Dehaan,  is great here and elevates a part that could have easily been a disaster. If they absolutely refused to strip the story of Peter’s parents and the secret subway station, then maybe they should have had Peter and Harry find it together. That could have helped out with the problems a little, by combining two stories and therefore making fewer of them to have to tell.
The biggest reason why the movie doesn’t work is because it doesn’t know how to handle it’s villains. The Elektro storyline is fine. I can look past the cliched nerd character and the fact that his arc is similar to that of Jim Carrey’s Riddler in Baman Forever. I can look past the fact that this incarnation of Elektro basically becomes Doctor Manhattan from The Watchmen, including the separation of his body into tiny, light blue, electric particles. Believability doesn’t really matter as long as the action and story are good. But it’s the other villains who are truly butchered. both the Green Goblin and the Rhino get only one scene each. That’s it. And both scenes feel completely rushed.
We get to the end of the movie, and Spidey is having his climactic battle against Elektro, and we know from the trailers that the movie still has to fit in the Green Goblin and Rhino. Those trailers and posters were part of a massive campaign that really hurt the movie. Talk about showing too much, the Rhino should have been left for a post-credits scene and nothing more.  Instead, this movie takes the things we have been waiting for, for nearly the entire movie and  rushes them. If the Green Goblin character were left to a surprise, and not featured in the trailers, that would have been terrific. Something like what they did with Harvey Dent/Two Face in the Dark Knight, where you didn’t know if the character was going to turn into the monster in this film or not. But the trailers and poster for the Amazing Spider Man 2 gave everything away, and left nothing to the imagination.
This movie falls so far from the first amazing spider-man, which was a pretty great film. That one was actually one of the better Spider-Man movies, whereas this one is by far the worst. The chemistry between the stars is gone, so much so that there scenes are PAINFULLY dull abd boring. The villains are lousy. And the shoehorned STORYLINE about peters parents and a secret subway station is a waste of yime. Other than some decent action from time to time, this one is pretty awful.

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