The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

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Fox and Columbia has a lot to live up to when it puts out a film under the Marvel banner. Spider-Man is no exception; prior to Robert Downey Jr. Spider-Man was hands down Marvel’s most popular character. Thus, pressure was on Sony to create films that lived up to the high bar set by Marvel Studios. After all, it does say Marvel at the beginning of the film.

With the success of The Avengers, Sony has decided that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would be the kickstart to their own cinematic universe. But with the addition of so many characters to the sequel, fans were concerned that we would be getting another Spider-Man 3 where the film was just overloaded with too many characters. So do the filmmakers get the film right or are we cursed with another Spider-Man 3?

Fortunately, we do not get a repeat of Spider-Man 3, but what we do get is a film that fixes the problems of the first film, but in turn creates new problems caused by the burden of kick starting a cinematic universe in one film.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 follows Peter Parker as he deals with the duties of being a superhero while trying to juggle his relationship with his high school sweetheart Gwen Stacy.

While Spider-Man 3 felt bloated because of its abundance of characters, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 felt bloated because of its abundance of subplots in the film. Among the various subplots of the film include the rise of Electro, Harry Osborn’s turn into Green Goblin, Peter Parker searching for the truth about his parents, the relationship between Peter and Gwen, and more sub-subplots on top of what is already listed. One can get the idea of how packed the storyline is.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner typically do a great job of writing for genre films, but with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 they’re trying to put in too much into one film. The trio valiantly tries to piece everything together into some sort of interconnected ending but ultimately fails. Also, a few of the subplots are either flat-out ridiculous or it feels rushed and poorly thought out.

But the shortcomings of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 mainly come from the screenwriters and not from the director. Director Marc Webb is clearly not afraid of his second go-round in the Spider-Man franchise. Here he does a better job of combining grand CGI-heavy action scenes with the intimate touching moments that Webb ((500) Days of Summer) is known for. These intimate moments only enhances the on-screen interactions between Peter and the other characters, particularly Gwen.

Unfortunately for Jamie Foxx, Cole MacGrath Electro doesn’t contribute much to the overall plot. Although he was touted as the primary antagonist in the film, Electro was primarily used as a supporting character that provides the filmmakers with the opportunity to create visually stunning action set pieces. Although there is zero character development, Electro is the most entertaining character to watch just because of his fight scenes with Spider-Man.

Oh, and did we mention that Electro’s origins were highly inspired by Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (seriously)? Just as Jim Carrey’s Riddler was obsessed with Batman in Batman Forever, Dillon is equally obsessed with Spider-Man — complete with cutouts of Spider-Man all over his apartment.

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Then there’s Spider-Man’s other villain, Harry Osborn a.k.a. Green Goblin. Newcomer Dane DeHaan does a great job of playing Harry, but when it comes to Green Goblin, he hams it up big time. He goes from Peter’s best friend to psychotic enemy in a blink of an eye. Speaking of which, the friendship between Peter and Harry seems more forced than natural. Whether or not this is because of the our prior knowledge of their friendship in Raimi’s films is unclear, but it’s evident that these two never felt like they were friends since childhood. This forced friendship lessens the impact of the inevitable conflict between Spider-Man and Green Goblin.

The best thing about the film is the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Real life couple Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone’s on screen chemistry is off the charts here. Andrew Garfield also owns the role of Peter Parker as Garfield delivers all of Peter’s mannerisms and attitude from the comics flawlessly. We also finally get the sarcastic, funny Spider-Man that fans have loved in the comics. This is important because Spider-Man’s funny side is an essential part of the character.

Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 improves upon the bland and boring The Amazing Spider-Man by delivering an entertaining and emotional comic book film that even your girlfriend or mom will enjoy. Nevertheless, the film’s bloated storyline unmistakably hamper the film and the constant reminder that the Sinister Six are coming keeps the film from becoming truly amazing. At this point, you might as well call it the just decent Spider-Man.

Oh and be sure to watch this in 3D.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 webslings into theaters May 2nd.

Grade: B-

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1399 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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