The Amazing Spiderman 2, Marc Webb’s follow up to his Spidey reboot has been highly touted and comes in with big expectations, as most Marvel Superhero movie sequels do. With a long run time and a big cast of stars, does the film deliver the goods?
Andrew Garfield returns as Spiderman, and faces the reality of his responsibilities as a super hero and the life he will have to lead. He faces new villains, more powerful than any before and learns some of the dark history behind his family tragedies, all while trying to navigate a relationship with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).
The Amazing Spiderman 2 doesn’t waste any time throwing us into the action, with a high stakes action sequence flashback, explaining some of the mysteries of Peter Parker’s parents and their past. Then it moves straight into some Spiderman action itself, as he takes on one of the films many, many bad guys. This is a theme that continues throughout the whole film. Marc Webb bludgeons us with big special effects and action sequences, some fun, some with a more serious and high stakes tone. The point is, this is a film that certainly isn’t lacking in the action department.
I saw the film in IMAX 3D and boy was it pretty. It delivers the goods 99% of the time in the special effects department, and was an improvement on the first film, and it’s rather silly looking Lizard. That one looked like a cartoon, but Jamie Foxx’s Electro is much more menacing and strangely more realistic despite being a human ball of electricity. The slow motion is a little over done at times, but at others it does a nice job of giving as a little more insight into some of Spidey’s acrobatic heroics, which can get a little confusing at full speed.
In terms of the acting, the cast is great, but of course this is a comic book movie and as in the first film, the tone they have gone for here is one which is rather comic booky. Andrew Garfield is solid, but unfortunately the script calls for him to hop between crying and being overcome with love and happiness, with no middle ground. All we ever see is him at his emotional polar opposites, and it feels like we never see any kind of baseline. Emma Stone is her usual charming self, but we never really see into her character, or any of the others really. The villains aren’t given nearly as much attention as in some other super hero movies either, and this makes them a little less meaningful. Electro was fantastic to look at, but his story was rushed. Rhino was basically filler. Green Goblin was the only interesting one, but I still wasn’t sold.
The story itself is good, and follows pretty closely to some of the comic book plot lines. Spiderman is uncovering some of his family history, while balancing his personal life and superhero life, considering his promise to Gwen’s father and his responsibilities to the city. Meanwhile, his old friend Harry Osborne is struggling with his own history and current situation. There is a lot going on, but because of that we never really get in very deep with anything in particular. We are just kind of on the surface. On top of that, there really isn’t much mystery at all in the film. We basically see and know everything. There’s no wondering or waiting for a twist in the plot. I can’t say I was ever on the edge of my seat in anticipation, until maybe the last 20 minutes of the film.
That being said, after a weird and hard to follow continual flip flop between a funny, comic book tone and a more serious and menacing tone, the last 20 minutes or so kind of up the ante for the viewer. At that point I finally felt like there was some tension, combined with the film’s most incredible action sequences. It was a period that really saved the film from being mediocre for me, and while I enjoyed it, I was on the verge of being a little disappointed beforehand.
The film is also full of some fairly emotional moments, scattered in and out of the craziness, and I have an opinion that these kind of moments don’t always work in these kind of movies. The reason, in my opinion, is that big, emotional moments tend to be the center point of most movies. However, in movies like this, they always end up just being a part of the story, and therefore often feel rushed. Some Marvel movies get it right, others don’t. Spidey was 50/50. But I’ll leave it at that.
All in all, The Amazing Spiderman 2 was an improvement on the first film in my opinion. The visuals were great, the cast was great. The story was alright, and it did set up for a big, big 3rd installment I’d say. All in all, a pretty good effort, and while not as good as other Marvel franchises, it was certainly worth the ticket price. Spidey fan’s will be happy enough I’d say.