Does The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Electrify or Fizzle Out?
The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starring Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), and Jamie Foxx (Max Dillon/Electro) was one of the most anticipated movie releases of 2014. There was an insane amount of build-up leading up to the May 2nd theatrical release. With a killer cast, huge budget, and great source material, the discussion surrounding this movie should have been about how great it was. Unfortunately, not only did the movie fail to live up to many people's gaudy expectations, but this joins Spider-Man 3 as one of the worst movies in the whole Spider-Man series.
As expected, the movie had some of the most spectacular action scenes and special effects you will see in a movie. Spider-Man swinging through New York and his battles with Electro are sights to behold, especially in 3D. From the spider-like agility and movements, to the regular displays of spider-strength, to minor costume tweaks, this movie's version of Spidey is the most accurate onscreen portrayal of the comic book version. In the comics, Spider-Man is famous for his humor and wise-cracks, which got under his adversaries' skins. The screenwriters did an excellent job of incorporating snappy dialogue and wit into the character.
The acting in the movie was top-notch. I was particularly impressed with Andrew Garfield, as Peter Parker. He brings a range to the character not yet seen onscreen. He has great on screen chemistry with real life girlfriend Emma Stone, which allows the audience to become emotionally invested in the Peter Parker/Gwen Stacy relationship. Jamie Foxx did a commendable job portraying the social discard Max Dillon, but his performance as Electro was was forgettable. This is where I begin to have problems with the movie.
While I can appreciate the writers' attempt to add depth to the Electro character, the end result was a non-relatable character with a non-sensible motive. He was a really nice guy, but he turned into a villain simply because he wanted to be seen, liked, and remembered. Seriously...I'm not making that up. The irony is that we end up with a version of Electro that many that read the Spider-Man comics would like to forget. Since this movie covered one of the most significant moments in Spider-Man comics history (I won't spoil it), the Green Goblin also makes a guest appearance. Like Venom in Spider-Man 3, he felt like a gratuitous, last second throw-in, instead of a main character. The Green Goblin is perhaps Spider-Man's all-time greatest nemesis in the comics, and he was relegated to a short fight with an anticlimatic ending in the movie. I had a particular problem with the Green Goblin transformation, but I risk getting into spoiler territory, so I will end my goblin criticism here. The Rhino was the third super villain in the movie. I don't recall him being a 'Transformer' in the comics, but I can look past that...maybe. I was a little disappointed that he didn't have a more significant role in the movie.
There was plenty of humor and some very emotional moments in the movie, but there were way too many slow moments for my taste. The movie ran about 142 minutes, but would have been better served had about 20-30 minutes been trimmed. I would have been perfectly fine with the omission of the Parker's mystery backstory, which ended up being far less interesting than I anticipated. Also, it was already established that Peter and Gwen had a great courtship, so the couple could have used less screen time. I really wasn't that interested in the Gwen Stacy to Oxford moments either. At times, I felt like I was watching a show on the CW Network, instead of a Summer blockbuster.
As you can tell from what I have written (there is a lot that I didn't even touch on), there was a lot going on in this movie. Therein lies a huge problem. The story is scattered, and the overall plot is weakened as a result. A more simple, streamlined plot would have served this movie much better. Spiderman is my all-time favorite superhero, so I really wanted to love this movie. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my high expectations.
UPDATE: The original post-credit scene (which involved a mystery man talking to a head in a jar at Oscorp) was pulled from the North American showings, and replaced with a short clip from the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past movie. Its not worth sitting in your seat for, so if you see Spider-Man 2 in the theaters, just leave when the credits start rolling.
+ Some great action sequences and effects. Good acting. Best on-screen representation of Spider-Man character.
- Poor use of iconic villians. Weak plot. Long stretches of slow moments.