'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Review

Published: May 05, 2014 11:23am EDT
By Bob Phelan, Movie Critic for Konsume Entertainment

Please Note: This article was updated May 05, 2014 @ 11:23am EDT

 

As a kid growing up reading comic books Spider-Man was always far and away my favorite. He was a character that you could easily put yourself in his position wondering what it would be like if you were the one bitten by that radioactive spider and given the powers that came with it. Peter Parker was just a nerdy high school kid being raised by his Aunt and Uncle, I was a nerdy kid being raised by my grandparents for the most part. Once he became blessed/cursed with his powers suddenly he gets girls and a good job taking pictures of Spider-Man for The Daily Bugle. On top of that the comics were just fun to read with Spider-Man juggling crime fighting and his personal life, quipping all the way, with a villain gallery only matched by Batman.

In 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' they use three of those villains. After giving us some more background on Peter's deceased parents, including a scene in an airplane that is probably the weakest of the film when it comes to action, the movie picks up right where 'The Amazing Spider-Man' left off with Spider-Man swinging around town taking down bad guys and saving civilians in the process. Director Marc Webb sets the tone right away. Its like the Ultimate Spider-Man comic has come to life. Spider-Man is wisecracking and taking time to interact with the locals as he saves them, in this case from Russian gangster named Aleksei Sytsevich who will later turn out to be The Rhino. The action here is exemplary and continues to be throughout the entire film. Peter's spider-sense slows things down Matrix style as he decides what is his best move. The special effects shows the money Sony spent on screen with Spider-Man's suit rippling in the wind and his acrobatic moves are smooth and believable.

Andrew Garfield continues to be the best Peter Parker to date (and thats no slam against Tobey Maguire who was pretty good himself). His relationship with Gwen Stacy, played wonderfully once again by Emma Stone, is the center for the movie and their chemistry is even better than the first time around. That should be no surprise as Webb previously directed '(500) Days of Summer' which also had a delightful relationship at its core and Garfield and Stone are dating in real life. Peter is struggling with whether to keep his end of a dying promise made by Gwen's police captain father to protect her by leaving her alone which is made all the harder given the fact that they're both madly in love with each other. This could easily get old after awhile but its handled superbly and feels completely authentic.

The other relationship that the movie hinges on is Peter's friendship with Harry Osborn who has returned to New York to inherit control of his father's business Oscorp. Dane Dehaan is solid in the role (weird hair and all) but there are some stretches to say the least to serve the plot. Apparently they were best friends as kids since their fathers worked together until Harry was sent to bording school following the death of Peter's parents. Eight years later and they pick up right where they left off for the most part despite each being completely different people since they were 11. Its also conveinent that Harry starts showing signs of the disease that killed his father as soon as he shows back up. But really if you can get past these plot contrivances it works. Harry's role as the Green Goblin in the third act is essential to what makes the movie work.

The villain on all the marketing material is easily the worst part of the film and could've been removed to make this a great comic book movie. Instead we have Jamie Foxx as Electro who starts off as Max Dillon, sad sack electrical engineer for Oscorp who gets a hard on for Spider-Man after he saves his life. Its not that Foxx is bad in the role but the part is written so over the top that it feels like it belongs in a different, worse movie despite the already heightened tone. He just wants to be noticed and they cram that down your throat every time hes on screen. At one point he actually mutters out loud "she remembered my name!" as Gwen gets off the elevator she was riding with him in. Even his origin as Electro doesn't fit in. Every other super powered person in this universe got their mutations from some sort of science experiment, Electro got his by getting shocked and falling into a tank of electric eels who bite him into becoming electricity? Makes no sense. But theres no denying his fight scenes with Spider-Man are 'electrifying' (sorry).

The movie ultimately earns its stripes in the last act. I don't know if my past history with the character helped out in this regard but I got choked up on three separate occasions. The culmination of Peter's relationship with both Gwen and Harry was so well done. It got across the mantra 'with great power comes great responsibility' without having to say it out loud. Theres also a fantastic scene between Peter and his Aunt May that I completely related to and the final scene of the movie bookended the film perfectly showing Spider-Man's relationship with the people he is trying to protect.

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' is absolutely a movie worth seeing despite being a bit of a mess at times. If only the filmmakers would've trusted the story they wanted to tell instead of forcing Electro into the mix to try and give audiences what they think they want and pad the run time. At almost two and a half hours long the film does drag a bit in the middle. If you're a hardcore fan of the character its a must see but even if you're not at least the film will leave you with some memorable moments.

Rating: 8/10


 

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Bob Phelan
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