Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
It's averageLet me begin this by saying I am not familiar with the original Spider-Man story from the comic books. I am indifferent to comics, which is probably the reason why I am outcasted by the plethora of fans who are infatuated with such franchises as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Avengers etc. All through my childhood I have never experienced an interest in such things. With that being said, the only knowledge I have of the Spider-Man story and character has been gained from the original franchise, and the seminal entry of the Amazing Spider-Man franchise. This is where my review stems from.
Something I have noticed throughout every Spider-Man filmed made is that Spidey, out of all the other superheroes, is the most genuine. I can relate with him. I can envy him. He is the superhero I would most like to be. Young, witty, level-headed. When he is portrayed by Andrew Garfield, he’s given attractiveness and charisma. In my opinion, he is more a human superhero than Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark. Stark, despite his ostentatiousness and impulsiveness, is damn near perfect. He is almost an unrealistic human being. No one can be that smart, that good looking, that successful, surely?
In every comic book movie franchise (excluding Nolan’s Batman series), what is lacking are interesting villains. Villains need to be central characters, along with the hero. Superhero films need to set an equilibrium that establishes both the hero and the villain as important; both as interesting and captivating as the other. In this sequel we get Electro. Played by Jamie Foxx, he is an electrical engineer with an unhealthy obsession with Spider-Man who works for Oscorp Industries. He is instructed to fix a mechanical problem within the building, and in the process he accidentally falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels. They transform him into a living electrical generator. Any power socket, any electrical device he touches only makes him stronger. Oh, and he can fly and turn invisible, of course. His jealousy and envy of Spider-Man turns into violent hatred, and he would now rather see him dead than see him at his birthday party.
Another plot in the movie is the one involving Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn. Harry assumes the role of running Oscorp after his father, Norman Osborn, dies from terminal illness. Norman tells Harry his disease is hereditary, and Harry thinks the only thing that will cure him is the blood of Spider-Man.
The film focuses on both stories equally, and thus the movie is overstuffed with characters and story lines which creates a tiring running time. If Spider-Man isn’t fighting Electro, then he’s spending time with Harry as he tries to convince him to acquire Spider-Man’s blood. If he isn’t doing that, then he’ll be arguing with his girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone) about whether they’re better off together or apart. If he isn’t doing that, he leisurely swings from building to building, saving kids from bullies. If he isn’t doing that, he’s arguing with his Aunt May over who’s doing the laundry. He can’t catch a break.
The action sequences are spectacular. The CGI is top-notch, and the soundtrack is darker and intense. Like most superhero movies (IMO), they’re better when no one is talking. They’re better when sparks are flying and people are hurting each other. And this is just another example. Marc Webb (ironically named, I know), directs with great technical ability and the fight scenes are truly exhilarating. There are some witty moments, and Stone and Garfield share great chemistry, but it’s just too much of a muchness. Too many characters, too many storylines. There’s a lot going on here, and it doesn’t work in the movie’s favour. But if you’re a Spidey, comic book, or just an action movie fan, this movie will satisfy you. That’s only if your ass doesn’t get too sore.