Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Alex Kurtzman (screenplay), Roberto Orci (screenplay), Jeff Pinkner (screenplay)
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Well it seems the hate for this sequel to the first rebooted Spider-Man is even more than the first film received. I really don’t get it, the Raimi films were not that good, interesting or especially spectacular. Really people, Spider-Man 2 only gets the love it does because of the villains. Nothing to do with Raimi, Maguire, the script or anything else. Look, I get a lot of people have some love for Raimi’s trilogy, but they were just not very fun films all round. The one thing this era has going for it (other than all the things I praised in the first film) is that it’s fun! Sure a little over the top at times, but this is a superhero film. They are supposed to be fun and entertaining, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 delivers that in spades, even more than the first film did. Having got past the background and development you can get straight into the action so-to-speak.
So The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens up by showing us more details of what happened the night Peter was left with his aunt and uncle as a child. We see Richard Parker destroying and disabling various things before being locked out of Oscorp and having to flee. We then re-run the events (shorter version) of Peter being left and then we get to see the events unfold immediately after that (I won’t go into details) and how events unfolded leading to their disappearance. I liked this segment as it gives us more back story on Peter’s parents and Oscorp as well as letting us know that these events have not been forgotten and pushed to the back burner and dismissed. They are import as they hold the key to everything Peter is and everything ultimately Oscorp is too.
The story begins fully in earnest with an immediate action scene. Spidey is enjoying himself in the skies above while swinging through the city (while also being late for his graduation) before learning of a police chase involving a stolen Oscorp truck. Naturally our favourite web-slinger swings into action and naturally chaos ensues. I have read in places that some people hate this whole introductory scene, citing Peter’s selfishness about not caring much when it suits him about everyday normal folk. What they fail to realise is that, Peter is himself an average every day person, a teenager still in fact. What kind of attitude did they expect him to have? The same as Thor…or Iron man for that matter? The arguments are ridiculous. Regardless, Peter saves the day as every good superhero should do and just about manages to graduate on time (cue Stan Lee cameo).
This then leads us into the meat and potatoes of the film. Peter’s ability, or lack off to deal with his life on a personal level, a family level, relationships, understanding who he is, dealing with the guilt of breaking his promise to Gwen’s (Stone) father and of course, being the cities web-slinging hero. Once again Garfield excels in his role. He is funny, arrogant, selfish, caring and loving the attention when in his suit. Garfield pulls it off brilliantly and I will say it again, so far ahead of Maguires acting skills it isn’t even funny. This second film does have more action and visual set pieces but also has a lot more interaction going for it in terms of the people in Peter’s life. The film also does a great job of humanizing Peter’s character too, showing that in spite of everything else, he is still just a nerdy teen who has no clue what he actually wants or when, as like most people of his age, that seems to change on a daily if not hourly basis.
We also have two new villains introduced this time round and personally they were the only real let downs in the films. Electro is fantastic and Foxx plays the character with a lot of gusto, I just feel he was a little underused or that his character could have been explained a little more or better. DeHaan is reasonable enough as Harry Osborn but feel his alter-ego comes on a little too quickly and far too late in the game to make any real difference other than a convenient and slightly contrived plot device. That being said, both play their parts well enough with what they are given to work with. While there have been complaints a plenty regarding both characters quick change to full on lunatic, let’s be honest here folks, the villains in these kind of movies are never exactly the most well wired upstairs are they? They are all, in their own way, an olive short of a pizza, so a rapid decline into full on villain mode within the confines of a films run-time can mostly be forgiven.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy is once again a highlight of this series and her chemistry with Garfield is excellent. In a change from the first film, Aunt May’s (Field) character has a lot more to do this time around and I personally thought the interaction between her and Peter was genuinely moving and funny at times. I guess just like any parent and child and they rub off each other wonderfully, much better than in the first film. The rest of the cast all do their job in an efficient manner. This sequel also (as hinted at before) delves into Peter wanting to find out more about his family and the connection to Oscorp. The scene where Peter finally starts to find out the truth and where he watches the ‘Roosevelt’ upload is very well done indeed and for an action superhero film it tugs at the emotions more than you might expect.
Visuals and photography are top notch here and overall the CGI is very well done. One particular scene where Peter’s web shoot turns into an outstretched hand was particularly awesome given the context of the film at that moment. Probably not the most difficult CGI job in the world to a professional but it was well done and made me think at the time ‘damn that’s pretty cool’. Audio is excellent all round and the colour and look of the film is perfect. Just like a real life moving comic book. The film is very visually pretty and nice to watch. Action scenes are well filmed (much better than the first) and the only real complain might be the sometimes slightly dodgy script, but that can be forgiven easily in this kind of film, we are not after all watching The Godfather. Which leads once again to my opening paragraph. The film is just a great deal of fun all round.
To sum up, the film is not the mess that many critics and paying fans made it out to be. Easy to follow and with a simple enough story-line. Once again Garfield shines as Peter Parker and it is a real shame that Sony will never be finishing this new trilogy due to finally coming to an arrangement with Marvel to allow our beloved Spidey to appear in the MCU. The second part of this bad news is that Andrew Garfield’s services were not retained and I personally feel that Marvel missed the boat there, unless there was some contractual reason behind that. A new branching story-line or even continue the third planned film as a full Marvel production perhaps, it’s a real shame that didn’t happen.
If I could give this a an extra quarter of a star I would as it isn’t a four star by a long shot, but neither does it deserve to be three and a half either. Excellent fun superhero feature if that is what you are into (and don’t still hold onto Raimi’s films like a jilted lover). Once again, sorry Sam.
The Sage’s Rating: