I wasn’t excited when the news hit that the Spider-Man franchise was going to be rebooted just five years after the Sam Raimi directed trilogy ended.
Didn’t see the point, and seemed too soon. Wasn’t high on it upon my initial viewing, but I have to say, it’s grown on me after a few re-watches. ”The Amazing Spider-Man” was mocked for trying too hard for a gritty vibe, but that was something I appreciated. I prefer a darker and more realistic atmosphere personally. It was a nice contrast to the campy feel the Raimi films established as well. I’m a little disappointed Marc Webb dropped the tone and opted for a lighter one instead, however, that is a complaint based on my preferences, and may not be the case for everyone. It’s yet to be seen if I’ll come to enjoy “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” similar to the first, as of now it didn’t do what “Spider-Man 2” did to the previous trilogy, to this new series like I’d hoped.
The screenplay was written by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkne. It was kind of all over the place, especially when pertaining to how the story was constructed. Wish the writers of the first were kept for the sequel, as they added subplots such as Peter’s parents, without it feeling contrived. The things done well, though, are done really well. Peter and Gwen’s relationship is the highlight. Romances are so easy to mess up, and can make or break a movie. I find myself rolling my eyes through most young couple scenes the majority of the time, but here I couldn’t wait for another scene with the two. It feels 100% genuine, and most importantly, I cared. Peter’s relationship with his aunt is also strong – loved their heartfelt interactions. There were fantastic character moments sprinkled in throughout that provided a much needed emotional core with the amount of action that occurs.
It’s painfully obvious how much forward planning went into the making of the film. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” falls victim for attempting to balance a singular story with the origins for future sequels and spin-offs. Sony is the only real major studio left to have a huge superhero property to expand upon, so I get them wanting to catch up to Marvel Studios and everyone else. Still, too much is thrown at the audience. A more subtle approach would have benefited the plot. I hate to blame “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” for that because every superhero movie now a days does this, but what separates the better ones, is they don’t let it get in the way, or distract from the movie and story they’re telling.
The villains are affected the most by the overstuffed nature; it isn’t quite “Spider-Man 3,” but it’s not too far from that. It rarely works when multiple villains share the screen, the only instance in which it was handled well I can think of off the top of my head, is “The Dark Knight.” The transformation of Harry to the Goblin, and to Peter’s friend turned enemy, was super rushed. That was my favorite element of the Raimi movies; he let it actually breath and develop. That relationship was the heart and sole of his trilogy in my opinion. We get two quick scenes of Peter and Harry being friendly before it turns bad – wasn’t nearly enough. With Electro already being there, holding off on Goblin would have been smart, or if they desperately wanted to add both, then minimize Electro’s time, thus giving more to Harry. Adding a small Harry subplot in the first wouldn’t have been a bad idea either. Overall, both villains were underdeveloped.
The acting continues to be consistently great in this new telling of Spider-Man, as it was the biggest strength of the first, and has most defiantly carried over to the sequel (give props to the casting director for bringing in some serious talent). I still can’t completely make up my mind on whether I prefer Andrew Garfield over Tobey Maguire in the role of Peter/Spider-Man. Both play the character in their own way, so it’s hard to decide. Garfield is extremely natural in the part hitting all the right beats; he’s funny, charming, likable, witty, nervous, and doesn’t overdue any one emotion. Where he truly excels is in the more dramatic scenes. Garfield blows me away in those, wish he got the opportunity to bring that side out more, as that’s his true strength. Emma Stone is magnificent. She’s the perfect Gwen Stacy, and is one of the best things in the movie. Her chemistry with Garfield is better than ever, which really elevates the romance, and gets me to actually care about them as a couple.
I have problems with Harry, but not of that is on Dane DeHaan, merely the character. Dehaan is an exceptional young actor. I loved him in “Chronicle” and “The Place Beyond the Pines,” so was excited to hear he landed this part. His over-the-top Goblin isn’t anything to praise (it’s not bad, just doesn’t suit him), but his Harry Osborn is. I felt the material held Dehaan back by not giving him enough to do with Harry. When Max Dillon becomes Electro, Jamie Fox’s acting sort of becomes irrelevant, since all we see is a glowing blue floating thing. Before that change he has a couple of nice moments, and did manage to make me have sympathy towards Max. In limited screen time Sally Fields gives a strong and emotional performance; she has two stand-out scenes that nearly had me in tears. The only person who lets down is, unfortunately, Paul Giamatti. He’s barely in the movie, but expected more from such an amazing actor, that Russian accent was just goofy, and not the good kind.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” does it’s job as a blockbuster, the fun factor is present. All the action sequences were expertly shot even if I thought there was one too many. The web swinging has never looked cooler, which adds lots to the fight scenes. CGI was spot-on too, there is nothing negative to say on the visuals. Spider-Man’s suit is at an all-time best, along with the cinematography to boot. Also, you can’t forget the score, brilliantly done by Han Zimmer and a team of composers. Whether or not Spider-Man can return to a higher prominence is something we’ll find out, hope the next movies improve rather than regress. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” had missed opportunities, but is entertaining, and has enough positive qualities to warrant seeing Spider-Man back in action again.