“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has hit theaters and the critics and fans are once again divided. Here are my thoughts on Marc Webb’s sequel. I liked it! A lot actually. It had some flaws and it’s definitely a set up for the sequels and the spin-offs, but it also has some serious merit as a comic book movie, a movie in general, and for moving the story of Peter Parker along. The film has some pacing issues, I will say that right up front. It speeds along at points, but will also slow down to a complete halt and dump exposition on you. That said, this is usually coupled with moving the story along toward the next action scene. And “ASM2” tells a lot of stories, so there’s that going on too.
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is loving being Spider-Man and the city is loving him. However, that doesn’t ease his relationship woes with girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Peter sees Gwen’s father Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) every where he goes because he’s breaking the promise he made in the first movie. Meanwhile, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), an Oscorp employee who is saved by Spidey, has an accident with some power lines and electric eels that doesn’t turn out so well for him. Oh and Oscorp heir apparent Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) returns to see his ailing father, Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper). Yeah a whole lot is going on here.
But the story is still about Peter and Gwen. And it’s a cute, funny story. I really did enjoy watching them together and the actors’ real-life chemistry plays through. They’re kinda goofy actually. But don’t worry, the actual plot returns to save you before it gets too sickeningly sweet. “ASM2” actually gives us that “untold story” that they promised but only teased in the first film, and it ties into the rest of the plot as more is revealed throughout. The fights with Electro are pretty damned cool and this franchise’s take on the Goblin is actually interesting.
And therein lies the other problem: the villains don’t feel fleshed out. Max Dillon is obviously the embodiment of power corrupting, more so than the Lizard, but beyond that Jamie Foxx was wasted, even though he looks like he had fun. Dane Dehaan fared a bit better but his eventual turn was pretty much foreshadowed. That said, I really enjoyed him and look forward to his return in the already greenlit sequels.
What I really liked about “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is that it felt the most like the source material of any comic book movie even with the changes. The spirit was there, the quips, the humor, the drama, and the action. It was like a Spider-Man comic on the big screen.
Even with the flaws, it was definitely worth seeing in 3D! The web-swinging scenes are absolutely spectacular (see what I did there?) and it makes the action a sight to behold. If you couldn’t tell, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” gets my vote. As a Spidey fan and as a movie fan. The set up for the inevitable sequels was just as good as dropping an after credits sequence. Speaking of which, you haven’t seen the one from the first movie, I suggest you go look it up.
Marc Webb (director) / Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, James Vanderbilt (screenplay)
CAST: Andrew Garfield … Spider-Man / Peter Parker
Emma Stone … Gwen Stacy
Jamie Foxx … Electro / Max Dillon
Dane DeHaan … Green Goblin / Harry Osborn
Colm Feore … Donald Menken
Felicity Jones … Felicia
Paul Giamatti … Aleksei Sytsevich
Sally Field … Aunt May