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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Scott Roberts
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on May 6, 2014 at 12:55:20 pm







Premise:  Spider-Man is back after I don't quite remember where he left off, since I haven't seen the first Spider-Man of the new reboot trilogy all the way through since it came out in theaters.  But now Peter is dating Gwen Stacy, he's seeing the ghost of Dennis Leary ALL over the place, and he's kinda just enjoying being Spider-Man; even if the city doesn't give much back to him.  Unfortunately, a guy has accidentally fallen into a vat of radioactive electric eels, and another guy has taken experimental green super drugs, so now there are two new supervillians roaming the streets of New York.  Missing, though, is the stereotypical Italian guy with a tank top holding a pizza while shouting at The Green Goblin "Hey budday, you mess wit Spidah-Man, you mess wit New York!"  But you can't have everything.

 
Pros:

-All of the action scenes were pretty fun.  They were fast paced, had some nice choreography.  Anything involving Electro in particular was pretty cool.  He's a villain who you kind of assume will be lame, but ends up being pretty entertaining once he starts to develop.  The early scenes of Electro discovering the full potential of his power are downright awesome.  A real marvel (*snickers*), in fast, believable character development.  I'm hoping the internet pulls through and makes a Django Unchained / Spider-Man mash-up set to the spoof song "Electroooooooooooo!"  Just make it happen, someone.  Though, by the 15th time that Spider-Man gets electrocuted with minimal consequence, it starts to take away from the overall power of the villain.  But he has the ability to turn off the power on my iPad in the middle of a Hearthstone battle, and that scares me.

-I really enjoyed the montage near the beginning of the movie of Spider-Man doing little tasks, like scaring off bullies, and having fun doing it.  Obviously it wouldn't make a great movie if it was just about Spidey's day-to-day life, but I appreciate inserting little touches like that.  It reminded me of the scene in the first, second Spider-Man reboot movie (what?), when Peter is testing out his newly found powers and discovering how much fun it's going to be to be Spider-Man.  Moments when we see what it's like to be a normal teenager who discovers he has this amazing new gift, but he's still confined by the limitations of being a teenager.  I don't think a 30-year-old guy who gets bit by a radioactive spider and obtains unimaginable powers has the same outward reaction as a guy as young as Peter would.  I'd just use my Spidey powers to get up the stairs faster, and react quicker when some guy is about to t-bone me at an intersection.  Mostly I'd probably just think I had a fatal illness and would curl in a ball in the corner of my office.  But Peter still has the optimism and dreams of an idealistic young person..  And I like seeing those moments translate onto the screen.  The fragility of adolescence.  Or something.  Shut up!  I'm going to my room!  I don't want to do the dishes!  I just saved New York from a robotic rhinoceros!  But you didn't even notice because you were too busy yelling at me about that one plate of food I left in the living room!  I hate you!  (slams door)

-Felt a little emotion, wasn't expecting that.  But it's not like I was shedding a single tear or anything.  Though, it probably got more out of me than it deserved.

-As far as comic book (movie) romances go, I found myself enjoying the chemistry between Peter and Gwen.  I actually liked it better than any part of the Peter/Mary Jane romances in the Raimi Spider-Mans (but to be fair, the first trilogy did most other things better).  I think a lot of it stems from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone doing a pretty great job of acting like lovestruck teens while not particularly looking like 18-year-olds.

-There was an Aidy Bryant cameo that I'm sure nobody else appreciated.

-The 3D was interesting at times, but the effect wore off somewhere in the 2nd act, as usual.  That's still enough to earn it a spot in the 'pro' area, in my book.  Kind of like eating at Blimpie's for a month straight, then having a Subway sandwich on the 31st day.  It's bland, saucey rubbish, but it tastes 100x better than that crap I just ate for the last four weeks, so it's allllllllllright in my book.
 


Cons:

-The movie is too long, and is so overloaded with things that are just intended to lead to inevitable sequel developments, that the actual story of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was something of an afterthought.  While Electro was a solid central threat for this movie, he ultimately didn't pose any sort of actual lasting threat, and his defeat will have little to no impact on the future.  Meanwhile, we are basically just teased with the concept of The Green Goblin and the Sinister Six (I think?), who will undoubtedly be fighting Spider-Man sometime in 2018.  Luckily we just spend 140 minutes getting set up for the next batch of movies.

-The dumb puns in this movie were getting borderline Schumachery.  For a little taste of what I'm talking about, as Electro is about to wreak fiery havoc on Times Square, he murmurs "It's my birthday...  Time to light the CANDLES!"  It's stupid things like this that can often take away from the (genuinely) quality action that follows it.  I know if I had the power to harness pure electrical energy and shoot it out of my hands for the sole purposes of evil, I'd probably be shouting something more like "HAHAHAHA BURRRRRN NEW YORK, BURRRRRN!  FRY, YOU PEONS!  I'M YOUR NEW GOD NOW!  KNEEL BEFORE ME OR DIE UNDER MY ALL MIGHTY POWER!  HAHAHAHAHAHA!"  (coughs into hand) (adjusts tie) (takes sip of water) But that's just me.  I guess this is a PG-13 movie for children.  I guess the birthday candles line will have to do.

-Interesting choice of opening scene, involving Mr and Mrs. Parker fighting people on an airplane, and having nothing to actually do with superheroes or the like.  It felt more like a scene out of a Liam Neeson movie than a Spider-Man one.  However, and I might be a minority on this (I'm not sure), I just really don't care about the mystery of Peter's parents.  They tried the storyline out for two films, I haven't yet gained any interest in it, and I doubt I ever will.  I just like watching Spider-Man jump around and fight bad guys and have emo love problems.  I'm a man of simple tastes.

-If there are supervillians in the streets shooting off high powered machine guns, or spraying erratic electrical storms all over the place, don't be surprised to see a crowd of four hundred people on the other side of police tape observing the action fifty yards away.  I think I would have high tailed it back to my house at the *first* sign of the angry guy made of lightning.

-Paul Giamatti is in the first scene of the film, for three minutes, then doesn't come back until the final scene of the film, for another three minutes.  Rhino seemed like a cop-out.  A marketing tool used in the trailers and commercials to falsely indicate that he was an actual part of this movie.  I'm sure he'll be back for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, but never before have I felt so used by the simple promise of the Giamatti.  Rhino is not drinking f***ing Merlot!  At least not in this movie.  God, I wanted to make so many more crappy Paul Giamatti jokes in this review, but...  ...it just doesn't feel right...

-Speaking of marketing, the "post-credits" tease after the movie was over was just a clip from X-Men: Days of Future Past, which has nothing to do with the Spider-Man movies  and is actually from a different film studio.  I guess the situation is that director Marc Webb had a contract with 20th Century Fox but got out of his contract to direct Sony's Spider-Man movies in exchange for Sony promoting Fox's new X-Men movie for free.  So now the post-credits hype scenes are being used as commercials for unrelated enterprises.  That means we're all one step closer to seeing Doctor Octopus eating a blooming onion in an Outback Steakhouse commercial during the end credits of the Justice League movie.
 


Final Thoughts:  For all its missteps, it's still an entertaining movie.  (Slightly) Better or equal to the first Amazing Spider-Man.  So, now they're two for two on making decently entertaining, yet haphazardly faulty movies sprinkled with good scenes.  If they can't cross that line between "Yeah, the new Spider-Man was ok" and "Damn, that new Spider-Man was pretty awesome" by the third movie, then maybe Hollywood should give Spidey like a 15 year break from the silver screen before trying him out again?  (rich studio executive laughs while rubbing freshly printed money all over his naked body)

7.5 out of 10


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Mark Suszko
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on May 23, 2014 at 7:06:52 pm

Saw Spidey 2 this week. It was "meh" for the most part. I did like his interaction with everyday people. The script was comic-book level and the plot, fairly predictable. The under-utiilization of Giamatti is criminal.


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Tim Wilson
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on May 23, 2014 at 7:39:07 pm

[Mark Suszko] "The under-utiilization of Giamatti is criminal."

That's as may be, but you've clearly not been following the nerd press. Giamatti started doing interviews last September at the Toronto Film Festival that he would be making only a token appearance in this one to set up Rhino's story in Spidey 3 (but not 4) and Sinister Six.

I've got a long post/article in the early stages about the ways in which Spiderman is setting up its own complete universe a la The Avengers, and how the producers have gathered some TV heavyweights to make it happen. It's interesting that as TV is becoming more cinematic, the TV guys making movies (with Abrams and Whedon at the pinnacles) believe strongly in episodic storytelling.

It's really much more than a pile of sequels. They've mapped episodes to play in cinemas just as they mapped episodes to play on weekly TV, for exactly the same reasons. These are not stories being told one at a time. They're one story told episodically.

Not to argue that Spiderman was better than it was, or that Giamatti was used as much as he might have been -- but the producers are very specifically playing a long game, and Giamatti is going to have major parts of the story to tell in coming episodes.


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Scott Roberts
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on May 23, 2014 at 10:28:54 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Not to argue that Spiderman was better than it was, or that Giamatti was used as much as he might have been -- but the producers are very specifically playing a long game, and Giamatti is going to have major parts of the story to tell in coming episodes."

My only complaint about that (as someone who did not see Giamatti's interviews about the subject) is the marketing, which laid down the Rhino clips at a drastically more frequent rate than the Electro or Green Goblin clips. As far as I was concerned, going into 2Mazing 2 Spider-Man, Rhino was going to be a main villain. Again, because I saw Giamatti in every single commercial and trailer.

Same thing can be said for the marketing of Godzilla, which had Bryan Cranston in every single trailer and commercial, as if he was going to be in it for more than 15 minutes. They dangled a steak in our faces, and then served us a hamburger! Still kinda good, but definitely disappointing once you've see that juicy, delicious steak already.


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Tim Wilson
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on May 23, 2014 at 11:09:23 pm

[Scott Roberts] "definitely disappointing once you've see that juicy, delicious steak "

I'm all the way down with this. I felt the same way about Tom Hiddleston's Loki in both The Avengers and Thor 2. They played him up as a HUGE appeal -- and for The Avengers, he was sold more heavily than Iron Man. I was actually pleasantly surprised that Iron Man was even IN the thing LOL but I felt like I'd been baited and switched.



Homeboy needs his own franchise.

Co-starring Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston.


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Stephen Smith
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on Sep 3, 2014 at 8:57:01 pm

Pros:

-Spiderman remembered my birthday and made me a cake!
-The action in the beginning was cool

Cons:

-The music didn't match the film, I found it really distracting. The opening action was really cool and I felt the music brought it down.
-Peter's best friend whom he hasn't seen for ten years, so he actually really isn't his best friend finds out that he has some made up disease. His father had it and lived to be 50-60? But the whole movie Peters best friend is acting like he is going to die in the next 5 hours.
-Green Goblin is a troll doll?


I'm not surprised this film made less money then any of the other Spiderman films world wide....and that includes Spiderman 3: http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=spiderman.htm

I read an article a while back saying Sony is re thinking what it wants to do with Spiderman.

Stephen Smith

Utah Video Productions

Check out my Vimeo page


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Mike Cohen
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on Sep 4, 2014 at 4:35:39 pm

What should Sony do with Spiderman? Stop making movies for a while. The studios constantly spend big bucks on movies then do write-downs when they lose money, yet they go and make more movies that there is not peak demand for.

Disney now owns Star Wars, and they perceive that there is demand for a new trilogy, and one-off character movies, because of the success of the Marvel movies, which Disney also owns. However once they release the Lobot: Disco Dancer movie they will realize that demand is not as high as they thought.

Just because you own the rights to one of the most popular characters doesn't mean you need to keep churning out movies.

We've had 5 Spidey movies since like 2001 - that's a lot for any franchise.


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Scott Roberts
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on Sep 4, 2014 at 4:40:14 pm

It looks like Sony's next Spidey move is to make The Sinister Six, which is a movie about a team of bad guys. That should be interesting, but are we supposed to root for the bad guys the whole movie? Or are we just supposed to be entertained, yet still root for whatever Spider-Man time they give us? I have no idea, but I'm somewhat interested. Not as interested as anything in the *actual* Marvel Cinematic Universe, but somewhat interested.


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Mike Cohen
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on Sep 4, 2014 at 4:49:15 pm

Speaking of Spidey being the only hero in Spiderman 2. Once the police come to the conclusion that SPidey is on their side, they basically assume that Spidey will come to the rescue once the big mech starts to wreak havoc. Now a 19 year old in a spandex suit, teflon-web shooters, with or without superpowers is still no match for a mechanized robot thing, yet he somehow defeated it with a manhole cover and centrifugal motion.

And isn't the sub plot about Harry using his dad's secret military technology the same thing that Bane did in Dark Knight Rises? Maybe it is just how the comics are written that makes this the case, but it seems like a coincidence. But by the same token, are we to believe that Batman builds all his tech from scratch, and the same with Spidey's enemies? Military contractors do such a good job building deadly devices, why not use them.


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Mark Suszko
Re: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
on Sep 4, 2014 at 6:59:34 pm

You bring up an interesting point regarding Bruce Wayne Tech Enterprises. In Nolan's version, it is kind of suggested that Lucius Fox, and a cadre of people working under him, develops most of the tech, and that Bruce Wayne limits himself to suggesting modifications to it, as when Bruce updates the autopilots in the prototype Bat Copters, or he makes adaptations to it himself, in his bat cave. I always wondered, when the Tumbler appears in public as a Batmobile, and gets some press coverage, that NOBODY in the defense department or DARPA seems to recognize a prototype they'd seen before and passed on. TV and newspaper reporting in Gotham seems... bad. Back when Jack Northrop was developing the flying wing bomber in the 40's, once the War Dept. cancelled the contract, they ordered all the prototypes destroyed, under military supervision. Not a single example was left, even to show in a museum.

As to the Spiderman franchise, the franchise owners, not being real comics people, can't get past rebooting the origin story or the bad policy of dumping too many villains into one movie. Sinister Six means you have 120 minutes to introduce, develop, and/or flesh-out SIX different villains, PLUS have a story for Spiderman himself. In a mini-series or ongoing cable TV series, you have the room to do that. Not in a movie that takes 2 years to make and runs 120 minutes or so, and needs 2 years between "chapters".


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