Let me preface by saying I was not too excited for The Amazing Spiderman 2
That said, I was NOT about to miss it opening weekend either. It has all the elements for success: a strong Peter Parker, the delightful Emma Stone, a proven director, new villains, and an exciting first movie to build upon. However, I was significantly disappointed in this installment with the cons outweighing the pros.
For what should be an action movie, there a few sequences to speak of. At almost 2 ½ hours, this film drags its foot with exposition and lacks Spider-Man action. There is a 2 hour long Act I, a lack of Act II, then a very rushed final battle lasting around 20 minutes. Peter Parker does plenty of web slinging but not really in a villain fighting/saving New York way. An opening car chase sequence introduces Rhino—but not to be seen again until the last 5 minutes—and is cool but the lame, out of character Spidey jokes make it frustrating. Also, there seemed to be way more slo-mo moments than I remembered. A few slow close ups of Spider-Man in action are cool, every 15 minutes not so much. Some of the moments of Spidey flying down the streets of New York seem very animated. I felt there was too much reliance and obviousness with regard to the CGI used this time around. Though brief, the Electro vs. Spider-Man scenes were exciting.
I think director Marc Webb thought he was making 500 Days of Summer 2 instead of The Amazing Spider-Man 2; the villain storylines seemed to play a backseat to Peter and Gwen’s on and off relationship. Yes, knowing the emotional connection between the two is important for a payoff but Gwen was in the first movie; we know Peter and Gwen are an item. I don’t need a dozen scenes of them ogling each other and talking about their confusing relationship. I love Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone—A LOT—both together and individually. Their chemistry is adorable, insane, obvious, and everything in between. This should make it so much easier to convince an audience of the romantic pairing and need to devote less screen time. Because of the nonstop Peter/Gwen, all of the villain set ups are rushed and haphazard.
Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon was a little over the top, kind of like sketch comedy, but I guess it makes the transition to Electro more noticeable and different. Foxx as Electro was pretty convincing. I thought the makeup was cool, the voice was sometimes annoying, and Foxx was convincing as a formidable foe for Spider-Man. The villains seemed to spend more time at Ravencroft Institute plotting than actually fighting Spider-Man. Paul Giamatti’s Rhino was a little cartoonish, though brief, but maybe something exciting to look forward to in a sequel. Green Goblin emerged…again…in a Spider-Man film this time through Harry Osborn; Dane DeHaan was too whiny for me. I was not convinced Harry and Peter were best friends. These villains are based more from the Ultimate comic runs with quite a few added plot points, which I did not approve of. The Green Goblin character introduction seemed thrown together and done more to set up other elements of the story.
I think the female characters were the real stars of this film. Emma Stone sold Gwen Stacy as smart, funny, and not just eye candy. Gwen is very front and center, but Emma easily handled it. Sally Field is the most underused powerhouse of the franchise (along with odd use of Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn). Field conveys such depth to Aunt May despite being a minor character. A small but possibly significant addition of Felicity Jones as a character named Felicia—Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat? Jones is a British Indie It Girl (check out Like Crazy) that could bring some serious skill to Black Cat.
What if…that seemed to be the cloud over The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The entire movie felt like it was less focused on giving Peter Parker an epic villain/battle but was looking to the future more. This is ever apparent in a major nod to the Sinister Six. We have Rhino, Electro, Green Goblin, and a hint to Vulture, Doc Ock, and Kraven. We see a mysterious figure pass, presumably The Gentleman/Mr. Fiers, through the Special Projects area in Oscorp revealing villain gear. I am excited about this possibility, but I would have been fine with this being more a post credits scene easter egg instead of main element. Spider-Man fighting skills played an unfortunate backseat to Peter Parker’s love life. There may have also been a nod to Miles Morales, future Spider-Man. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is definitely expanding. I still will appreciate individual superhero stories though.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 left me disappointed and wanting more action. The acting was pretty good, but this is an action movie not a drama. Spidey’s sense of humor was kind of sporadic and inconsistent. A post credits scene did show a sequence from X-Men! I was most excited about this part than most of the movie. Overall, decent and sometimes fun but not great.
By Kasey Michael--a lover of all things entertainment. Born and bred in North Carolina, she has a degree in Film Studies and can usually be found in front of a screen.