I’ve already did a Spoiler-free review of the 2nd installment of The Amazing Spider-Man film (you can read it here). The problem with Spoiler-free reviews is that you can’t really express your thoughts on the film. You can give generalizations in order to not reveal anything but there are always going to be specific things in the movie that you just like and dislike and you just want to go into more detail. And The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has a lot of things I want to take apart and get off my chest.
So, even though I’ve already reviewed the movie, I really wanted to write up a SPOILER-FILLED version! Let’s go through the biggest thing in the movie: The Death Of Gwen Stacy.
We all knew that Gwen Stacy was going to die as it was forecast 40-years ago. Actually, yesterday I wrote about how important Gwen’s death was to the history of Spider-Man and comics in general. To summarize, her death helped bring Peter Parker and his eventual wife, Mary Jane Watson, closer together. It also helped legitimize comics in general as this signaled that comics weren’t for kids anymore. But, for the film, her death did not do anything, both story-wise and continuity-wise. Gwen’s death did not serve any purpose in the film, which upset me.
However, I did like how they presented her death. I did think the web opening up like an outstretched hand was a bit much but, otherwise, the entire scene was perfect. Instead of Spidey accidentally causing Gwen’s death like in the comic, they made it so he was just milliseconds too late. The web does reach Gwen but she still strikes the ground hard and it’s the force of the impact that kills her. It makes his breaking Captain Stacy’s promise to leave Gwen out of dangerous situations still his fault.
I also have to address the character of Max Dillon aka Electro. It’s great that they tried to give the character some form of motivation. He was a guy who was considered invisible and took a lot of abuse from his peers. So, when he turns into Electro and becomes noticed, he starts to crave the spotlight. Harry Osborne does use this to his advantage (albeit by accident). But I really disliked the way they handled pre-Electro Max Dillon. He was too nerdy to be a real person. Not only that, they made him delusional by having this weird conspiracy board showing he was close friends with the webslinger. I found it difficult to empathize with someone that’s a complete caricature of a person. I’m sure Jamie Foxx was just following what the director said but his “human” nerd needs a lot of work!
The same thing could be said about Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. I love him as Spider-Man here. His quips may be unfunny but, like in the comics, they don’t work all the time. He is totally confident, even cocky, which works for the most part. However, Peter Parker is a character I couldn’t understand. He definitely wasn’t the mild-mannered, awkward young man I knew from the previous films and the comics. Here, Peter is too well-adjusted and… normal and this works against Garfield’s portrayal of the character. It made me wish he wouldn’t be seen without the costume!
That’s not to say the character is a total loss. I did like seeing Peter whenever he was on-screen with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy. The chemistry between the real life couple is palpable. I just wish they had more to work with. There are some sparkles of brilliance by Marc Webb’s more romantic scenes, such as when they’re talking to each other after their graduation and when they’re working out a way to keep Spidey’s web shooters from shorting out. It’s when they slip into full-on mellow drama that it starts to fall apart. The scene where they’re talking on top of the bridge and Peter says he’ll be moving to England with her was very painful to watch! Note to Marc Webb: That kind of thing may have worked in a film like (500) Days of Summer but it definitely doesn’t work with a movie as fast paced as The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Speaking of pacing, this one sprints and walks at all the wrong places. This is caused by too many things happening all at the same time. During it’s more than 2 hour running time, the film tries to tackle Norman Osborne dealing with his disease as well as trying to run a company he’s just inherited. Peter Parker/Spider-Man has to balance his role as Spider-Man while following (more like stalking) Gwen around the city. He also has to deal with trying to keep his secret from Aunt May, selling pictures to the Daily Bugle, deciding if he should help Harry by giving him his blood and tackle the mystery behind the disappearance of his parents. And that’s not all…
Gwen has to figure out if she’ll go to school at Oxford in England and how to handle her on-and-off relationship with Peter as well as investigating into what happened with Max. Aunt May needs to keep a secret from Peter regarding her taking up more shifts at the hospital and carrying the burden of what she thinks she knows about Peter’s biological parents. There’s a lot more but I don’t want to bore you with details.
There are also a lot of plot conveniences. Harry just so happened to be taking the same elevator Gwen was taking. Earlier, Gwen just happened to meet Max on his birthday. Harry suddenly returns even though he was never mentioned in the previous film. Max finds himself changed after being electrocuted while being zapped by a few thousand volt of electricity. During the final conflict, two planes will crash into each other unless the power (which Electro and Harry disabled) is brought back which seemed just too convenient at such a critical time.
Besides these issues (which are pretty BIG issues, mind you), I still enjoyed the film. I loved the performances of Emma Stone (Gwen) and Dane DeHaan (Harry). They were great in their roles, especially Dane. Two scene come to mind. The scene where he’s with Electro and invades Oscorp and hums the Jeopardy theme song was creepy and a joy to watch. I also have to mention the scene where he breaks Electro out of Ravencroft because, while he seems so cocksure at the start, he then exposes his vulnerable side when he’s being taken away.
The action scenes were all pretty amazing, especially the Times Square sequence. That scene beats out the fight at the power plant hands down. I even liked the final fight scene with the Green Goblin, even though that seemed to come out of nowhere.
All-in-all, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a much more enjoyable film than it’s predecessor. It does seem like a big teaser for the 3rd film, which will probably have the Sinister Six face off against Spidey. I actually wonder how they’ll include Mary Jane in the story or how they’ll link the rest of the Sinister Six to Spider-Man’s history (which is an integral reason why they banded together in the first place). If they just trimmed off a good 20 minutes off by removing a lot of the lame story sequences (the thing with Peter’s parents had to go since it didn’t add anything), I would have definitely recommended this movie wholeheartedly. As it stands, it’s good points do outnumber the bad so, for me, it’s an okay movie that had so much more potential.
What were your favorite scenes in The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Leave your thoughts and comments below!