The Amazing Spiderman 2 – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

spiderman 2The Amazing Spiderman 2 – 3/5 – Comic Book films; films that are define by their colorful characters, intriguing villains, and most of all a great form of escapism.  In that escape, you want to be able to just let things go and be entertained by what you see.  There are times when a comic book film does more than just pull you in, and wows you on more factors then what are on the surface.  This creates something that becomes a great experience.  The sequel to the rebooted Spiderman is a film that does well to draw you in, but because of missteps in the directions and its overarching storylines, the film never gets you on the road of a great experience.  The Amazing Spiderman 2 becomes just another popcorn flick.

Premise: Another day comes, as Peter Parker continues his life as both him and Spiderman.  Everything seems to be going well, until a new villain arises in the form of Electro.  As all comes to head, Parker must come to terms with the truth, and that all his questions may lead to the source of all this villainy, Oscorp.

Reprising his role as Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield doesn’t disappoint.  As before, he does his best in creating someone that feels ripped straight from the comic books.  He is smart, calculated, but also sarcastic and whimsical when it comes to interactions between his aunt, girlfriend and fellow enemies he fights.  His confliction between his personal life and ‘superhero’ life is brought through the surface through his interactions, creating a human flaw of ‘choice’ in being this extraordinary individual.  Along with Garfield, returning to reprise their roles from the first film are Sally Fields as Aunt May and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.   Both these actress do a great job in providing depth and perspective, adding real defines to what make’s Peter Parker who he is.  They also do well in influencing his decisions in life.  Their interactions with Garfield feel so organic, you believe in the ‘motherly’ relationship and the ‘love’ relationship portrayed by Sally May and Emma Stone respectfully.  Aunt May is relegated to a ‘supporting’ role this time around, while Gwen Stacy has a strong presence and impact on the overall story.  With that expanded role, you see strong passion between Gwen and Peter, one that drives them both together and apart.  You see that chemistry is strong between the two, creating something you believe to be real and a positive point in the film.  There conflict adds more spectrum to the whole Spiderman/Peter Parker dynamic, creating an aura that defines purpose and hope for each of them. When it comes to the new villains in this film, you have Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro and Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin.  Both these actors give stark distinctions in their ‘villain’ roles, creating a good dynamic between them as well as with Peter Parker (for the most part).  When it comes to Max Dillon, Jamie Foxx creates a very weirdly charismatic individual on the screen.  You see that there is a ‘tragic’ kind of tone for Dillon, one that (through circumstances) is forced into the Electro persona.  Through circumstance and the ‘lonesome’ kind of mentality, you feel the tragedy in his villainy, one that helps create a (even if cliché) subtle conflict between him and Spiderman.  Foxx does deliver, even with cheesy dialogue the over arching stories that overshadow his appearance.  When it comes to Harry Osborn (and the Green Goblin creation), you get a deeper perceptive individual, one that is lost within his own family issues.  These issues help draw him towards Peter Parker, as you see a rekindling of a friendship form.  This dynamic, plus his family/Oscorp duties, helps add a dramatic evolution of his character, one that leads him to the Green Goblin persona.  Dane Dehaan does a better job at providing a man who is confused but grounded, but one wrecked by morals because of the situations he is drawn in.  The Harry Osborn character does stand out better than Max Dillon.  It also helps counter with a deeper conflict then the traditional ‘hero vs. villain’ that you get with Dillon or Electro.   When it comes to the rest of the cast, they are your typical typecast characters you find in any traditional comic book film.  To name just a few notable supporting casts, you have Felicity Jones as Felicia, Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich and B.J. Novak as Alistair Smythe.

The direction of this film is one that you can say is a convoluted mess.  Even in it’s mess, the film is still very entertaining to watch.  Where the mess situations happen is with the inclusion of multiple storylines and contrasting tones.  With this being a sequel, there isn’t a traditional prologue/setup.  It is a straight continuation from the first film.  Here, you see that Peter Parker has come into his own as Spiderman, one that he enjoys.  He see that being this vigilante gives him a sense of purpose and the citizens some kind of hope.  You also see how this draws a conflict into his personal relationship with Gwen Stacy.  His conflict is drawn from the fact of her deceased father (from the first) and the dying wish that continually haunts him.  From this point, we also get introduced to both Harry Osborn and Max Dillon, along with their storylines that are intertwined with the issues at Oscorp.  From here, the film plays a juggling act between the Oscorp issues, Peter Parker/Spiderman Issues, and the relationships between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.  There are a lot of tonal issues because of these juggling of storylines.  The problem comes that all the stories have a parallel focus and no strong ‘central’ focus that bring purpose to them.  With this, the tones of the ‘dramatic’ relationship issues to the ‘cartoonish’ comic scenes never connect well.  This also draws some pacing problems, as the speed ups and slow downs are so obvious, it hinders progress.  Through it all, the audience still gets a glimmer of some good material in the film.  This is shown through the strong themes of choice, love and hope with the relationship issues that Peter has with Gwen, Harry, Aunt May and his deceased parents.  This is where the real connections lie, and a place where the audience can draw some kind of purpose.  As the film progresses, Peter Parker begins to learn the truth about his parents and Oscorp.  You also watch (in parallel fashion) as Dillon and Harry are forced together (because of Oscorp) and evolve into villainy.  Even for the strong moments that the ‘relationships’ issues bring, the film continues on its own ‘identity crisis’ issues with its tone and pace.  The action in the film does a good job to keep the focus on the ‘eye candy’, as it helps glaze with the blockbuster feel in an attempt to hide the flaws.  Through some obvious convenient plot setups, all these storylines lead into the film’s third act.  Once we get here, you feel (for the most part) the building of all the villain characters feel rushed to some extent, as the ultimate clash between them and Spiderman devolves into cliché elements of the ‘good vs. evil’.  This creates a very thin layer of obvious choices for all the characters involved.  Once the film get’s to its climax, the more dire moments come to the forefront, as all the themes related to the relationships in Peter Parker’s life show real reflection.  Even as the film experiences a real poignant moment, it continues beyond and ends on a note of lackluster elements.

The visuals of the film are very strong and over the top, but in a good way.  The outlandish creation of the fight scenes between Spiderman and Electro are vivid and surreal.  The bombastic mentality helps provide the WOW factor, helping create some flavor in its overabundance. These events are contrasted well with the sweeping shots of New York and the close-up views on everyday life for Peter Parker.  With the contrast of both visuals, you get a good mix of comic book tradition with a grounded mentality of humanistic appeal.  The score has a very negative impact, as it goes all over the spectrum like the tone.

Overall, The Amazing Spiderman 2 is a film filled with a lot of tonal and pacing issues, but also entertains because of the good dynamics with the relationship issues in Peter Parker’s life.  If you’re a fan of comic book films or Spiderman in general, check it out.  You’ll find some enjoyment in the film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *