The sequel that was only made to maintain rights to the Amazing Spider-Man cash cow is upon us.
Surprisingly enough, the first Amazing Spider-Man film was a pretty well-regarded film with great character development. Andrew Garfield portrayed Spider-Man better than anyone has on the big screen. We do still love you, Tobey, but Andrew is just more witty and charismatic.
Real life lovers, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, reprise their roles as Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey, and by God, they have some of the best chemistry not only of any superhero movie couple, but of any movie couple. They are both fantastic as recent graduates who are unsure of where their futures will lead them.
As far as the side characters go, and there are plenty in this film, the performances are all pretty even throughout. Jamie Foxx plays Max Dillon/Electro, an introvert with an insane obsession over Spider-Man. Not only does he play a villain well, but, for the first time since Two-Face in The Dark Knight, I understood the villain and genuinely sympathized with him. This speaks miles for his character and perhaps poorly of my own.
Dane DeHaan is introduced as Harry Osborne/The Green Goblin. Now personally I find DeHaan to be one of the best breakout actors of our generation. If given the role, he can make you feel compassionate towards someone doing the wrong things for the right reasons. However, through no fault of his own, he overacts the part a bit too much and feels too underdeveloped.
That is the movie’s biggest fault. Other than Electro, a majority of the side characters and plots felt shoe-horned in to set up for the Amazing Spider-Man 3. The sequel does look to be very promising as of right now, which only further emphasizes that this is the awkward middle-child to a promising trilogy.
Paul Giamatti is the man under the giant mechanized robot. Promoting Rhino in the trailer like he was going to be important at all to the movie was the most deceitful move a company could make. He plays the most stereotypical cartoon maniac whose screen time ultimately adds up to about 10 minutes out of the two hours and twenty minutes of the entire movie. Once again, his character is only there as a sign of things to come in the next movie, although it does make for a touching moment near the end.
Now the last pessimistic point I would like to make comes in a critique of the writing: it’s simply all over the place. There are some very intelligent and witty lines throughout the film, usually from Peter and/or Gwen, but then we have one-liners from Electro or Spider-Man that are just cringe-worthy. Now this is a comic book movie, so it is purely a matter of perspective, but in my opinion, the jokes stood out as lumps in a pretty solid script.
But the movie’s 8/10 rating comes not only from the touching moments and fantastic banter involving both Aunt May and Gwen Stacey, but also the reason most people enter a theater for a superhero movie: the action. And boy, does Spidey deliver.
Electro is such a visually intriguing villain that the CGI in his scenes are so vibrant that it hurts, but you can’t look away. All of the fight scenes are very well choreographed and made me sit up in my seat numerous times. Director Marc Webb also used slow-motion in a way that wasn’t lazy and actually contributed to the experience.
And what wraps all these scenes together is the score by Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams who supplied the vocals. These guys alone can make any movie score memorable, but together they spawned some of the best songs in a summer movie since Pearl Harbor.
All in all, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is jam-packed with scripting flaws and underdeveloped side plots. But all of that is superfluous when the matter of the fact is I walked out of that movie theater loving it. And now, days later, I’m still thinking about the film. Go out and see this movie and, if push comes to shove, take your significant other- it sides a good romance flick as well.