Director: Mark Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan
Release Date (US): 2nd May, 2014
Company: Columbia Pictures
“Everyday I wake up knowing that no matter how many lives I protect, no matter how many people call me a hero, someone even more powerful could change everything.” – Peter Parker
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 furthers the adventures of everybody’s favourite friendly neighbourhood spider. We return to a Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network) struggling to balance his hectic dual life – as his costumed heroics continue to impede his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, Easy A). Things are further complicated by the emergence of a powerful new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained), while the spectre of Oscorp looms large over both Peter’s past and present.
The narrative structure and tone of this movie end up being its weakest elements. Based on a script co-written by Fringe trio Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner, the film spurns the opportunity to build upon the 2012 reboot. Despite opening promisingly, the movie instead suffers from many of the pitfalls seen in the much-maligned Spider-Man 3: too many villains, too many sub-plots and an over-emphasis on action over story.
The antagonists themselves are poorly written. The motivations and personality of the movie’s main threat, Electro, appear to have been ripped straight out of Batman Forever‘s The Riddler – building towards an unconvincing rivalry with Spider-Man. In the end though, it’s Sony’s desperate attempts to build a franchise that cause this sequel to suffer the most – which never devotes enough time to the characters. The end product is a mis-match of multiple different plot-lines – many of which are completely extraneous.
“Don’t you know? I’m Electro.” – Electro
As with the first movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s strongest elements come from its leads. Garfield and Stone continue their incredible onscreen chemistry, contributing towards the movie’s only truly emotional plot thread. That said, their solid turns are undermined a little by the contrived relationship conflict their characters suffer from. Another highlight is Sally Field (Lincoln)’s Aunt May – who deserved more screen time.
Sadly, the movie’s villains are less engaging. The script wastes the talents of Jamie Foxx – who himself doesn’t help matters with his cringeworthy nerd caricature portrayal of Max Dillon. Though Dane DeHaan (Chronicle)’s Harry Osborn initially impresses, his character ultimately feels shoehorned into the story, and his performance gradually worsens over the course of the film. Elsewhere, the less said about Paul Giamatti (Win, Win) or Martin Csokas (The Debt)’s outrageously over-the-top acting, the better.
Direction & Tone
It’s hard to believe that Mark Webb, director of one of the most inventive and original romantic comedies of all time, had complete creative control with this film. However, while studio interference can be blamed for the numerous villains and terrible story, the director’s application of such garish visuals and a corny tone cannot be excused. Sadly, Hans Zimmer (Inception)’s monotonous, pounding score is equally as disappointing.
- “I vill get ze answers… I alvays do.”, “We *literally* can change the world!“, “It’s my birthday. Now it’s time for me to light my candles.” – Honestly, this film has some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever seen in a CBM. And I’ve seen the Fantastic Four movies.
- Well at least now nobody can claim the TASM series is ripping off their original counter-parts. Spider-Man 2 is still one of the best superhero movies of all time, with a single, sympathetic villain and a heartfelt, emotional story. This? Not so much…
- If you ask me where this movie went wrong, it would be in the production stage. From script re-writes, to the scores of deleted scenes, to entire characters cut out completely – it never once felt that Mark Webb & Sony had a complete vision for this film.
- Actually, scratch that. The blame for the failure of this movie lies with one man, and one many only. His name? Avi Frickin’ Arad.
In spite of good turns from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, Mark Webb’s latest entry into The Amazing Spider-Man franchise ends up being one of the biggest disappointments of the year – largely thanks to some weak antagonists and a painfully corny tone.