‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)’- Throwback Review

What’s the Story: Two years into stopping crime and saving the day as Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues to balance his life of being New York’s greatest hero and keeping things afloat with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) while keeping her late father’s last promise to keep her out of it. In the meantime, Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), is back in town as the sole heir of Oscorp Industries after his father’s death; and Max Dillion (Jamie Foxx) not getting the respect he deserves, leading to an accident involving electric eels that has him emerging as the power-wielding, Electro. Facing new enemies and finding more information about his parents’ death, Peter will soon realize the ultimate challenges he must face this time.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was already in development soon after the first movie came out. For a reboot that didn’t need to happen necessarily, The Amazing Spider-Man mainly received positive reviews and grossed over $262 million domestically/ $757 million worldwide. But, as it still stands, it could’ve been so much better when it didn’t feel like it told us anything we didn’t know before. But it could’ve been worse. The feeling the first movie to enter the summer movie season had the potential in the world to be a significant improvement. But was I excited? I don’t think I was. As soon as the first trailer dropped at the end of 2013, it didn’t strike me as thrilled; the same feeling carried over through the following trailers months later. The anticipation wasn’t intense. 

Now was this the sequel that managed to be a surprise? Well, I thought it was fine after leaving the theater; then, around the time before seeing Captain America: Civil War out of curiosity, my mood changed drastically over this as it progressed. We were in the year of great comic book movies from Guardians of the GalaxyCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. So what were they thinking to make this a mess in the superhero realm? 

The fear I’m sure everyone thought about before they walked in was worrying it would be another Spider-Man movie overstuffed with everything happening at once. We know what happened the last time. Despite the return of director Marc Webb and bringing a new team of writers of Alex Kurtzman/ Robert Orci/ Jeff Pinkner, there are so many things that don’t focus on a solid narrative to make it a fun experience. The main goal is to present an exciting follow-up that had a better chance of staying grounded while treating it as a big blockbuster. Everything about this ranges from moments of solid effort to lazy attempts over our hopes for a third movie. Watching it has the mistakes Spider-Man 3 had that didn’t make a good impression for the fan base.

But I have some goods to say that doesn’t qualify this sequel as an entire waste of time. First starters and the most obvious statement, Andrew Garfield now feels comfortable in the dual role of both Peter Park/ Spider-Man, where he improved slightly over his debut. The best parts that he loos like he’s having fun putting on the suit (one of my favorite and much better than before), and he’s more fun when not being as serious but does has the one-liners missing like last time, and he does a capable job doing so. Again, I’ve grown to appreciate Garfield’s strength in these movies, which is confusing why these movies can’t be great around him. Also, a continued strength carried over is the on-screen pairing with him and Emma Stone, reprising her role of Gwen Stacy. Again, we’re sitting through the will they/ won’t they shtick with Peter committing to the promise made to him, but you can’t help but fall for their chemistry once again. Their scenes together were the strongest moments. Did I certainly care about the subplot of her wanting to attend Oxford? Not really.

Emma Stone denies rumours she's appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home

Another thing that’s better than the first is Webb’s direction or the absolute contrast of how vibrant this does out on when I never liked the dull look of the original. The realism of the tone was present, and now it goes for that Saturday morning cartoon that sometimes works. And the action of Spidey swinging around his city were displayed great and some of the best, including his first shot with the brief POV to get all immerse.

With that out of the way, there’s much I dislike out of my viewings. What was one of the problems with Spider-Man 3? The overuse of baddies, and like here, there’s no reason to have three with the bonus of not being good overall. Jamie Foxx should’ve been fantastic as Max Dillion/ Electro, a nobody who feels invisible in his world and at Oscorp Industries until Spider-Man saved his life, becoming a fanatic turned enemy towards him. Being the main antagonist, he really didn’t work for me. He looks fine as an electric Mr. Manhattan, but he’s never sympathetic to care for and he’s basically the movie’s answer to The Riddler from Batman Forever. I also noticed the downtime after his big Time Square moment with one of the stupidest lines in any Spider-Man movie, “It’s my birthday. Now it’s time for me to light my candles!” If that line doesn’t make you unintentionally laugh, I don’t know what will. Probably my least favorite performance from Foxx. With Dane DeHaan, that was great casting when I first heard since he was coming off of Chronicle to make him a memorable Harry Osborn. Yet, I didn’t care what he had to go through involving his sickness of an Osborn hereditary gene and he just came across as a whiney kid. Something was also off about the chemistry with him and Garfield, where they were catching up early on felt off. But did they have to make him The Green Goblin, though? He made it much worse in how rushed he came to be with a lackluster performance. And don’t get me started on The Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Why was he in this? And I supposed nobody told him it wasn’t a cartoon? We didn’t need this many characters to drive the plot, especially Rhino.

The narrative is why The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fails to make a huge impact. In never learning a lesson, the focus on here isn’t cohesive. From what’s going with the Peter/Gwen drama, Harry’s back and wants Spider-Man’s blood to possibly cure him, and did I mention Aunt May training to be a nurse at a hospital? The most crucial factor is wondering what happened to Peter’s parents. Well, we got our answer in the most dumbfound way I thought was completely stupid. And when Peter decides to uncover this mystery, it’s set to a corny montage of Phillip Philip’s “Gone Gone Gone.” A lot was on Webb’s plate that had the studio’s hand in interfering with it, like always. Felicity Jones as Felicia Day and B.J. Novak as Aliatar Smythe to randomly included from the comics with Jones’s role cut down.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) - IMDb

And you can tell there were a lot of scenes that were cut based on what they showed in the trailers. So the question is, why? “Isn’t that the question of the day.” This would feature Shailene Woodley as Mary Jane Watson to bring her into the franchise. Unfortunately, she was cut due to the movie already being overcrowded. Its attention shouldn’t have been a movie to set up the future installments or the Sinister Six movie we never got. But it’s not just that; most of the CGI wasn’t good and some of the action was all over the place where a few fight scenes near the end looked like a video game. And Hans Zimmer’s musical score wasn’t too bad, but when joining The Magnificent Six to make the music for Electro, I wouldn’t say I liked it every time it’s being used. What really pissed me off was the movie’s ending shown in the freakin’ trailers? Just why?

It’s a pain seeing one of the greatest Marvel heroes in another trashy movie. Everything didn’t come together nicely on behalf of Webb when dealing with other ideas in the way and a jumbled script. The impact of this wasn’t a good one since it’s currently the lowest-grossing film in the franchise ($202.8 million domestically) and the mixed reception didn’t help either (holding a 52% on Rotten Tomatoes). The one you have to feel bad for is Garfield since he said he was disappointed in this and added that Sony cut out scenes of importance. A shared universe focusing on spin-offs of villains was quickly out of the question and two sequels were initially scheduled for a later date. A year later, the right decision was made to finally let Spider-Man into the MCU, with Tom Holland becoming the third act to put on the mask, and the rest is history. Nobody thought this series would only consist of two movies.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has too many things going on to consider this a superhero sequel never living up to the mild hype. While this installment’s strengths come from some of the performances (Garfield, Stone) and a set-piece or two, it doesn’t help the script isn’t close to feeling satisfying the same way the first two Rami movies were executed. So this doesn’t come as the biggest shocker in the world to say it’s my least favorite movie we’ve gotten thus far. 

Grade: C-

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